The American Hockey League has announced its plan on ‘schedule unification’ over the next two seasons of play. With 2020-21 serving as an absurd outlier, the AHL has tried over the past number of years to bring a consistent number of games to its teams in each division. However, that number of games has not been consistent from one division to the next.
That is all set to change for the 2022-23 season. Yes, 2022-23. Not the upcoming 2021-22 season, but the year following the next season of AHL play.
By 2022-23, each team within the league will play 72 games per season. Next year, however, Pacific Division teams will play 68 games apiece, while teams making up the Atlantic, North and Central Division will have the option of choosing either a 76 or 72-game schedule for 2021-22.
Alongside this announcement, the league also indicated a change to the format for the annual Calder Cup Playoffs. As opposed to 16 teams qualifying for the postseason, a larger number will make the year-end playoffs moving forward. That announcement will come later this offseason.
That said, the Manitoba Moose will lace up 72 times in 2021-22 as a part of the reformatted Central Division. 72 games will be the standard moving forward as well, being exactly double the amount of games the Moose played in the abbreviated 2020-21 season a member of the ‘Canadian Division’.
The AHL’s 2021-22 regular season is set to begin on Friday, October 15, 2021. The Moose will see six divisional opponents moving forward, including:
- Chicago Wolves (Carolina Hurricanes)
- Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
- Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild)
- Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators)
- Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks)
- Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)