On Wednesday the American Hockey League announced a realignment for the 2014 season, which sees the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, moving from the Midwest Division to the West Division. Part of the reason for realignment was the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate relocating from Abbotsford, B.C. to Glens Falls, NY and the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate is relocating from Glens Falls, NY to Allentown, PA.
The Wild’s new division includes the Calder Cup-Champion Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate), Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes affiliate), Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers affiliate), and San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers affiliate). The Barons are the only team other than the Stars in the new division who made the 2014 playoffs.
This new division may mean a little more travel for the Baby Wild as the new rivals feature many southern teams instead of the old division foes that featured teams in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Rockford, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.
The Iowa Wild finished dead last season with a 27-36-7-6 record (67 points), placing them dead last in the Western Conference. It wasn’t pretty, but the team will have a bit of a new look this coming season with Christian Folin, Mathew Dumba, Gustav Olofsson, Brady Brassart, Zack Mitchell, Michael Keränen, and Guillaume Gélinas all expected to play their first full season in the AHL. (And a number of them may make an appearance in St. Paul as well.)
The AHL plans to release the 2014-15 season schedule later this summer. The AHL season will begin on October 10.
In other AHL news, the league’s Board of Governors have concluded their 2014 meeting at Hilton Head Island and have approved three rule changes for the 2014-15 season. Included is an adjustment to overtime intended to limit the number of shootouts during the season. The league will extend the span of overtime periods and will include some 3-on-3 play.
Here are the details on all three rule changes from the AHL:
Rule 85 (“Overtime”)
During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties”)
An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.
Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”)
A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.