Hershey Bears' Dmitry Orlov (28) races down the ice as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Tom Kuhnhackl (15) tries to get his stick in the play during the first period of their hockey game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Lebanon Daily News, Glen Gray
AHL Kicks Off 2012-13 Season
The American Hockey League starts its 77th season tonight. With the NHL lockout having no end in sight, could this be the highest level of professional hockey we see in North America this season?
While some NHLers have signed contracts across Europe, the AHL will offer the most familiar hockey most NHL fans are used to watching.
The AHL was very stable in the off-season. There were no team changes, all 30 franchises remained in tact and where they were.
There were two changes in NHL affiliations: the Norfolk Admirals are now feeding the Anaheim Ducks and the Syracuse Crunch will be the top affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In an interesting twist Norfolk will be entering the season with a 28-game winning streak — but most of that team will now be in Syracuse.
Richard Clune, Justin Johnson and Eric Selleck all tied for the league-lead in fighting majors last season with 23.
The Worcester Sharks were the fiestiest team in the league by far, racking up 120 FMs. Jimmy Bonneau led the team with 22.
Here are the AHL's complete opening day rosters.