AHL expands playoff field for 2021-22 season

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the qualification rules and format for the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs.

A total of 23 teams will qualify for postseason play when the 2021-22 regular season ends on April 24, with five rounds of playoffs leading to the crowning of a Calder Cup champion.

“Our clubs and their National Hockey League partners recognize the importance of playoff races and postseason experience on overall player development,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson. “Expanding the Calder Cup Playoff field will allow some 150 additional players to play more meaningful games in pursuit of a championship.”

In each of the AHL’s four divisions, all but two teams will qualify for postseason play in 2022, creating a playoff field of six teams in the Atlantic Division, five in the North Division, five in the Central Division and seven in the Pacific Division. Teams will be ranked by points percentage in the regular-season standings.

First Round match-ups will be best-of-three series. The top two teams in the Atlantic Division, the top three teams in each of the North and Central Divisions, and the first-place team in the Pacific Division receive byes into the best-of-five Division Semifinals, with the First Round winners re-seeded in each division. The Division Finals will also be best-of-five series, followed by best-of-seven Conference Finals and a best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals series.

The 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs are expected to finish by June 23.

The American Hockey League was officially born in 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey League and the International Hockey League merged to form the International-American Hockey League (the “International” would be dropped from the league’s name in 1940). The AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 32 National Hockey League teams; nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.

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