Cleat Geeks

American Hockey League: The “Triple-A” of Hockey

While baseball has the deepest and most elaborate minor league system in all of sports, hockey has an equally-impressive minor league system to call its own – the “be-all, end-all” of this minor league system is the American Hockey League, often regarded as hockey’s Triple-A.AHL

The American Hockey League, better known as the AHL, is the second-highest level of professional hockey in North America and acts as the final step for young hockey players as they pursue their dream of becoming a player in the National Hockey League.

If you live in a city like Utica, Hershey, Manchester, or Binghamton, you know that the sports scene in your city is dry, dull, and pretty much non-existent –  if you live in a city like Charlotte, Toronto, San Diego, or Chicago, you might regard your city as the best sports city in America; however, the one thing that links these eight cities and twenty-two other cities throughout the United States and Canada is the presence of an AHL team within their city limits.

Attendance in the AHL is often a source of problems for many franchises; while clubs like the Hershey Bears, Providence Bruins, and Lake Erie Monsters are averaging well over 8,000 fans per game, other teams like the Portland Pirates and the Oklahoma City Barons are struggling to draw more than 3,000 fans per game.

But in the AHL, business typically comes second to player development.

Each AHL team is singularly affiliated with an NHL team. When an NHL team drafts a player, they typically designate that player for assignment in either the AHL or the ECHL (which you can read more about by clicking HERE). This is where the player hones his skills and prepares both physically and mentally to be successful at the professional level.

There are 30 teams in the AHL and they are dispersed throughout the U.S. and Canada; however, the AHL does have a stronghold on the Northeast, where a number of their franchises are located.

Want to learn more about the American Hockey League? Visit their website at


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