The American Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league based in North America with 30 teams.Twenty-six teams are in the USA with four in Canada. The AHL serves as the primary feeder league for the National Hockey League – with each AHL team having an official affiliation with an NHL team.
The AHL equivalent of the Stanley Cup is the Calder Cup – named after the first President of the NHL Frank Calder. The 2011-12 champions were the Norfolk Admirals (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning based in Virginia) who beat the Toronto Marlies 4-0 in the Final.
The AHL is known as a hotbed of talent, full of young prospects ready to take the leap into the NHL. The league boasts a selection of European talent with young prospects hailing from the Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Russia among others. The league also consistently features players who have played in the NHL.
Recognised as the #2 professional hockey league in the US and Canada, notable players who have played in the AHL include Boston Bruins’ Tim Thomas, Tampa Bay Lightning’s Martin St. Louis and Finland’s own Miikka Kiprusoff.
As well as the regular season and playoffs games, the All Star Classic and associated skills events will be broadcast at the end of January.
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