In a move akin to their counterparts in the NHL, the AHL has announced a different format for this years All-Star Challenge, which will be held in Syracuse, New York on February 1st. While the NHL has moved to a 3-on-3 tournament, the AHL has moved to something a little different.
Per a press release by the AHL, “Teams from all four divisions in the AHL will then play a round-robin tournament featuring six games of nine minutes each; the first half of each game will be played at 4-on-4, and the second half at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin tournament will face off for the championship, a six-minute game played at 3-on-3. Rosters for each team will be composed of 11 skaters and two goaltenders each. All 30 AHL teams will be represented by at least one All-Star player. The coach for each team will be the AHL head coach whose team has the highest points percentage in each division at the end of play on December 31st. The Skill Competition format will not change, however, and will be held on January 31st.”
Below is an infographic provided by the AHL in order to make it visually easier to understand.
While the concept is kind of the same, but the AHL is providing shorter period length for the 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 and making sure each division faces off against each other, thus giving people more bang for their buck when it comes to seeing the selected players. This follows in a tradition of different All-Star formats for the AHL, which has included the league using a Team Canada vs PlanetUSA format of pitting the best Canadian AHLers against the AHLers from other countries, which was switched to the traditional East vs. West Conference match-ups in 2011. In 2014, the AHL went completely different by having Swedish Elite League team Farjestad BK come over to play against the AHL’s selected best, with the AHL winning 7-2.