HERSHEY, Pa. – Following a Board of Governors meeting on Monday, the American Hockey League announced the new division alignments and the list of teams that elected to play in the 2020-21 AHL season. Last week, the league confirmed the season would start on February 5.
The Hershey Bears are among 28 teams in the league that will play in the shortened season, with only the Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals, and Springfield Thunderbirds deciding not to play.
The other piece of news information released is the temporary division alignments for the season, which are based on geography and travel. This grants the Bears the opportunity to see some foes that they might not normally see as much during a season.
Hershey is a part of the North Division featuring the Bears, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Rochester Americans, Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, and Binghamton Devils. The Atlantic Division features the Providence Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and Hartford Wolf Pack, and there will be a Canadian division featuring the Toronto Marlies, Laval Rocket, Belleville Senators, and Manitoba Moose.
28 teams will be participating in @TheAHL's 2020-21 season, which opens Feb. 5
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 4, 2021
The West plays out as expected, with a Central Division comprised of the Chicago Wolves, Cleveland Monsters, Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Wild, Rockford IceHogs, and Texas Stars. The Pacific Division consists of the Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Henderson Silver Knights, Ontario Reign, San Jose Barracuda, San Diego Gulls, Stockton Heat, and Tucson Roadrunners.
Those were the major details to be revealed as the 2020-21 season begins a month from Tuesday. The division alignments will likely play out similarly to the NHL’s schedule, with inter-division travel the route the schedule will most likely go. There’s no word on how the schedule will look, how many games it will consist of, and details like fan attendance in certain arenas are not known at this juncture.
The information comes as the NHL began on-ice exercises in preparation for the season beginning on January 13. The Washington Capitals started camp with two full groups, with one looking a bit more like Hershey than the other, and it shouldn’t be long before camp cuts are made and the Bears to start taking shape. Bears head coach Spencer Carbery was on the ice for Washington’s first day along with the Caps’ new head coach Peter Laviolette, and it’s a sure bet Carbery is using the time to start his game plan for Hershey’s season.
Further details about the 2021 season should be coming shortly, and it shouldn’t be long before ice is down at the Giant Center for Hershey Bears hockey.