AHL’s New-Look North Division Ready for Debut


In quite a few approaches, the AHL’s North Division for the 2017-18 season is incredibly distinct from the 1 that finished the 2016-17 season. A slew of new head and assistant coaches and three revamped groups – like two in new towns – will make this division 1 to check out heading into October.

For the 2017-18 season, the North Division is composed of seven groups: Binghamton Devils, Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, Laval Rocket, Toronto Marlies, Belleville Senators and Rochester Us residents.

New Locations

A few groups in the division have relocated. The AHL no lengthier resides in Albany, with the Devils shifting their franchise to Binghamton, NY. They’ll enjoy at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, which seats 4,679 for hockey. The previous inhabitants, the Senators, have moved to Belleville, ON.

Belleville is a new AHL city it was residence to the OHL’s Bulls from 1981 right up until 2015. The Senators will enjoy at Yardmen Arena, previous residence of the OHL team. The rink has considering that been revamped, with expanded seating fitting 4,400. Other improvements include board repairs, a renovated ground refrigeration process, new dressing rooms and bathrooms.

old hockey arena

Yardmen Arena (John E. Sokolowski-United states Nowadays Sports activities)

Eventually, the St. John’s IceCaps have moved to Laval, QC and grow to be the Laval Rocket. They’ll enjoy at Put Bell, a brand name-new rink seating 10,000. The Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate returns to Quebec for the very first time considering that 2002 (then the Quebec Citadelles, Quebec Metropolis, who turned the Hamilton Bulldogs, then the IceCaps prior to returning to the province).

The AHL will have four Canadian groups this season, like three in the North Division. Even so, none will have to travel to Newfoundland, which introduced its individual troubles in fees, time and don-and-tear on groups.

Returning Faces Powering the Bench

Amid the relocating groups, there will be some familiar faces and some minimal staff modifications.

Kurt Kleinendorst returns as the Senators head coach, shifting with the team from Binghamton to Belleville. NHL alumni Paul Boutilier joins him as an assistant. Boutilier was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Pet dogs past season. His participating in profession provided about 300 NHL game titles, with a heap of AHL, IHL and CHL motion far too.

The Senators concluded at the base of the division past year with a 28-44-2-2 document and 60 factors and no question hope to end better this season.

Sylvain Lefebvre stays with the Rocket in the franchise’s shift. Larry Carriere will be the team’s general manager and will also act as exclusive advisor to the Montreal Canadiens’ hockey operations department.

Sylvain Lefebvre (Ross Bonander / THW)

Sylvain Lefebvre (Ross Bonander / THW)

The franchise concluded fourth in the division past season, with a 36-30-8-2 document and 82 factors. They saw a very first-spherical exit in the Calder Cup playoffs, downed by the Crunch in four game titles.

The Devils have not announced any staff modifications for their AHL squad. Rick Kowalsky returns as head coach, a position he’s held considering that 2010. Meanwhile, Sergei Brylin, who has been an assistant coach considering that 2013, also returns to his position. The Devils concluded third in the division past year, going 39-32-2-3 with 83 factors. Even so, they far too misplaced in the very first-spherical, with the Marlies beating them in four game titles.

The consistency guiding the bench will most likely establish practical in changing to the teams’ new households though they try for better finishes and far more playoff good results shifting forward.

New Faces Powering the Bench

Both the Us residents and Comets will have new head coaches this season, a lot-required respites for the groups.

The Us residents will be led by previous player Chris Taylor. Taylor performed for the Us residents on and off amongst 1999 and 2011 and was an assistant coach in Rochester from 2013-2016.

He’ll be joined by assistants Gord Dineen and Toby Petersen. Dineen has coached in the AHL considering that 2003, like the past two seasons as an affiliate coach with the Marlies. Petersen has been an assistant coach in the AHL for the past three seasons, like most just lately with the Cleveland Monsters.

Eventually, the team also has a new general manager, Randy Sexton. Sexton expended the past seven seasons scouting for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s also assistant general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

The new faces in Rochester could establish practical for the having difficulties team, which has missed the playoffs for three straight decades.

Similarly, the Comets have quite a few new items. Trent Cull normally takes about as head coach and Gary Agnew joins him as an affiliate. Cull expended the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Crunch, a position he also served in from 2006 to 2010. He’s also got head coaching experience in the OHL with Sudbury. Agnew was head coach of the Crunch from 2001-2006 and has also coached at the NHL level.

Ryan Johnson will choose about as general manager. Johnson isn’t new to the Canucks firm he was named director of player enhancement in 2016 immediately after three decades as a advisor. Previous season, the Comets have been three factors shy of a playoff spot. With some new faces main the demand, they’ll seem to force their way back again in.

Somewhere else, the Marlies hired Rob Davison as an assistant coach and the Crunch additional Ken Klee as an assistant coach and Karl Goehring as goaltending/online video coach.

All of these modifications, together with new players shuffling in and out, will make the North Division 1 to check out. The season commences October 6 with some groups in motion appropriate off the bat the rest kick off their season the subsequent day.

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