AHL releases 2013-14 schedule

Bruce Bennett

The league returns with two new teams, two outdoor games, and seven more played in NHL arenas.

The American Hockey League will kick off its 78th season on Friday, Oct. 4. The season will be comprised of 1,140 games and conclude on Sunday, Apr. 20. All 30 teams will play 76 games, 38 at home and 38 on the road.

Schedule highlights include:

*The debut of two new clubs, the Iowa Wild (affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild) will play in Des Moines for the first time on Oct. 12 against Oklahoma City. The Utica Comets (new Vancouver Canucks affiliate) begin their AHL season on the road before playing their home opener on Oct. 23 against Albany.

*AHL teams will play outdoors twice in 2013-14. The first time will be at Frontier Field in Rochester, as the Americans host the Lake Erie Monsters on Dec. 13. Then, the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies take center stage at the Hockeytown Winter Festival leading up to the Winter Classic. The affiliates of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will hit the ice at Comerica Park on Dec. 30.

*The 2014 AHL All-Star Classic has yet to announce a host, but will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 12, during the NHL's Olympic break. The skills competition will happen on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

*The Rochester Americans will participate in the Spengler Cup, an international competition held in Davos, Switzerland from Dec. 26-31. To accommodate, the team will take a 12-day break from AHL play.

*AHL teams will play at seven different NHL arenas -- Bell Centre (Montreal), Verizon Center (Washington), Air Canada Centre (Toronto), First Niagra Center (Buffalo), PNC Arena (Raleigh) Canadian Tire Centre (Ottawa), and Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia) -- this season.

You can read the full 2013-14 American Hockey League schedule here.

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