28 June 2005

Wolves Remain in Wild West

The Chicago Wolves will stay in the American Hockey League's West Division after the 27-team league re-aligned its two-conference, four-division format for the 2005-06 season.

The Wolves will compete against three new rivals: the Iowa Stars, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and Peoria Rivermen, and three traditional foes: the Houston Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals and San Antonio Rampage.  The reigning Western Conference Champion Wolves will play the Aeros and Rampage eight times and the remaining four teams in the division 10 times.

Chicago will also play 20 games against North Division teams, featuring the Cleveland Barons, Grand Rapids Griffins, Hamilton Bulldogs, Manitoba Moose, Rochester Americans, Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies - one of four new teams in the league this year.  

In addition, the Wolves are scheduled to take on the Philadelphia Phantoms - the 2005 Calder Cup Champions - and the Hershey Bears twice next year, marking the first time in three seasons the club will match up against an Eastern Conference rival during the regular season.      

The playoff format remains the same with the top four teams in each division competing in the playoffs.  However, if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs.