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AHL announces expanded playoffs

The American Hockey League announced Thursday that 23 of the league’s 31 teams will qualify for postseason play when the 2021-22 season concludes on April 24.

According to the measure approved by the AHL’s Board of Governors, all but two teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions will compete in the Calder Cup Playoffs. For the Chicago Wolves and the other squads in the seven-team Central Division, this means five teams will advance to the postseason. In recent years, the top four teams from each division competed for the Calder Cup.

“Our clubs and their National Hockey League partners recognize the importance of playoff races and postseason experience on overall player development,” said AHL President and CEO Scott Howson. “Expanding the Calder Cup Playoff field will allow some 150 additional players to play more meaningful games in pursuit of a championship.”

The new postseason format enables seven Pacific Division teams, six Atlantic Division teams and five North Division teams to join five Central Division teams in the fight for the Calder Cup. Each division’s seeds will be determined by points percentage in the regular-season standings.

The larger field means the postseason structure increases from four rounds to five. First-round matchups (which pair the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the Central while the top three teams earn byes) will be best-of-three series. The Division Semifinals and Division Finals will be best-of-five series. The conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will remain best-of-seven series.

The Wolves open their 28th season on Saturday, Oct. 16, when they host the Rockford IceHogs at Allstate Arena. The Wolves will play 38 games at Allstate as part of their full 2021-22 schedule.

For information on tailor-made Wolves ticket plans for the upcoming season — everything from Alpha Wolf season-ticket packages to 10-voucher Flex Packs to customized group outings — contact Wolves account executives at [email protected] or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.