So the AHL Board of Governors meeting concluded a couple days ago and a few new things have been added to the AHL for the 2012-13 season:
1.) New divisions... again. Last season the Heat were in a division with the southern American states' teams like the Houston Aeros, OKC Barons, Texas Stars, and San Antonio Rampage. Now this is the new 2012-13 North Division including the Heat:
- Montreal Canadiens
- Colorado Avalanche
- Buffalo Sabres
- Toronto Maple Leafs
IMO, this is a pretty easy division to succeed in. If the Heat do as well as they did last season, their only true competition should be the Marlies. The other three teams aren't very good (but AHL teams can improve drastically from year to year because of the high rate of player turnover).
This may have a minor impact on the travel because they get to stay in Canada more often rather than going through customs. However, it is essentially the same distance of travel as last year.
2.) They have approved the use of a video goal-review system. I'm very happy about this because I can't count the number of times the Heat have scored a goal and it was called off because there's no video review. This is great news.
3.) Also, there have been two new rule changes (these are the same as the new rule changes for the NHL:
Rule 67.2 (“Handling the Puck”) now calls for a minor penalty “any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck”.
Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) states that “both players facing off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.” Violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty for delay of game.
4.) Lastly, the AHL will be testing the new hybrid icing upon request of the NHL. However, it will only be used until November 19th at which point they'll discuss whether or not they want to keep it around.