I wasn’t doing this blog when the NHL was in it’s lockout, but I was writing for another site called Fantasy Hockey Coach and I pretty much covered the NHL and its eventual lockout at that point and not much else, and in all honesty it was because I felt a little restricted from what I could and couldn’t do on there, so obviously I started this up so I am not restricted here. And I don’t say that to bash the owners there because they run a great site and I’d never bad mouth those two guys because they gave me a platform to write on for a period of time when I was just starting out again and getting my feet wet after not having any experience with blogging for a long time. I mean, I spent from July 2012 to January 2013 writing on and off for them, so that’s a good six months of work I gave to them. And I still do a little bit there whenever I can but obviously with this being my current site I am more focused on this than my old blog on there. But if you want to check the site out please do so, it is a great site for fantasy hockey with some great guys on it covering that side of hockey.
But I open with that because during the NHL lock out I found a site that was streaming AHL games during the NHL lockout and I had the time to watch that league and it was a great product during that time frame, it was fast, typically some scoring, typically at least one fight in a regular season game, and hard hitting action. The NHL lock out might have taken the main hockey league I watch away from me, but it forced me to look for alternatives, and this is why I cover the AHL along with the NHL. If not for the NHL lock out, I doubt I would have bothered to cover the AHL playoffs as religiously as I have.
As far as why I am an AHL fan, I think part of it is the fact that I live in the state of Rhode Island, and I live really close to Providence, Rhode Island, so getting to an AHL game is very easy for me. And if I ever vacationed in Massachusetts or Connecticut there are 4 teams within driving distance, two in Mass. (Worcester and Springfield) and 2 teams in Connecticut (Hartford and Bridgeport) so getting to a game is relatively easy here in the Northeast part of the United States. Another appeal to me would have to be that the AHL is headquartered in Springfield, MA. So with so many teams and options available locally, it has made the AHL accessible to me and my family through the years, even living at my old house it wasn’t much of a hike.
So I will close this piece out like this, if you live in a city with an AHL team and want to know if it is worth the money, then let me sum it up like this. The AHL is a much better league than I gave it credit for because the NHL was always a better product and the go-to product since it was easily available on TV on national sports channels and its NHL Center Ice package is priced to compete, so when I had a chance to watch the AHL without looking at the NHL to compare it to, the AHL is doing a lot of things right and that is a big advantage to American hockey fans who want to see great hockey without having to pay NHL ticket prices.
Have you been to an AHL game? Were your experiences as enjoyable as mine? Sound off in the comments section.