SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League is set to return to action today for its 86th season of play, with six games kicking things off. All 31 AHL teams are active for the 2021-22 season, with the Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds returning to the ice this fall after electing to opt out of the abbreviated 2020-21 campaign. Charlotte (Florida/Seattle), Springfield (St. Louis) and the Utica Comets (New Jersey) begin new affiliations this season, as all 32 National Hockey League clubs will develop their top prospects in the AHL. This season also marks the debut of the Abbotsford Canucks, the top development team for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.