AHL versus NHL: Which League is Better?

Mike Murphy of the AHL Charlotte Checkers. (Photo: Renee Kalicicki)

I recently asked the Twitter world who they support more, the American Hockey League (AHL) or the National Hockey League (NHL). Unlike the NBA or NFL, hockey fans have a feeder team and main squad to support. Both have a notable history and boast remarkable athletes. There are many reasons to love both, but which league would come out on top if you were forced to choose just one?

International-American Hockey League was formed in 1936. ‘International’ was dropped from the name in 1940. The National Hockey Association was formed in 1917. The Association was shortly morphed into the NHL and expanded into the United States in 1924. There are currently 30 teams in each league.

There are many reasons to be an AHL supporter. Typically, the tickets are less expensive. You get to experience the thrill of the game and have bucks leftover for drinks and treats. For many fans, the AHL arena is a shorter trek than visiting their NHL barn. You also get the opportunity to welcome players from the CJHL to the NCAA as they begin their career as professional athletes. Fans are given the chance to watch them develop and hopefully make the leap to the NHL. Another benefit is getting more access to the players. For example, a skate the Charlotte Checkers in North Carolina occurs for free nearly every month during the season.

However, every pro comes with a con. AHL games are rarely broadcasted on cable, so fans are forced to listen to audio or pay to watch the game online when they are unable to attend in person. Some may complain the game isn’t as fast or skilled as the big boys. I may not necessarily agree with the grumble, it is a criticism I have heard on occasion.

Staal and LaRose of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo: Gerry Broome- AP)

On the other hand, the NHL is history in the making, an exhilarating contest of future Hall of Famers. It is hockey at its finest. The Stanley Cup is the creme de la crème for puck heads. Games are held in classic arenas like The Joe or Madison Square Garden. Fans can indulge  themselves on hours of TV highlights, for example NHL on the Fly. They can read themselves crossed-eyed on entertaining sites, such as PuckDaddy.com, not to mention www.fansided.com. The NHL Awards, Winter Classics, or the All-Star games are prime feeding ground for hockey nuts.

There are downsides to being a sole NHL lover. Events like skating with the players often comes with a price tag and is held perhaps once or twice during the season. Access to the players can be drastically more limited in certain markets. Ticket prices are more expensive, along with the concession goodies. Seats with a terrific view can also be harder to obtain.

So what league do you support…the boys down on the farm or the big boys on top? Please allow me to use this rant insert my personal request. I think it would be a delight to see an AHL team play their designated NHL team each season. To see all your beloved bladed foot warriors compete against one another each year would be sublime.

Cast your vote hockey fans…

Which league do you support?

  • NHL (42%, 16 Votes)
  • AHL & NHL equally (32%, 12 Votes)
  • AHL (26%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

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Tags: AHL Carolina Hurricanes Chad LaRose Charlotte Checkers Eric Staal FanSided Michael Mupr NHL Puck Daddy

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