AHL: Amerks a different breed of hockey compared to NHL


When the Rochester Americans rocked the First Niagara Center on Tuesday, there was a feeling of relief that hockey had come back to Buffalo, even if it was just for one night.  Although, the live atmosphere had its subtle differences.

The Americans played in front of 10,936 people in the First Niagara Center, consisting of all lower bowl and 200 level seats. Not a single fan was in the upper bowl. It also seemed to take fans a while to get into the game, aside from when goals were scored. The “Let’s go Amerks” chant didn’t reveal itself until the third period and fans didn’t show any emotion towards the officials until the third frame either.

The difference between the AHL and NHL may be a little less noticeable now that the NHL lockout remains in effect. Players like Cody Hodgson who would normally be in the NHL at this time, are earning a living in the AHL while the NHL and players association try to rectify their differences.

“I think you really see it in the power plays,” Hodgson said. “We try to limit that, I thought we did a good job in staying disciplined because there is such a high talent across the league, that when you give these guys enough power plays, eventually it’s going to sting you.”

Another subtle difference between Tuesday’s AHL contest and a regular NHL game was the amount of commercials. It seemed like there were only one or two commercials between periods, which allowed fans to stay engaged in the game. This, of course, is compared to the more marketable NHL, which seems to go to commercial after every other whistle.

While the NHL continues to sort out its’ differences with the players association, the AHL will continue its season with a group of hungry talent. Fans may be encouraged to take a look at the future stars when they have a chance. Tickets for Tuesday’s game sold for as little as $15. Take that, with the fact that there is some NHL talent like Hodgson and Marcus Foligno, and a family could very easily justify the affordable night out.


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