The American Hockey League (AHL) became the major affiliation league for the National Hockey League upon its amalgamation with the International Hockey League in 2001. As of the 2002-03 season, the league had 28 clubs, most of them based in eastern Canada and the United States. The league was created in 1936, and teams compete annually for the Calder Cup.
(affiliated teams in brackets)
see also the East Coast Hockey League, the United Hockey League, and the Central Hockey League