Originally Posted by isaidso
I'm not a hockey guy, so please forgive my ignorance for asking the following questions. CHL is limited to guys of a certain age who are being groomed for the NHL, while the AHL is a pro league for people who don't make it to the NHL or are trying to get there?
AHL is slowly becoming a development league for the NHL rather than what it was before (about what you described). AHL teams can only dress a maximum of 5 veterans per game (guys older than, say, 25/26). It's mostly being used now for guys who are between 20-25 waiting for their chance/trying to make NHL teams. Looking through a lot of AHL team rosters you can see pretty quickly that a lot of the players are 21-24 years old.
The CHL is a junior development league for players between 16 and 20. Some of these players are very good and will be in the NHL by 18, others needs a bit more time to develop. Others, still, are never drafted and end up playing elsewhere (ECHL, CIS, overseas, etc.).
Personally CHL is more entertaining than the AHL for a number of reasons. Players are hungry to get drafted, to prove something. They are still young and inexperienced enough that almost anything
can happen (blown leads, massive comebacks, inexcusable mistakes, great goals).