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2012 AHL schedule: Lake Erie Monsters open season on Friday

The 2012-13 AHL season begins this Friday, so don't let the NHL lockout deprive you of hockey.

The 2012-13 AHL season begins this Friday, so make your way out to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to see the opener for the Lake Erie Monsters when they take on the Oklahoma City Barons at 7:30 p.m. ET. The NHL lockout has plenty of hockey fans depressed, but the prospect pipelines for many NHL teams flow through the AHL.

The Lake Erie squad boasts seven players who were in the NHL last season -- left wing Mike Connolly, left wing David Van Der Gulik, defenseman Tyson Barrie, center Mark Olver, center Brad Malone, defenseman Stefan Elliott and right wing Bill Thomas. The first six played for the Colorado Avalanche last season, while Thomas played for the Florida Panthers.

There will also be opportunities to see Columbus Blue Jackets players come to town, as Radek Martinek, Artem Anisimov, Nikita Nikitin and Sergei Bobrovsky are all part of the AHL this season.

For a complete look at the 2012-13 AHL schedule, be sure to check out the AHL website for more information. A list of NHL affiliates for each team can be found here.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.