Minor league fighting rules in AHL get stricter

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) Dropping the gloves will draw greater punishment in the NHL's top minor league.

The AHL has approved new rules to curb fighting, including automatic ejection for players who fight prior to, at, or immediately following the puck drop for a faceoff.

Players will receive a one-game suspension for their 10th fighting major during the regular season and for each such penalty through 13. Then at 14 and beyond, the suspension becomes two games. If an opposing player gets an instigator penalty, the fighting major won't count toward the player's total.

The changes were finalized Thursday.

The AHL also placed Arizona Coyotes affiliate Tucson in a 16-team Western Conference. That franchise was last in Springfield in the Eastern Conference, which now has 14 teams. Florida Panthers affiliate Portland moved to Springfield.