I call it the social revolution.

Myspace helped it; Facebook secured it; and Twitter has continued to evolve it.

I remember when the @TorontoMarlies account had just a few hundred followers. A year ago the Twitter stream had a little more than 5,000. Today the Marlies launched their Instagram account announcing it to 18,625 tweeps. Times are definitely changing.

It was decided that the initial search for a new Marlies in-game host would be conducted almost completely through social means by introducing the #MarliesHost hashtag for entrants to include in a tweet when posting the YouTube link to their audition video. For those of you still wishing for a more ‘traditional’ process, there’s still the option to email in your application (apparently that’s considered traditional now).

In their efforts to keep pace with the changing times, the AHL decided to hold an open forum announcing Tuesday that they will field fan questions… on Twitter.

For one hour the league feverishly responded to as many queries as possible, providing answers, insights and links to help quell all the inquisitive minds in 140 characters or less. The league covered all the bases including the schedule, referees and the daunting three-in-threes. With their final question they even divulged who their favourite Marlies player was.

Here’s a recap of the AHL’s one hour forum frenzy:

@JoeSkeen1: Very simply when will the completed ’12-’13 schedule be released

@TheAHL: The schedule will be released within two weeks.

@bowled300: Is the matrix of what teams play each other and number of games ready, even tho the schedule is not ready?

@TheAHL: The #AHLSchedule format was approved in June. There are currently no plans to release a separate matrix.

@redbeard3569: Why do u still use that board? Why not a computer?

@TheAHL: We’ve found the board is the most efficient option to provide our teams with the best possible schedule.

@sarah_connors: Is there a specific reason why there isn’t more cross-conference play in the AHL?

@TheAHL: Our Board of Governors creates the schedule format and for many teams, their rival games are their best draws.

@Glen124: Why does the season start so late? Start earlier and have more weekend games.

@TheAHL: Our season starts the same time @NHL‘s does.

@Racer106: What Color and Symbol are the Syracuse CRUNCH on the Schedule Board

@TheAHL: Yellow square.

@MetalMom99: how does the AHL decide how many 3in3 games a team gets? And who hires AHL referees?

@TheAHL: (part 1) Unfortunately 3-in-3s are inevitable and depend on a lot of factors including location and building availability.

@TheAHL: (part 2) Some are part of the @NHL development program and the rest are hired by us

@CA_Allen009: how are referees assigned? It seems like we always have the same ones in OKC.

@TheAHL: Linesmen are assigned by region. Our hockey ops dept. works with the @NHL to assign referees spread throughout our league.

@Glen124: any plans to have two refs for every game?

@TheAHL: Yep! Working with the @NHL to phase in a 2-ref system. Last season 40% of games had 2 refs and that will increase next season.

@Brenda72572818: do NHL teams have any special rights to players signed as free agents by their own AHL affiliate

@TheAHL: Nope, AHL contracts are only between the player and his AHL team

@HamTodaySports: CBC aired AHL games in the past, as did Sportsnet for the Outdoor Classic. Any Canadan broadcast partners for 2012?

@TheAHL: We’re proud to have a broadcast agreement w/ @Sportsnet in Canada through 2016

@RampageNate: any plans for a Texas ASG? Ever?

@TheAHL: #AHLAllStar host cities are selected based on a bid process. No sites have been selected past 2013.

@Buckfeverboy: is their any other games gonna be held in Hershey in January like a cross tie in with the echl or maybe a college game

@TheAHL: A Bears/Penguins alumni game is scheduled for Jan. 19. For more info, contact @TheHersheyBears!

@cjmclark What kind of impact do the NHL CBA negotiations (specifically, if an agreement is not reached) have on the AHL teams?

@TheAHL: The AHL has a separate CBA with @PHPA. We fully expect it to be business as usual in the AHL for 2012-13.

@AICJacketsVoice: Do players on the winning team all get a day with the Calder Cup the way NHL champions do with the Stanley Cup?

@TheAHL: The winning team has full control of the cup for the summer. But you can follow @caldercup for updates on its travels!

@fitchjrl: any other rule changes besides replay and the modified icing?

@TheAHL: You can read about all the changes for the upcoming season here: http://bit.ly/LEe5NM

@soxbruins: Why does it seem like the Providence Bruins (at least, don’t know about other teams) play almost exclusively on weekends?

@TheAHL: Teams generally prefer weekend games to maximize attendance

@Buckaneer28: where is the all star game?

@TheAHL: The 2013 All-Star Classic will be held in Providence. You can get all the info here: http://bit.ly/QD8n0u

@DonetaKP: Why does it take so much longer post-playoffs for the AHL schedule than the NHL or ECHL?

@TheAHL: Here’s a great story from our archives on how the schedule is put together: http://bit.ly/NiaLqm

@asmith685: Are there any new cities the AHL is considering expanding to in the near future?

@TheAHL: We’re at 30 franchises in 30 great markets, so currently no plans to expand

@rachelriley12: why do you hate the Marlies?

@TheAHL: Nobody hates the @TorontoMarlies, Rachel! …Well, maybe just the @BulldogsAHL

@EricWelles26 who decides if/how long somebody should be suspended for?

@TheAHL: The AHL’s hockey operations department is responsible for all player discipline

@Leafs34Fan: What about TV broadcasts in the US?

@TheAHL: We don’t currently have a national US broadcast partner, but many of our teams televise their games locally.

@RampageNate: is there an accountability system in place for the refs? There are 2 in particular that need to be held more accountable.

@TheAHL: Officials are monitored by the @NHL‘s officiating department and AHL hockey operations

@TorontoMarlies: Who’s your favourite Toronto #Marlies player?

@TheAHL: @marliesduke75, obviously. #woof

@TheAHL: That’ll do it for today’s session of #AskTheAHL! Thanks to everyone who participated and we’ll see you next time!

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