Milwaukee Journeys to Abbotsford to Face a Familiar Foe

There is one team in the AHL not like the others—the Abbotsford Heat.

Located just over an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, British Colombia, Abbotsford is most geographically isolated city in the AHL.  The nearest league city to the Heat is Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is located three Canadian provinces further east, or over a day’s drive by bus.  (Check out the Map of all the AHL team locations here)

Therefore when teams travel to Abbotsford, it is often for a two-game stint in order to reduce travel expenses.  This weekend Milwaukee has unenviable task of making the western trek.

But what makes this year’s trip even more peculiar is that it represents the final meetings between Milwaukee and Abbotsford this season.

“There’s parts of our schedule I don’t like, and parts I like, and it’s going to be that way every year,” Admirals coach Lane Lambert said.  “It’s bizarre that we play the same team four times in the first month of the season and then we don’t see them again.”

So far the Admirals have burned the Heat, winning both of their home games by a combined 9-3 count. Milwaukee has counted for half of Abbotsford’s losses so far this season.

“Obviously we’ll be very familiar with each other by the time the final buzzer goes next Saturday,” Lambert said.

Speaking of familiar, one player on the Heat Admirals fans should recognize is former Wisconsin Badgers defenseman Joe Piskula.

After playing five games in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006-2007, Piskula’s career stagnated with the Manchester Monarchs.  The Antigo, Wisconsin native is hoping a change of scenery to the Canadian Northwest may reinvigorate his once promising career.

So what do think Roundtable?  Should the AHL balance the schedule out more?  Or does the league’s special case of Abbotsford make the scheduling quirk ok?

3 thoughts on “Milwaukee Journeys to Abbotsford to Face a Familiar Foe”

  1. What I think is dumb about the whole Abbotsford thing is that they don’t draw any better then the team did in Quad City, but now teams have to spend a whole day getting there and a whole day getting back instead of a quick bus ride.

  2. I’ve always been in favor of a much more balanced schedule that lets us see each team at home at least once a year. Expensive though it may be, it would allow fans to see a wider scope of teams and players… I, for one, weary of seeing teams so much that rivalries become scrimmages from familiarity.

  3. This happened last season too, didn’t it? I seem to remember the Ads only playing Abbotsford during the first month and a half or so.

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