At 3 P.M. on Thursday afternoon we should finally get our first look at the 2011-2012 American Hockey League regular season schedule. The proposed schedule is pending league approval by the Board of Governors, but as far as I know, there shouldn’t be anything holding back its release.
Ryan has already mentioned a few dates that are already penciled in as Bradley Center contests, but here are a few things that I will be keeping my eye on.
1) How will the AHL handle the Rochester Americans and the Charlotte Checkers?
Last season Rochester played in the Western Conference, but only halfheartedly, with a large portion of its schedule being teams from the East. Rochester changed hands in the off-season, becoming a part of the new big budget beast in the East–the Terry Pegula-owned Buffalo Sabres franchise.
This season another geographically eastern team moves west, and not even to a primarily “eastern” West Division, but into the Midwest Division. Charlotte is over 14 hours by bus from Milwaukee, and over 13 hours from Peoria, which is its closest geographic rival. Obviously, the Checkers will be racking up the frequent flier miles this season.
I expect more of the same with a hybrid style schedule for Charlotte and Rochester, but it becomes more difficult with two teams to take care of instead of one.
2) Division Games vs. Conference Games vs. Inter-Conference Games, how will that shake out?
I have yet to see how the AHL is planning on breaking down the actual team slates. With the two obvious outliers in Charlotte and Rochester, and the five West Division teams being so far away from everyone but themselves, it will be curious to see how this breaks down. I still expect unbalances to be prevalent, but the AHL loves Division games. Just how many will there be in 2011-2012?
3) The Abbotsford question?
In case you have forgotten, there still is one team in the AHL located no where near any other–the Abbotsford Heat (as long as you forget that there is now a team in Newfoundland). Travel expenses for this franchise will border on ridiculous in 2011-2012 no matter how you breakdown the schedule.
Lets also not forget Milwaukee’s strange scheduling with the Heat over the past two years. Will the Admirals even get to see Abbotsford in the calender year of 2012? I am assuming Milwaukee’s players would prefer to get that road trip out of the way earlier rather than later, but a late date at Abbotsford could be a difficult thing to contend with.
So Roundtable, what are looking for in the schedule to be released tomorrow?
11 thoughts on “2011-2012 AHL Season Schedule Primer”
Ten games against division opponents. Charlotte may only get 8 games, making exactly 50% of the 76 game schedule. Grand Rapids will get 6 games, 4 for LEM and ABB, 4 each for Toronto and Hamilton. The usual Thanksgiving trip to Texas (and OKC) plus some other games against those teams, making 4 each. So 50% Conference games & 0 Eastern & Rochester games.
The Charlotte schedule breakdown (from the team’s site)
Chicago Wolves (VAN) [4/4]
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH) [4/4]
Peoria Rivermen (STL) [4/4]
Rockford IceHogs (CHI) [4/4]
Abbotsford Heat (CGY) [2/2]
Houston Aeros (MIN) [2/2]
Oklahoma City Barons (EDM) [4/4]
San Antonio Rampage (FLA) [2/2]
Texas Stars (DAL) [2/2]
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET) [2/2]
Lake Erie Monsters (COL) [2/2]
Hershey Bears (WSH) [2/2]
Norfolk Admirals (TBL) [4/4]
According to a fan on HFBoards, Rochester will play 46 games against Western conference teams and 30 against Eastern teams. No games scheduled against a single Midwest Division opponent.
I’m looking forward to a more balanced schedule where we don’t have 6 to 8 home games total for the first two months of the season, but I’m not holding my breath.
I agree with the unbalanced schedule at the start of the season vs the end of the season, however I will say it’s nice knowing that at the end of the year when hockey is most exciting there’s a home game or two every single week!!
Admirals open season at Peoria on Oct 8
Back-to-Back with the Wolves for home openers, back to Chicago on October 28th.
Final road game at Chicago on April 14th.
Just saw the schedule. I like it! About time they were able to balance that m’n’f’er!
And I finally get a game on my birthday instead of the 2 week road trip that usually occurred in November.
Still don’t understand why they can’t start games at 7:30, especially when you draw Wolves fans to games. I’m sure they would appreciate that extra half hour to get up here. I notice when the Admirals play down there, it’s a 7:30 start.
Would it have been SO HARD to get the Rochester Americans onto this schedule? Geez. Come on!
I like the fact that there are lots of Friday, Saturday and Sunday games.
April is brutal. Hope we don’t have to make a late playoff push when we play 7 (in a row) of the last 8 games on the road.
At least we don’t play Chicago every other game this year. I like that a lot!
Wow that schedule sucks, all these road games at the end and what with this 3pm sunday crap, ill be in my work clothes at most these game! And why are the sunday times changing throughout the season 1st its 5 the 4 for some and 3pm for others. And someone mind explaining why on feb 25th we play rockford at 7 then the very next day fly down to texas for a 3pm affair with san antoino?! They couldn’t squeeze that game on either of our earlier southern trips? Really?! And it seems we play chicago way too much in first month and a half 5games vs them in oct/nov. Oh well whatcha gonna do? At least hockey is back!
Hey frontrow i dug a little deeper into the that sa game in feburary and according the ahl website the game is a home game and if that is the case that would be 38 home games. Ads website states it a road game but I think it’s a home game
Well thanks lennie I thought was odd to have us barely have 8hrs for the players to sleep down to s.a.