So, the AHL announced today they are changing the schedule beginning in 2011-2012. Each team will play only 76 games, down from 80, and the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs will be a best of five series. They will also lengthen the season to spread games out more and eliminate any four games in five night scenarios.
I totally understand the need to decrease the number of games. It’s going to be safer for the teams, and raise the level of competition. For a league that relies on busing to games, four in a five day span is way too much for a professional athlete.
I’d really love to see more variety and equality in the schedule. The Checkers faced Norfolk 12 times this year. I was SO TIRED of the primary color clown barf uniforms by the end of the season! We didn’t play a single team from the Western Conference, despite the fact places like Texas and Oklahoma City or Lake Erie are no further away by plane than Portland , Syracuse, or many of our other Eastern opponents.
I do not like the playoff changes. I know the ECHL does a best-of-five playoff, but I hate these. I think it makes for an unfair playing field, because usually it’s a 2-2-1 series… it would mean the team without home ice advantage could very well only have one home playoff game. Maybe my opinion will change if there are a lot of first-round sweeps this year, but I just don’t see that happening.
Selfishly, my personal beef is that I paid for a full 40-home game set of Season Tickets for next year. Paid in full, done deal. Obviously, two games isn’t going to make or break the deal, but I paid for 40, and now I’m only getting 38? Those two games cost me about $60 give or take, and I want my full money’s worth! It’s just not cool to sell a 40-game package, and only give your ticket holders 38…. but it’s not exactly the Charlotte Checkers call on this. And looking back at all of the sales sheets, etc., the Checkers never wrote it was a 40-game package… we just assumed it was, because it was a 40 game home season this year, too.
The Checkers have been an amazing team in their first year of AHL hockey. I’ve had great season ticket sales reps, and the Checkers are giving us some great perks next year (even though I’m still kind of wary about the prospect of these “season ticket holder jerseys” and fear they could be the epitome of jersey fouls… especially if they are a funny color!). I just don’t like that the league announces this after I’ve paid in full for my tickets!
I can’t imagine it’s an easy thing for the local clubs to deal with, either. Taking away four games affects some budget items… hotel rooms, travel expenses, arena rent, but they still have to pay the same salaries, same insurance, etc. so refunding season ticket holders for two games is a financial burden on them, too.
Alright, sorry for my personal rants, but this one caught me off guard!