The AHL teams were given the go-ahead to release the schedule matrix today. Full press release here, and it’s much easier to comprehend than some I saw, so kudos to Checkers PR. Charlotte’s schedule matrix is as follows:
Midwest Opponents (Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford) will all be played eight times, four home, four away.
Charlotte will play the three teams in Texas four times each, and play Oklahoma City eight times. (Like Charlotte, Oklahoma City is hardly within driving distance of any other team, so they might as well take an easy, direct flight to another major city for a couple of games then head home.)
Additionally, Charlotte will play Lake Erie and Grand Rapids four times each.
The Checkers will have two games in Canada, where they face the Abbotsford Heat, who will also travel almost 3000 miles to Charlotte for two games.
Unfortunately, the Checkers will not face the Western Conference teams of Rochester, Hamilton and Toronto. Since Hamilton was my first favorite AHL team (and I have a jersey to prove it!), I am disappointed in this.
As far as the Eastern conference goes, Charlotte will play Hershey four times, and Norfolk eight times. I personally think eight times against the Nor-Ads is excessive, but since they are the only team we can drive to, I’m not too upset about it, and it does make logistical/monetary sense for the team.
All in all, the Checkers face 13 different teams, down from last season where they played every one of the 14 other teams in the Eastern Conference. I haven’t done the math, but this seems like 13 may be one of the lowest numbers of all the team schedules I have seen so far, and I am disappointed in it.
Now, we can all anxiously await the actual schedule coming out so I can book a flight to the Midwest for some road games! Unless a miracle happens, I will have to miss the Checkers opening night, on October 15. (Someone needs to tell North Carolina Dance Theater not to schedule performances during hockey season!)
Lets Go Checkers!