Schedule day! It’s one of the happiest days of the year for any hockey fan.
I’ve done a pretty quick analysis of it, and a few things jump out at me as exciting.
First of all, compared to last season, the Checkers only have five three-in-threes, two of which are at home. And the other three aren’t as terrible as last year! The Checkers face Grand Rapids, Rockford and Chicago in October, then San Antonio, Texas and San Antonio again in March, and in April, San Antonio followed by two games in Oklahoma City. Last year, the Checkers had seven three-in-threes and they were not easy travel!
Though the Checkers are now division mates of the Abbotsford Heat, they only play them four times, just as they have the past two seasons. The two “home” games against the Heats will be in Raleigh during the Olympic Break.
The Checkers will face 13 opponents this year, again, that’s up from 12 last year.
The Checkers face two new teams this year. The Toronto Marlies will make their first trip to the Queen City for a pair of games December 20-21. Note to fans of Oh! Canada, this will be your only chance to hear the true North strong and free’s anthem in Charlotte, since the only other Canadian team the Checkers face will have their games played in Raleigh.
The Iowa Wild will play one weekend of games in Charlotte, opening the season on October 19. The Wild is the team formerly known as the Houston Aeros.
In their fourth AHL season, the Checkers have still never faced the Hamilton Bulldogs, Rochester Americans or the St. John’s IceCaps. They haven’t played the Utica Comets, either, but did in their former existence as the Peoria Rivermen.
The Hershey Bears will return to Charlotte this year for a pair of games against the Checkers.
So… the last few thoughts by the numbers:
2 – The number of Canadian teams the Checkers play, Abbotsford and Toronto.
4 – The minimum number of times the Checkers face any team. This year, those teams include Iowa, Grand Rapids, Chicago, Hershey, Toronto, Milwaukee, Lake Erie and Abbotsford.
8 – The number of games against North Division teams. Though they are a part of the Western Conference, Charlotte only plays two of the five teams in this division.
12 – The most number of times the Checkers face another team, in this case, Oklahoma City. I’m glad I’m an Oilers fan, because I’m going to see their prospects a LOT.
12 – The number of games the Checkers play against Eastern conference teams. These games are often make or break games when the final playoff points are calculated.
20 – The number of games against Midwest division teams. Four each from all five of the teams!
32 – The number of games against West division opponents. I still snicker when I think of the Charlotte Checkers playing in the “West” division
36 – The number of actual home games in Charlotte . Two home games will be played in Raleigh during the Olympic break.
32,478 – The number of miles the Checkers will travel on road trips this year. That’s about 2000 miles less than last year, and overall, the team appears to have a much easier road schedule despite facing Oklahoma City 12 times (and in case you were wondering, it’s over 2K miles roundtrip!)
And now I’m off to analyze the WBS Penguins schedule for my buddy Jason over at Chirps from Center Ice. Go check it out later if you want to see a real pro’s format!
So, Checkers fans…. what teams and games are you most looking forward to seeing this year?