On Friday afternoon the AHL released their 2012-2013 schedule. With a gloomy forecast for an on time start to the NHL season, the AHL might be the best option for hockey hungry fans. Here is a quick breakdown of the schedule for the Devils top affiliate. Schedule PDF
Devils vs. WBS (Feb. 18) (30) (via AlbanyDevils)
The first thing that caught the eye of fans is the return of four games to Atlantic City. Reducing the number of Albany home games from 38 to 34. The Devils did this in 2010-2011 with some mixed results with one game having to be postponed because the ice was so bad. Losing Adirondack for a game hurts Albany’s attendance, but the loss is softened by the fact that all four Atlantic City games are Sunday games that don’t draw that well. Three of the four visiting teams made the trip two years ago to Atlantic City with the only change being Bridgeport instead of Norfolk. This was somewhat surprising to me since Albany is closer than Atlantic City for Bridgeport, while I’m sure Norfolk wouldn’t mind going to Atlantic City instead of Albany. All the Atlantic City games start at 4pm. Hopefully bus trips could be planned for some of the games for Albany fans. An ideal bus trip would be to partner with Adirondack and have busses go down for the January 20th game. With MLK day on Monday the 21st some fans might have the day off so it would make the late night a little more manageable.
Team Breakdown (Number of Home Games):
Adirondack (6), Binghamton (4), Syracuse (4), Bridgeport (3), Connecticut (3), Springfield (3), Norfolk (2), Providence (2), Rochester (2), St. Johns (2), Hersey (2), W-B/Scranton (2), Manchester (1), Portland (1), Worchester (1)
The Albany Devils will play the entire Eastern Conference, but only Rochester from the Western Conference. If you do want to see the your favorite Western NY team then I hope you don't do anything on Sunday afternoons in April. Rochester comes to Albany only 4/7 at 4pm and 4/14 at 3pm. Some Albany fans from the Carolina years might be disappointed that Charlotte doesn't come back again this year.
Saturday, October 13th at 5:05pm vs. Manchester. Last season they opened vs. Springfield on Saturday October 8th at 7pm to a disappointing 4,286 fans. Hopefully an earlier start time and not being on Columbus Day weekend will help this year.
Longest Home Stand
April 13th – April 21st. The Devils close out the season with five straight home games over nine days. Hopefully the playoffs are in the picture or else the Times Union Center might be a lonely place at the end of the season.
Longest Road Trip
The Devils will have six games over ten days February 1st – February 10th and March 15th – March 24th.
The February road trip includes games in 2/1-Providence, 2/2-Portland, 2/5-Connecticut, 2/8-Springfield, 2/9-Syracuse then 2/10-Binghamton.
The March road trip might be easier since it is basically two long weekends with the ability to come home during the week. One weekend: Friday-Rochester, Saturday-Syracuse, Sunday-Bridgeport. The Next Weekend: Friday-Binghamton, Saturday-Syracuse, Sunday-Bridgeport.
The Devils play 31 of 38 home games on the weekends: 9 on Fridays, 12 on Saturdays and 10 on Sunday.
Just look to March and April to see examples of the weekend heavy schedule. To begin March the Devils will play three games in three nights for four straight weekends. The final week in March they play three games in four nights on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. April picks up where March left off with the season ending with three straight weeks of three games in three nights.
The Devils play the outliers of the AHL Eastern conference for Friday/Saturday back-to-back games when they travel to St. Johns in November and Norfolk in December.
Opening night Bundle – The Devils have their first promotion of the season, which has tickets for three games. Up until Friday we didn’t know the teams, now we do. Fans can get Opening Night vs. Manchester, November 2nd vs. Connecticut at 7pm and then your choice of November 10th vs. Adirondack at 7pm, December 28th vs. Binghamton at 7pm, January 12th vs. Worchester at 5pm or January 26th vs. Adirondack at 2pm (Union vs. RPI to follow this game).
The dates of 12/28, 1/12 and 1/26 are similar to dates the Devils promoted heavily with discounted tickets last season for some good attendance results. Last year they had $10 tickets on 12/30 for 5,823 fans, on 1/14 they had GE Kids in Free for 6,319 and on 1/28 vs. Adirondack they had Family Four pack tickets for 8,194. I wouldn't be shocked to see these dates promoted in the same way this season.
What do you think about the Devils schedule? What do you think of the Atlantic City games? What games are you looking forward to?