Schedule Is Out For Rangers AHL Affiliate Wolf Pack

Vinni Lettieri & John Gilmour

The American Hockey League released their 83rd season schedule for the 2018-19 campaign.

Of course, my reaction is always excitement on release day of the release. After thoroughly analyzing the Wolf Pack’s schedule, there is a noticeable difference from seasons past. When it comes to the stuff on the ice, the league has cut down on three games in three nights dramatically, which will allow the players to be fresher for games. Off the ice, the schedule looks alarming to front offices. There is an uptick in weekday games for the entire league, which was often was frowned upon by the league because of attendance and financial reasons. But from a fan’s perspective, the schedule is still weekend friendly as you can see Hartford anytime throughout the season.

Here is the season schedule for Hartford.

Three in Threes

The most noticeable change to the schedule is the three games in three days on the weekends. The AHL frequently had these situations as the front offices and team owners wanted games on weekends rather than weekdays. However, this season back away from the three in threes.  Hartford has seven such weekends, which is lower than the average amount from 8-12.

In those three games in three nights, the schedule makes sense. The first set of the three has Hartford playing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday and Saturday, followed by a trip to Hershey on Sunday.  In a three in three weekend in January, Hartford is at home Friday and Saturday, then a trip to Providence on Sunday. Then, in another example, Hartford plays at home Friday then visit the Phantoms in Allentown, PA for games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

The travel between the games is light to moderate. The players will be tired after all is said and done, but they will have more time to rest.

Back to Backs

The majority of Hartford’s back-to-backs this season will be followed by a resting period. This aspect of the schedule was not as common in the past. Most of the weekends has Hartford playing in back to back games, which is ideal for the prospects playing so they are not fatigued.

Weekday Games?!?

This season will feature 15 games between Tuesday to Thursdays with nine at home and six on the road. The league rarely had the Pack playing on weekdays, and if they did, it was for a handful of games. This change in the scheduling adds a more consistent schedule for playing between games. Instead of waiting four to five days after weekends, there will be chances for players to keep playing and keep their momentum going. If a player gets on a hot streak, he will want to play games as frequent as possible versus waiting five days.

This is a winning situation on the ice for Hartford. Off the ice will be a different story. A question going into the season is how will teams do with more weekday games? The AHL has seen steady growth in attendance and revenue since moving teams to California after the 2014-15 season. This aspect of the business will be interesting to see after the season is completed.

Critical Rivals

As usual, rivalry games are the most critical in the season. Hartford plays Springfield, Bridgeport, and Providence 10 times each. The Wolf Pack will play Providence three times within the first two weeks of the season. In addition, the club will face Bridgeport and Springfield in late October. There is no time to waste when the season begins. Winning games against rivals is a huge step to making the playoffs, and key points will be on the line starting with game one.

Other Notes

  • The Calder Cup Champion Toronto Marlies will visit Hartford on Wednesday, February 13th.
  • Sunday games have returned to a 3pm start versus a 5pm start from the last few seasons.
  • The longest homestand is four straight in November from the 10th to the 21st. The rest of the homestands vary from one to three games.
  • The longest road trip is four games. There are two road trips with four games, one in October and one in March.
  • Preseason dates and the promotional schedule will be released later in the summer.