The 2011-12 schedule is out!
It was a long, complicated process that I am happy to share a few details about.
We are playing 76 games, including 38 home contests, which is a change from previous years where an 80-game schedule was the norm. The reason for the change was to alleviate all four game in five night stretches which will lead to improved player development. Last season, we had seven four in fives which certainly takes a toll on the players.
The calendar for the season was also extended by one week which also helped to alleviate the four in fives.
With fewer games and a longer calendar, we have been able to push a greater amount of our games to the weekends. As a matter of fact, the 32 weekend home dates are the most for the Admirals since they moved to the American Hockey League. This is a development that is certainly good for the Admirals business plan as the average attendance on weekends is significantly higher than on weekdays.
Our schedule which features 12 Sunday home games, by far the most since I’ve been with the team, has a variety of starting times. While we would have liked to have the continuity of a 3 pm starting time for each game, that just wasn’t possible. By league rule, any game that starts prior to 5 pm requires approval of the visiting team if they play the night before in a different city. Some teams we face are taking airplane travel on the day of the game or are playing what they feel is too long of a distance away so we agree to play at 5 pm.
We also run into the Packers a few times and have adjusted times to give some separation from the projected end time of the Packers game to the start of the Admirals game. There could be some late adjustments as the season moves forward so we’ll have to see what happens.
Finally, we have a tough stretch of games in April with seven of our last eight games on the road. While that may look daunting, it is not out of the norm for us to play long road trips. It’s just different that it’s at the end of the season as opposed to another time. Remember last season when we had 10-game trip in November?
Overall, I believe this is a good schedule for the Admirals business as well as Nashville’s development program. Opening Night in Peoria on October 8 will be here before we know it.