Nick Brunker's Blog
Analyzing the 2011-12 Schedule
June 3, 2011 | View Comments
I gotta admit, I'm pretty excited about how the 2011-12 schedule is shaping up. Firstly, the ECHL Eastern Conference Divisions will likely been realigned - although nothing is official yet Provided it does get changed, there will be division parity in numbers for the first time in a while.
With each division holding likely four teams this year, it should be an interesting season.
As for the Cyclones Schedule Breakdown...here's how it shapes up...
Games By Day:
Monday: 1 home, 0 away
Tuesday: 5 home, 1 away
Wednesday: 7 home, 4 away
Thursday: 2 home, 0 away
Friday: 9 home, 10 away
Saturday: 12 home, 10 away
Sunday: 0 home, 11 away
Games vs. ECHL Teams
vs. Chicago: 8 home, 8 away = 16 total
vs. Kalamazoo: 7 home, 7 away = 14 total
vs. Toledo: 5 home, 8 away = 13 total
DIVISION GAMES: 20 home, 23 away = 43 total
vs. Wheeling: 3 home, 3 away = 6 total
vs. Greenville: 4 home, 1 away = 5 total
vs. Gwinnett: 2 home, 3 away = 5 total
vs. South Carolina: 2 home, 2 away = 4 total
vs. Trenton: 2 home, 1 away = 3 total
vs. Elmira: 1 home, 2 away = 3 total
vs. Reading: 1 home, 1 away = 2 total
vs. Florida: 1 home, 0 away = 1 total
NON-DIVISION GAMES: 16 home, 13 away = 29 total
As for the layout of this year's campaign, it start very similarly to how the 2010-11 season began...on the road. In fact, the entire month of October will be spent away from U.S. Bank Arena. They open the year with a battle against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Kalamazoo Wings. A season ago, the Wings were a tough rival...and obviously had the horses to make it through the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how much of last year's team is back in 2011.
Also similar to a year ago, the 'Clones will embark on a quick road trip to the Atlantic Division in the second week of the year...when they meet Reading and Trenton on back-to-back days. The good thing, in my eyes, about the way this year's schedule works out...Cincy only has to make two trips to the East Coast all year. And one of which is the second weekend of the season. I'm already looking forward to the rematch with the Royals.
As November begins, we'll get our first look at the Cyclones newest rival, the Chicago Express. The first of several "home-and-home" series' will begin at the Sears Center in the Chicago-suburb Hoffman Estates. Former Cyclones Head Coach Steve Martinson is the bench-boss of the Express in its inaugural season...which is a storyline in itself.
The very next night, on November 5...the Cyclones will return to the ice at U.S. Bank Arena for the 2011-12 home opener! While the promotional schedule hasn't been announced yet...trust me when I say it's gonna be a night you won't wanna miss! The Express will be in town for the first of 8 meetings in the Queen City at 7:30pm. If you haven't yet, lock in your seats for opening night now by securing a season ticket package!
November will also provide us with some weekday action...which means discounted beer!
On November 15, we'll hold our annual Education in Hockey Day - presented by Ohio Lottery. It's an awesome day where students, teachers, and faculty can spend a day learning with hockey as a backdrop. For more info, click here.
December will be a busy month and U.S. Bank Arena...with all but three games played in downtown Cincy. And with the exception of a quick one game visit by Dean Stork's Greenville Road Warriors on December 3, the entire month will be played against North Division teams. Essentially, it could be a very helpful 31 days if the 'Clones can grab a winning streak.
As the calendar flips to 2012, Jarrod Skalde's bunch will hit the road for their final visit to the Atlantic Division of the regular year. It begins on January 6 with a trip to Wheeling...a place that was all-too-familiar a season ago. Yet, with the division realignment, it will be the first of just six meetings with the Nailers all year long. Not gonna complain one little bit! While the majority of January's games are spent on the road, the 'Clones are fortunate to have back-to-back Friday/Saturday weekends smack-dab in the middle. Should be fun.
What is seeming to become an unofficial tradition, February is a month absolutely filled to the brim with home games....12 in all. It will be your best chance to see some non-division teams...as South Carolina, Trenton, Elmira, Gwinnett, and Florida all make their way into Puckopolis. If home-ice advantage can hold true, it could be a great month for the 'Clones.
Then in March, the tides turn and the Cyclones will head back to the road for their customary southern swing. After opening the month with a home weekend against Chicago and Wheeling, they'll play 8 games in a row away from Cincy. This year, they'll make stops in Gwinnett, South Carolina, and Greenville. Luckily as the regular season winds down, they'll play three of the final five games at home - including back-to-back division tilts vs. Toledo and Chicago to close out the year.
All in all, it appears to be a pretty favorable schedule with not a TON of tough travel dates...which is nice for everyone. At the same time, it's gonna feel good to see a new team enter the mix. Can't wait! 134 days away 'til we drop the puck (as of June 3).
And don't forget to mark your calendars for our for-2011-meijer-concrete-clones/" target="_blank">Concrete Clones Summer Tour...which gets underway on June 25! Hope to see you all there!
Last but not least, we have a VERY cool new event that we're debuting in early October before the season begins...the Cyclones Power Play 5K Run/Walk! On Saturday, October 8 the banks of the Ohio River will be the setting for this great event that is more than just a race! Your entry includes a technical shirt, drink/food tickets for after the race, and admission to the Cincinnati Cyclones exhibition game immediately following the race! Not a runner? I'm not either. Come down for the Exhibition Game and all the festivities on the plaza outside of U.S. Bank Arena! Click to register for info.
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