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Hockey Challenge 2014

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My look at the 2013-2014 Regular Season Schedule

It’s a little late, but as most of you know, Seattle (and the rest of the league) released their regular season schedule on the 26th.

Changes This Season

I have heard that this season, the league took over doing most of the schedule, where as in the past, the teams got together to negotiate dates. This has made a few things change. Normally, the Birds like to have more home games after the Christmas break when attendance will be higher. But this year, things are very evenly split, with 17 home games before and 19 after. Road games are evenly split at 18.

As far as opponents go, each US division opponent's games are spread out across the season. It appears as if Seattle and Everett did get some control over the schedule making, since all but one of their ten games fall after Christmas. Spokane is the odd quirk in the schedule. Seattle plays two home and home series, and one three straight game series. That’s seven of the eight games in little series.

Home And Home's

The other odd part of the schedule that is new this season is that Seattle plays 6 home and home games (back to back games, one on road, and one at home). Add in back to back road games against Prince George and Victoria, and 8 times Seattle plays the same team in consecutive games. Those are always fun for emotions and pay backs.

3 games in 3 nights

The Birds have six of these this season. This is basically the same as every year. I am sure the coaches would like less, but when every other team wants games on Friday to Sunday nights, you kind of have to take what you can get.

The good news, two of these back to back to back stretches take place on the two central swings. The other good news is that three of the others include only one road game and two home games. The bad news, two of these happen the last two weekends of the season (below for a description of this).

One of these 3 games in 3 nights turns into a 4 games in 5 nights (part of the end of the season). And to one of these add a game on Tuesday and Wednesday, making it 5 games in 6 nights (all part of the central swing discussed below).

Central Swing

The last big differences in this years schedule comes in the 6 games against the central division. In the past, teams have played all 6 games on the same trip, usually spending 10 to 12 days on the road. This season, every US division team is breaking it into two parts. Seattle takes its first trip right at the beginning of the season (can be great for team bonding, getting to know each other, etc.). Heading east of the mountains to pick up a game in Tri Cities, then heading north to play the three mostly southern based Alberta teams. The second trip I will call the highway 2 trip. This one happens right after the new year where Seattle plays the three somewhat northern Alberta teams that have Canada Highway 2 go between them. The only bad thing about this second trip is they couldn't play the teams in order of travel. They start in the middle, head north, then back south, then have to head back north because they are taking a fun trip to Prince George. There is a nice road between Edmonton and Prince George. The only issue is the large mountain pass between the two. That and the fact you are driving across the northern part of Alberta and British Columbia in the middle of winter. This is the part of the schedule I don’t quite understand. It sounds smart to combine trips since you are already that far north. But the middle of winter doesn't sound like the best time. And if you are going to go to this much trouble, why not add a game in Kamloops or Kelowna on the way back to Seattle, cutting down on one trip back up.

The Stretch Run

I am not sure what Seattle did to make the computer and league gods unhappy, but they sure get punished the last week of the season. They finish with 7 games over 10 days. They start and end with weekends of 3 games in 3 nights, and throw in a Tuesday night game in the middle, and you have a brutal ending to the regular season. This is not the way I would want to be going into the playoffs, tired, possible beat up. But if they can get on a roll, it might give them the confidence to make a nice run. Six of the seven are against division foes (3 against Portland), so if they need to make up ground, or put some distance on these teams, they have the perfect opportunity.


I will leave you with a little thought I always have, since we all love to watch the birds when they are on TV (unless it’s a home game). In previous years Root Sports has broadcast some Friday night games, starting in the new year. If this continues this season, then Seattle is in great shape to make a couple appearances. There are 9 Friday nights from January 17 to the end of the season. Seattle plays on all but one of these, with 4 being home games.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the schedule. I worried right off the bat when I saw the road trip in January. Not sure what they can do about it if a computer is picking the games, but they really should factor in the safety issue.
Hope you are right about the tv games! We always enjoy watching the whl when they are on, but it would be great if we could watch an away game or two!

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