The Rochester Americans along with other teams in the American Hockey League today announced the schedule format and division alignments for the 2009/2010 season. The biggest change is that the Syracuse Crunch are headed for the East Division in the Eastern Conference and the Amerks stay in the North Division of the Western Conference. Another big change in the Amerks schedule is that they will not be playing any teams from the Western Division.
The Amerks only play 13 of the 29 teams in the league this season. They will play against Abbotsford Heat, Grand Rapids Griffins, Hamilton Bulldogs, Lake Erie Monsters, Manitoba Moose, Toronto Marlies, Portland Pirates, Adirondack Phantoms, Albany River Rats, Binghamton Senators, Hershey Bears, Syracuse Crunch, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The first home game for the Amerks will be Saturday October 3rd at Blue Cross Arena, the season will start the night before on October 2nd on the road (opponent not yet named).
The Amerks will play the Portland Pirates a total of four games, two of those games will be at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. The Pirates roster is pretty much changed over from when the Amerks and Sabres were affiliated so the game won’t be that much of a “rivalry.” Curt Styres had said last week that both games would be in Buffalo and at the time it did not make sense, but does now. That means we’ll see the Pirates twice at Blue Cross Arena.
Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears will visit Rochester twice.
The lack of games against West Division teams was one that Rochester was in favor of to save on travel costs and also the effect the long road trip had on players and coaches.
The disappointing part about the schedule is the fact that the Amerks only play 13 out of 29 teams in the league. It would be exciting for fans if the league and owners could work something out so more teams would be played against.
Here’s how the games for the Amerks breakdown and how the Divisions are aligned:
vs. North Division
Abbotsford (2 home, 2 away)
Grand Rapids (3 home, 3 away)
Hamilton (5 home, 5 away)
Lake Erie (4 home, 4 away)
Manitoba (2 home, 2 away)
Toronto (4 home, 4 away)
vs. West Division
vs. Atlantic Division
Portland (2 home, 2 away) — at least one game at HSBC in Buffalo
vs. East Division
Adirondack (2 home, 2 away)
Albany (2 home, 2 away)
Binghamton (5 home, 5 away)
Hershey (2 home, 2 away)
Syracuse (5 home, 5 away)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2 home, 2 away)