We have a number of excellent updates today that should start getting you ready for hockey. We're less than one month away from pre-season games, so hockey is right around the corner once again. And with it, the schedules for leagues start being released along with their TV schedules. CBC's Hockey Night In Canada is, as you may know, a staple on Canadian television on Saturday nights in the winter, and it is consistently one of the public broadcaster's highest-rated shows week in and week out. The Toronto Maple Leafs get a lot of broadcasts due to the CBC's proximity to the Air Canada Centre, but this year there will be another Toronto team that gets some airtime on the country's flagship hockey broadcast.
CBC announced today that they will broadcast ten AHL games on their station as part of a new hockey broadcast called "AHL on CBC". All ten games will feature at least one of the four Canadian-based AHL clubs, and these games will be aired on Sunday afternoons in conjunction with the AHL schedule.
Now, I have yet to see the Manitoba Moose schedule, but there are four Moose games that have been confirmed over the ten broadcasts. Thanks to a Moose press release, here is the AHL on CBC schedule for 2010-11:
Sunday, Oct. 24 – Oklahoma City at Hamilton, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Nov. 21 – Hamilton at Toronto, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Dec. 12 – Toronto at Hamilton, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Jan. 16 – Toronto at Abbotsford, 2:00 ET
Sunday, Jan. 23 – Abbotsford at Manitoba, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Feb. 27 – Manitoba at Toronto, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Mar. 6 – Hamilton at Toronto, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Mar. 27 – Abbotsford at Manitoba, 1:00 ET
Sunday, Apr. 3 – Manitoba at Toronto, 1:00 ET
As you can see, each of the Canadian-based NHL teams will have their AHL affiliated team broadcasted at least once, and that should make Canadian hockey fans happy. Oklahoma City is the new AHL affiliate of the Oilers, and Binghamton is the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators.
I, as a hockey fan and an AHL fan, am pumped about this opportunity. The games will be featured on your local CBC station on TV as well as being available live and on-demand on CBCSports.ca
Good move by the CBC to start showing some of the next stars before they hit the NHL. The AHL is great hockey, and this exposure should help drive some people to their local AHL arena. Well done, and thumbs-up from this writer!
From the AHL schedule, we move to another scheduled game in the WHL. As you're aware, the Calgary Hitmen and the Regina Pats will meet on February 21 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary as part of the NHL's Heritage Classic weekend. However, the first outdoor game in the WHL's history may actually happen a month before the Hitmen and Pats clash.
The Spokane Chiefs announced on Wednesday that they will host the Kootenay Ice on January 15, 2011 at Avista Stadium in the league's first outdoor game. Avista Stadium is home to the Northwest League's Spokane Indians baseball club, a Short-Season A baseball club that is affiliated with MLB's Texas Rangers.
"Since the NHL outdoor game in Buffalo 2008, I have wanted the Spokane Chiefs to play in one," said Chiefs president Bobby Brett in a statement. "I think it will be an unbelievable event for our players and fans."
The average high for temperature in Spokane in January is approximately 34-degrees Fahrenheit, while the low is 23-degrees. This is nearly the same average that Buffalo experiences, so there may be some similarities in how slick the ice is and how the game is played. They receive approximately 1.76 inches of precipitation as well, so there may even be some snowflakes for this game like there was in Buffalo!
All in all, there might be a push amongst all the leagues to have one of these games per year. I, for one, enjoy them, and think that one per league per year is more than enough to satisfy any hockey fan's craving for outdoor games.
Speaking of the Heritage Classic game between the Hitmen and the Pats, the WHL's oldest team is going back to its roots for this historic game.
The Regina Pats will wear a jersey that resembles those from their 1924 team, the first season the Regina Pats played as the "Pats". Originally, the team was named the "Patricias" in honour of Princess Patricia of Connaught, the granddaugher of Queen Victoria and daughter of the Governor General.
The front of the jerseys are gorgeous - not overstated with any additional designs or logos. They are nearly identical to the original jerseys worn in 1924, and I like the cream-coloured background. Very nice, and a thumbs-up from me.
The back of the jerseys go more modern with block numbering and names, but red outline on the numbers almost disappears under the navy of the number. However, still a very decent design, and another thumbs-up for not overdoing it.
You might already know this, but I cannot stand the Rbk logos on CHL socks. Despite Weal's propensity for having his socks pulled up to different lengths, I like the striping and the colour scheme works very well with the pants in contrast to the socks.
Overall, a thumbs-up for this jersey design. The throwback is entirely appropriate, minus the Rbk logos. This should be a very good look for the Pats when they take the ice at McMahon Stadium in February.
That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow with some more news. As you may have read, I'm still looking for writers who want to pen an article in September, and you can help the wives of the NHL Officials by donating to help end women's cancers. Get on those activities!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!