On August 25th, the AHL finally released their 2010-11 schedule. The reason it took so long is that four teams share arenas with the NBA, who only got their schedule out two weeks before. For sports road trippers, this final release means that it's now possible to plan those winter trips that we started dreaming about months ago.
The World Junior Hockey Championships are taking place in Buffalo over the New Year. With the Winter Classic being held in nearby Pittsburgh on January 1st, and the Penguins opening the Consol Energy Center as well, the centerpiece of the trip was set. The next step was finding games on days in between. Fortunately, hockey is popular in the northeast, and there are some NBA games as well, so it wasn't that difficult.
But that's not all. With my base moving from Ottawa, it also gives me more chances to check out the OHL games in southern Ontario as well as making Toronto a quick getaway destination. So I added a weekend in Toronto as well as some additional junior hockey to complete the package. I'll be spending some family time in Ottawa as well, so that will allow me to catch a Senators game as well as the Gatineau Olympiques.
Wisconsin Basketball Excursion
I also checked to see if I could extend my Minnesota trip to watch an AHL game in Iowa. No such luck. But then I noticed that the Milwaukee Bucks were hosting the three-headed monster from Miami on Monday, December 6. Tickets will be tough to get but it's been nearly 20 years since I saw the Bradley Center, so I think I'll drive across Wisconsin to catch that matchup. Turns out that Marquette University has a home game on the Tuesday while the Wisconsin Badgers are home on Wednesday in Madison, which makes for a convenient stopping point on the drive back.
So with all that said, here is the plan for December and January:
Dec 1 Abbotsford Heat at Hamilton Bulldogs 7:00 (AHL) Dec 3 Calgary Flames at Minnesota Wild 7:00 Dec 4 Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves 7:00 Dec 5 Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings 12:00 Dec 6 Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks 7:00 Dec 7 Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders at Marquette Golden Eagles 7:00 (NCAA Basketball) Dec 8 UW-Milwaukee Panthers at Wisconsin Badgers 7:30 (NCAA Basketball) Dec 9 Mississauga St. Michael's Majors at Niagara IceDogs 7:00 (OHL) Dec 10 Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors 7:00 Dec 11 Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 Dec 12 Barrie Colts at Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 2:00 (OHL) Dec 15 Montreal Junior at Gatineau Olympique 7:30 (QMJHL) Dec 19 Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators 7:05 Dec 28 Owen Sound Attack at Barrie Colts 7:30 (OHL) Dec 29 London Knights at Guelph Storm 7:00 (OHL) Dec 30 Kitchener Rangers at Plymouth Whalers 7:05 (OHL) Dec 31 Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets 7:00 Jan 1 Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins 1:00 (Winter Classic) Jan 2 Dallas Mavericks at Cleveland Cavaliers 7:00 Jan 3 World Junior Hockey Championship Semi-finals in Buffalo Jan 4 Rochester Americans at Lake Erie Monsters 7:00 (AHL) Jan 5 Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins 7:00 Jan 7 Kalamazoo Wings at Elmira Jackals 7:35 (ECHL) Jan 8 Rochester Americans at Binghamton Senators 7:00 (AHL) Jan 9 Binghamton Senators at Providence Bruins 4:05 (AHL) Jan 10 Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics 7:30 Jan 11 Albany Devils at Worcester Sharks 7:00 (AHL) Jan 12 Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics 7:00 Jan 13 Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins 7:00 Jan 14 Hershey Bears at Adirondack Phantoms 7:00 (AHL) Jan 15 Springfield Falcons at Albany Devils 7:00 (AHL) Jan 16 Adirondack Phantoms at Syracuse Crunch 2:00 (AHL)