Friday, January 28, 2011

Empire State of Roadtrip

While watching the World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, I saw an advertisement for the WWE Raw show that will take place there on February 28th. I quickly checked the Sabres and Bandits schedules but they weren't conducive to a 3-day sports weekend. Not that I'd be able to attend but I thought my friend Sharpy might be interested. Alas, no go.

When I got back to Japan though, I had a look at neighboring teams in Rochester and Syracuse. It turned out that a simple 4-day road trip was possible once you included those cities. That got me to thinking: how about looking at all the teams in New York? Turns out that there's more than a few sports teams in the Empire State, so once I got checking for possible events, I realized that you could spend nearly 3 weeks on the road watching sports only in New York.

You know of the 3 NHL teams and the Knicks in the NBA, but there's also 5 AHL squads, the ECHL's Elmira Jackals, 2 NLL teams (indoor lacrosse for the uninitiated), 3 franchises in the Federal Hockey League, the Rochester RazorSharks of the Premier Basketball League and a number of college basketball teams of which I considered just 3. All tolled, that's 19 franchises plus the WWE.

So I tried to make a road trip with the usual simple rules: at least one event per day and no home team is seen more than once. Amazingly, you can see each team mentioned above exactly once and finish off in Buffalo for Raw. Here's the schedule:
Feb  9  Abbotsford at Rochester (AHL) 7:05
Feb 10 Connecticut at St. Johns (NCAA Basketball) 7:00
Feb 11 Rome at 1000 Islands (FHL) 7:05
Feb 12 Minnesota at Rochester (NLL) 7:35
Feb 13 NY Islanders at Buffalo (NHL) 3:00
Feb 14 West Virginia at Syracuse (NCAA Basketball) 7:00
Feb 15 Ohio at Buffalo (NCAA Basketball) 7:00
Feb 16 Atlanta at New York (NBA) 7:30
Feb 17 Los Angeles at NY Rangers (NHL) 7:00
Feb 18 Connecticut at Adirondack (AHL) 7:30
Feb 19 Philadelphia at Buffalo (NLL) 7:30
Feb 20 Adirondack at Albany (AHL) 4:00
Feb 21 Florida at NY Islanders (NHL) 1:00
Feb 22 Charlotte at Syracuse (AHL) 7:00
Feb 23 Wilkes Barre/Scranton at Binghamton (AHL) 7:05
Feb 24 Cape Cod at New York (FHL) 7:05
Feb 25 Wheeling at Elmira (ECHL) 7:35
Feb 26 Dayton at Rochester (PBL) 1:05
Feb 27 Cape Cod at Rome (FHL) 2:05
Feb 28 WWE Raw at Buffalo 8:15

There you have it. Now I'll be the first to admit that there's a lot of driving and you would be criss-crossing the state several times (and going through New Jersey and Pennsylvania a lot too). There's only one occasion where back-to-back games are in the same city, which means a lot of checking into and out of hotels. But if you love sports and you love New York, this can't be beat.

I found out about the FHL through Our Sports Central. The FHL is a small league with 7 teams, including a new team in Akwesasne, Ontario. It seems to lie beneath the ECHL, so it's highly unlikely you'll see future NHL'ers here, but it looks like a decent league with a good internet presence. The New York team plays in Brooklyn so check them out when you get a chance.

The PBL is only 3 years old but already has fallen from 13 teams to just 7, so I'm not sure how much longer it will be around.



Update (Feb 9th): The FHL should change their name to the F%*ked-Up Hockey League. They are shortening their schedule, so a couple of games later on the roadtrip wouldn't happen. I know, this is just a possible roadtrip and I'm not even going, but it's the principle; road trippers need schedule certainty!

Thanks to Gary and his friend Dom for the info on this.

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