Friday, January 22, 2016

AHL Trip to California Planned

When the AHL decided to create a Western Division for the 2015-16 season, I knew that I would be making a journey to California to check out the five rinks as part of my quest to complete the league. Three of them (Stockton, Bakersfield, Ontario) had been in use during the previous season as ECHL venues, while San Diego's Valley View Casino Center has rejoined the active hockey rink list after nearly ten years hosting a variety of indoor soccer and football teams. The San Jose Barracuda took the easy way out, using the SAP Center, home of their parent Sharks.

The AHL schedule is weekend heavy, so it was a bit tough to determine a stretch where I could see five games in a reasonable amount of time, but I eventually found a two-weekend jaunt where I could see all five teams, thanks to a Saturday doubleheader. Of course, every empty day has to be filled up with another sporting event, even Super Bowl Sunday, the dullest day for live sports on the calendar. I really enjoy college hoops and the NBA D-League, so I'll be checking out several games in those leagues too. The entire schedule:

Wed, Feb  3 Fresno State Bulldogs at San Jose State Spartans (NCAA Basketball, Mountain West) 7:00
Thu, Feb  4 Rio Grande Valley Vipers at Bakersfield Jam (NBA D-League) 7:00
Fri, Feb  5 San Jose Barracuda at Ontario Reign (AHL) 7:00
Sat, Feb  6 New Mexico Lobos at San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA Basketball, Mountain West) 1:00
Sat, Feb  6 Milwaukee Admirals at San Diego Gulls (AHL) 7:00
Sun, Feb  7 UC Davis Aggies at UCSD Tritons (NCAA Women's Tennis, Division II) 11:00
Tue, Feb  9 Stockton Heat at Bakersfield Condors (AHL) 7:00
Wed, Feb 10 San Diego State Aztecs at Fresno State Bulldogs (NCAA Basketball, Mountain West) 8:00
Thu, Feb 11 San Diego Toreros at Santa Clara Broncos (NCAA Basketball, WCC) 7:00
Fri, Feb 12 Western Oregon Wolves at CSU East Bay Pioneers (NCAA Baseball, Division II) 14:00
Sat, Feb 13 San Antonio Rampage at San Jose Barracuda (AHL) 1:15
Sat, Feb 13 Ontario Reign at Stockton Heat (AHL) 7:30
Sun, Feb 14 UCLA Bruins at Arizona State Sun Devils (NCAA Basketball, Pac 12) 6:30 
Mon, Feb 15 Montreal Canadiens at Arizona Coyotes 7:00

Note that the trip finishes in Phoenix. This is because rental cars are extremely expensive out of SFO during Super Bowl week, unless you drive them one-way to Arizona, in which case the price is about $12/day including all taxes. So I'll be racing from Stockton to Tempe (about 700 miles) to try to make the Arizona State game before finishing off watching the Habs and Coyotes, the only major league game on the slate. If you are in the area and will be at a game or want to meet up, just let me know.

This will be one of three trips to the Golden State this year. I also plan to see the Blue Jays at the Giants in late May and of course, I'll be paying a visit in the fall to see the LA Rams and Sacramento Kings in their new facilities to keep my Club 122 membership current. As always, recaps will be posted here regularly, so keep checking back!



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