Hockey, here we come!
Ready or not, right around the corner is another season of hockey rapidly approaching as the Binghamton Senators will begin its 13th season as the top affiliate of the Ottawa Senators kicking off with the release of the 2014-’15 AHL schedule getting its last approval today from the AHL Board of Governor’s.
The 76 game schedule includes a return trip up in Ottawa on Feb. 15th against the Toronto Marlies, eight games against rival’s Syracuse, Hershey, W/B-Scranton and Norfolk and ten games vs Lehigh Valley while Rochester has been scaled back to only four meetings. The club will also make their annual trip to Newfoundland to take on St. John’s on the 21st and 22nd of October. Like last season, the schedule favors the B-Sens in April as six games are at home vs three away.
For the preseason contests come October, something different is in the book’s as interstate 81 rival’s Binghamton and the Syracuse Crunch are both heading overseas to Lyon, France for a mini tournament to help spread the word on an international level about the AHL for that matter as the prime development league for the NHL. That schedule reads as following before Binghamton jets back to the states on the 7th preparing for their home opener on the 11th against Worcester.
- October 2, 8 p.m. vs. Syracuse @ Patinoire Charlemagne Arena, Lyon
- Oct. 3 or Oct. 4, 8 p.m. vs. Bruleurs de Loups @ Patinoire Pole Sud Arena, Grenoble
- Oct. 5, 8 p.m. vs. Syracuse @ Patinoire Charlemagne Arena, Lyon
The AHL has made a couple of divisional changes as the newly planted Lehigh Valley Phantoms (before Adirondack) have re-located to Allentown, PA for their inaugural season to begin and are now part of the East, since the Crunch gets the boot to the Northeast Division. Meanwhile up in the Glens Falls, NY area, the Calgary Flames are their new primary replacement pulling their team out from Abbotsford, BC, and will settle in the North Division in the Western Conference. It’s a new look to the competitive East and moving forward.
Binghamton will kick off the season as defending champ’s in the East by clinging on to the division title in the last few games last season and hope to repeat while still being considered early on favorites, according to many. With the club adding an experienced blend of veteran’s to the line-up along with some new, skillful youth sprinkled in, look for Luke Richardson and his staff to have a competitive, cohesive unit once again on the ice this season at 1 Stuart Place.
One other note to add before I forget, no lower affiliate has been named for the B-Sens in replacing Elmira as I’m speculating the organization could fly solo for the upcoming season if a new one isn’t announced soon with time running out. If so, they’ll be joining the NJ Devils and the SJ Sharks as the only other clubs without secondary affiliates, so it’s been done. (If you aren’t aware, during the off-season the Jackals went ahead and signed with the Buffalo Sabres organization after the movement headed by ex-B-Sens’ GM Tim Murray as their new partner in the ECHL.)
45 days and counting fans..
*Cover pic courtesy of Alicia Strauch.