Unless the NHL and Vancouver Canucks surprise us and add SKA St. Petersburg or Avangard Omsk to the schedule, it means there won’t be any serious ‘homecoming’ nights for any of the players who have joined the current roster. That’s a KHL reference to the former teams of Vancouver Canucks forwards Andrey Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev.
Last season is was Oliver Ekman-Larsson returning to Glendale, where all 6,000 Arizona Coyotes fans in attendance gave OEL a standing ovation on April 7th. I was there … getting all misty just thinking about it.
Sarcasm aside, there are some other important dates coming up this season, not including a few tantalizing ones VHN mentioned on July 19th.
We’ve also recently mentioned the new and less improved Calgary Flames and the importance of the head-to-head matches with that team and the other foes of the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks don’t actually see the Flames until December when they catch them twice on the road, December 14th and then on New Year’s Eve. That will be an interesting way to enter 2023. Any guess what the Canucks record will be then after 36 games? Over or under the equivalent of 20-and-16?
The Flames don’t visit Vancouver until March 31st and then return nine days later. Wow, again, potentially playing a big part in the playoff chase.
As for the Oilers, last year’s second place team in the Pacific, the Canucks open their season there again on October 12th. Last year Vancouver started their campaign with a 3-2 loss in a shoot-out on October 13th. The Canucks visit Edmonton again for a game on December 23rd, their final game before the three day Christmas break. They host the OIlers just once on January 21st.
Other tough stuff in January; hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche twice, on January 5th and 20th.
On the other end of the standings spectrum, the Seattle Kraken, the we-hope-soon-to-be-someday dreaded rivals of the Vancouver Canucks; they visit Rogers Arena on January 20th and April 4th.
Vancouver concludes its regular season schedule on April 13th at Arizona to wrap up a three-game road trip.
A less expensive alternative for very good professional hockey lies just along the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford where the Abby Canucks and the American Hockey League released their schedule on Thursday morning.
The ‘Baby’ Canucks open their AHL schedule on the road Friday, October 14th against the Ontario Reign, the farm team of the LA Kings.
The crowds at the Abbotsford Centre last season were vibrant and wildly effective. The team went 20-9-2-and-1 at home last season. That’s pretty damn good.
This year’s first home game will happen on Friday, October 28th against the San Diego Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks affiliate.
Just for kicks and giggles, here’s three specialty dates that the club has already announced: Diwali Night on Saturday, October 29th vs the San Diego Gulls, Country Night on Saturday, November 12th vs the Henderson Silver Knights, the Vegas affiliate, and the Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday, December 3rd vs Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens).
Abby fans will also twice get a chance to see the inaugural Seattle Kraken AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, twice among the 36 home dates, a great majority of which are on Friday and Saturday nights.
Plan ahead and we’ll see you at the rink!