By Chris Block
The American Hockey League released its 2012-13 regular season schedule on Friday.
For the Rockford IceHogs, the 76-game jaunt begins on Saturday October 13th at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Wolves. The two teams will face off again in the same venue the next afternoon.
Rockford’s home opener takes place Saturday October 20th in the first of a two-game weekend set with the Charlotte Checkers at BMO Harris Bank Center.
The IceHogs’ regular season home finale comes on Friday April 12th against the visiting Chicago Wolves.
Six of the IceHogs final eight regular season games will come on the road, including their final three.
Rockford completes the regular season in Austin, Texas on Saturday April 20th.
This season’s slate also comes with a neutral site game to be played on Sunday November 18th at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The IceHogs opponent will be the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.
As it stands now, when it comes to Blackhawks and IceHogs games falling on the same day, there are a total of ten conflicts. This includes the date of the IceHogs’ home opener (10/20 the Blackhawks are scheduled to play the Red Wings at the UC) and both teams’ regular season finales on April 12th (CHI vs St. Louis and IceHogs hosting the Wolves).
The IceHogs have a total of 14 home games slated for Saturday nights in 2012-13. Because the Blackhawks don’t have a single Saturday night home game scheduled after October 27th, there is only one occasion (10/20) when the two teams have conflicting Saturday night home games. This can only be seen as a positive sign for IceHogs attendance even if the ripple in the bump of folks driving the 90 minutes or so from the Chicago area may be minute. Rockford’s attendance dropped 3% last season from the 2010-11 campaign. And with the schedule last year contracting from 40 to 38 home games in the 2011-12 season, thirteen thousand fewer fans walked through the gates at the BMO in 2011-12. Prior to the season IceHogs officials publicly projected to match or surpass the prior season’s attendance totals even with two fewer home games. That didn’t come close to happening in part due to another mediocre start with included six consecutive home losses (and 9 of their first 12 at home) after posting a 3-2 win in their home opener over Grand Rapids.
In 2011-12, the IceHogs averaged 4,035 fans in the first half (19gms) of their home schedule. Attendance picked up by 10.4% in the second half to 4,454 fans per game. Still, their overall average dropped from 4,361 in 2010-11 to 4,244 in 2011-12. It was the first time since joining the AHL in 2007 that the IceHogs had seen a drop in attendance. Even with last season’s drop off, attendance is still up 11% from the 3,825 average in the 2007-08 season.
–2012-13 Rockford IceHogs opponents:
Midwest Division – Total Number of games (Home/Away)
Chicago Wolves – 12 (6/6)
Grand Rapids Griffins – 8 (4/4)
Milwaukee Admirals – 12 (6/6)
Peoria Rivermen – 12 (6/6)
Charlotte Checkers – 4 (2/2)
Houston Aeros – 4 (2/2)
Oklahoma City Barons – 4 (2/2)
San Antonio Rampage – 4 (2/2)
Texas Stars – 4 (2/2)
Abbotsford Heat – 4 (2/2)
Hamilton Bulldogs – 2 (2/2)
Lake Erie Monsters – 4 (2/2)
Rochester Americans – 0
Toronto Marlies – 2 (2/2)
–Complete schedule of IceHogs v. Chicago Wolves
Sat Oct 13 @ Allstate Arena – 7:00pm
Sun Oct 14 @ Allstate Arena – 3:00pm
Fri Nov 2 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm
Wed Nov 28 @ Allstate Arena – 7:00pm
Sat Dec 8 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm
Thu Dec 27 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm
Fri Jan 25 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm
Sun Feb 24 @ Allstate Arena – 3:00pm
Sun Mar 10 @ Allstate Arena – 4:00pm
Fri Mar 15 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm
Sun Mar 17 @ Allstate Arena – 3:00pm
Fri Apr 12 @ Rockford, BMO Harris Bank Center – 7:05pm