After much anticipation, the American Hockey League dropped their schedule for the 2020-21 season. Play for the entire league starts February 5th, 2021 and ends May 16th, 2021.
Let’s dive into the Central Division and see what the schedule brings.
The Chicago Wolves, Iowa Wild, Rockford IceHogs, and Grand Rapids Griffins will play a straight Central Division schedule. Two teams, the Texas Stars and Cleveland Monsters, will play a few games out of their division.
The Texas Stars will play a schedule consisting of three opponents in the Pacific and two opponents in the Central, and the Monsters will play six games against their North Division rival, the Rochester Americans.
In a normal season, many AHL teams would play multiple back-to-backs with a smattering of series featuring three games in three days. This season, the back-to-backs stayed but the three-in-threes melted away.
The Stars lead the pack with 14 back-to-backs. However, none of them consist of a home and away series. Four teams have home and away back-to-back series. The Monsters and Griffins play each other for their home and away while the Wolves and IceHogs play one another for both of their home and away back-to-backs.
Home games will look a little different for some fans as they will only be able to watch the games from the comfort of their couch. As of right now, only three teams are allowing fans in the arena. Both the Wild and Stars are allowing fans but have not publicly said how many will be allowed entrance to the game.
According to the Stars’ website, “Seats will be setup in ‘pods’ and some areas will not be available for seating including the first four rows, areas around the benches, penalty boxes, zamboni tunnel, and home player tunnel.” The Wild also said seating will be done in pods.
The State of Ohio recently approved an attendance variance of 10% for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Which means, the Monsters will allow a little under 2,000 people into games this season.
Currently, the IceHogs, Wolves, and Griffins will not be hosting fans. As the season goes on, things could change.
Also, the Wolves home base has changed for the season. They will be playing out of their practice facility at Triphahn Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates.
Coming in at 19 days long, the Griffins lead the Central Division in longest homestand. From April 10th to April 28th, the Griffins will play five games against three different teams. The Wolves and Stars have double digit homestands as well.
The longest homestand for the Wild, IceHogs, and Monsters is over the course of nine days. All of them play four games against two teams in that span of time.
The Wild have the longest road trip of the season featuring seven games against three teams in the span of 16 days. This road trip comes at the beginning of the season starting February 20th and ending March 7th.
Most of the teams in the Central Division have at least one road trip which spans double digit days. However, the longest road trip for the Monsters and IceHogs is over a shorter period of time. The IceHogs have an eight day road trip where they play four games against three teams. While the longest road trip for the Monsters is spread over six days. Both road trips take place at the tail end of the season.
Various and Sundry Items
The Monsters and Cleveland Cavaliers both play out of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland. In the past, fans could spend an entire Saturday or Sunday at the FieldHouse watching sports. As of right now, there will be no double headers this season. Also, the Cavs and Monsters do not play on the same weekend. I’m sure the game day operations staff are breathing a bit easier knowing they don’t have an insane time crunch to put the court down when the Monsters push a 1pm game to overtime and the Cavs play at 7 or 8pm.
Per AHL guidelines, mascots are prohibited from being at all games and fans may not sit within 12 feet of the glass. So, if you were excited about hugging your favorite mascot and banging on the glass, I’m sorry. This season isn’t the season.
The Wild, Griffins, and Wolves are offering fans a chance to buy a cardboard cutout of themselves to place in the stands at the game.
Links to each schedule is below: