Offseasons are a bit tougher if you’re an AHL fan. You look around and see the NHL schedule out – and even the ECHL and Central League schedules – and you’re stuck waiting. Why? Four teams in the Western Conference share buildings with NBA teams and have to wait for that schedule before proceeding with the AHL one. Oklahoma City is unique in that it shares a city with an NBA team, but not a building. But finally the waiting is over, and with bated breath, AHL fans received their Christmas gift in the form of a calendar (we’re really easy to please).
As we’ve already known, the Barons begin their season on October 4th, and we find their opponent to be revealed as the Charlotte Checkers. This marks the first home opener that isn’t against a Texas-based team. The Checkers are once again in the Barons’ division, and that weekend will be the first and second of 12 games between the two teams. The following weekend, the Barons will take on the Iowa Wild for the first time in both franchises history as Iowa takes part in their first season since moving from Houston. In typical AHL-schedule fashion, the Barons won’t play Iowa again until the final weekend of the season, and Iowa’s only visit to the Cox Convention Center for a two-game set.
The other newcomer to the league is the Utica Comets, after the franchise moved there from Peoria. The Barons will only see the Comets in OKC once this season, on January 8th. OKC’s only trip to Utica will take place March 5th, while the Barons make one-off stops in Hamilton and Rochester as well.
Texas teams make plenty of appearances in OKC again this season, with both San Antonio and Texas playing 12 games apiece against the Barons. The Stars make their first appearance on October 15th, while the Rampage make their first trip on November 12th. Abbotsford makes a return to the Barons’ division this year, with October 18th and 19th marking the first two-game set in Oklahoma City. The Heat will play a total of eight games against the Barons this season.
The Western Conference Finals rematch between OKC and the Grand Rapids Griffins commences on February 21st in the state of Michigan. No one-off trips for the Barons to GR this season, with only the two-game set on the 21st, as well as the 22nd. Grand Rapids returns to OKC on March 14th and 15th.
It’s become the norm that there will be some type of conflict with the Oklahoma City Thunder schedule, and this year is no different, with eight games taking place on the same night as a Thunder regular season game. That number becomes nine, if you factor in a preseason Thunder game. Luckily, two of those games are not at the same time, as the now-annual New Year’s Eve game begins at 6pm(Thunder at 7pm), plus January 19th and March 3rd Sunday games will begin at 4pm, while the Thunder starts at 6pm.
A welcome sight are less three-games-in-three-night sets this season. The first of five takes place in December from the 6th-8th, and is followed up by the second one from the 12th-14th. Those six games make up the longest road trip for the Barons by the number of games, with those taking place in only nine days. The longest by time is 11 days with only five games in that span.
All of this will of course be preceded by training camp, which seems to be taking place September 22-29, and the NHL Showcase preseason game between the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers on September 27th. The Barons will skate in a preseason game of their own that night in Cedar Park, Texas, and play again on the 28th.