|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
The American Hockey League and its member teams announced the full season schedule for 2021-22 this afternoon. It's a hybrid schedule that sees teams playing 76. 72 or 68 games based on their preference as the league seeks to harmonize the games played at 72 next season. Texas was one of the teams opting for a 72 game schedule one year earlier than required.
Many of the familiar teams dot the grid: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Iowa, Manitoba, Milwaukee and Rockford. Colorado, San Jose and Tucson are among the Pacific teams in the mix. Oddballs this season (though not unwelcome additions) include Charlotte and Laval. This season's four games against Laval mark the first clash between the two clubs. Texas previously faced the Montreal farm team in a previous iteration as the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The schedule has a lot of similarities with the COVID season's schedule: back-to-backs or three-straight in the same city, lengthy home stands and similarly interminable road trips. For example, while Texas has home ice for eleven games across December 9 to January 8, they will also leave the state for six and seven game road trips in January and February.
Also present in the schedule is the old standby of long breaks in October through December countered with a packed February through April. For comparison, Texas plays ten games in November's 30 days but 12 in February's 28.