Thursday, June 29, 2006

Griffins' '06-07 schedule format released

The first-ever meetings with the Albany River Rats and the return of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will highlight the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 2006-07 American Hockey League schedule.

The schedule format, announced by the Griffins on Wednesday, features 15 of the AHL’s 26 other teams, matching the team’s most diverse schedule in its six seasons as a league member.

Albany, the top affiliate of the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, will make one visit to Van Andel Arena this coming season. Wilkes-Barre, which finished just two points behind regular season champion Grand Rapids in 2005-06, will face the Griffins for the first time since the 2003 AHL Western Conference Quarterfinals. The teams have not met in the regular season since a home-and-home set in 2001-02.

The Griffins will attempt to repeat as champions of a North Division that has been reduced to six teams, with the redeployment of the Cleveland Barons as the Worcester Sharks. Grand Rapids will play 38 of its 80 regular season contests against division rivals Hamilton, Manitoba, Rochester, Syracuse and Toronto, while staging 36 games versus the West Division and six against the East Division.

Grand Rapids’ frequency of games against each AHL opponent is as follows: 10 games (five home, five road) versus Hamilton; eight games (four home, four road) versus Manitoba, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rochester and Toronto; four games (two home, two road) versus Chicago, Houston, Iowa, Omaha, San Antonio and Syracuse; and two games (one home, one road) versus Albany, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre.

The schedule for the AHL’s 71st season is expected to be announced in late July.


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