Looking at the 2016-17 schedule

With an extended playoff run, it feels like the season just ended. And yet, here we are with an Import Draft player picked, TBirds already off to NHL development camps and next seasons schedule already released. It’s starting to feel like there really is no off-season anymore.

Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the upcoming schedule.

Before we get too far in depth, let’s see what the preseason and regular season schedules are:

Everett Silvertips Holiday Inn Express Preseason Classic
9/2 vs Everett 730pm
9/3 vs Tri-City 3pm
9/4 vs Spokane 1130am

This will be the first time that the TBirds and Silvertips have met in the Preseason Classic since 2011.

Tri-City Americans Red Lion Hotels Preseason Tournament
9/9 vs Kootenay 3pm
9/10 vs Tri-City 705pm

9/16 vs Everett ShoWare Center
9/17 @ Everett Xfinity Arena

Here is the regular season schedule:

2016-17 regular season schedule (click to enlarge)

2016-17 regular season schedule (click to enlarge)

Some notes about this schedule:

Back to the 8 Tuesday night games. The Tuesday opponents in order are: Spokane, Edmonton, Spokane, Spokane, Everett, Kamloops, Red Deer, Spokane. Spokane seems to have become the de facto Tuesday night opponent as 13 of their 33 games at ShoWare Center have been on a Tuesday night. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they were an Eastern Conference team.

The bigger eye-opener on Tuesday, though, is that game on 1/17 vs Everett. It seems the league (or at least Seattle) made an effort to cut down on the 3-in-3 weekends during the season as the TBirds only have 3. This Tuesday game against a division rival would seem to be a byproduct of that as there aren’t a lot of logical reasons to schedule it. Seattle certainly doesn’t need a division rival to drive Tuesday night sales and having it mid-week hurts overall sales as you won’t get Everett fans coming down like you would on a Friday or Saturday. (These same arguments would hold true for the Wednesday game in Everett on 11/23 but that is mitigated by the fact that the next day is a holiday.) If a computer is still writing the schedule for the league, it came up with a weird one for this game.

A tough stretch in February sees the Thunderbirds play 4 in 5 nights, including what seems to be the annual Family Day game in Kelowna at 2pm on 2/13 and then a Valentine’s Day 2-for-Tuesday the next night vs Red Deer.

No 605pm Saturday starts on the schedule which could mean a couple things. Either they haven’t scheduled Hockey Challenge day yet or it’s moving days. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it moved to a Sunday but I am not basing that on any inside information. (Last year’s schedule release did not have a 605pm start time on it either and was subsequently changed so we could still see that happen here.) Schedule has been updated and now the game on 2/18 vs Portland is listed as a 605 start. Thanks to Debbie for pointing that out in the comments!

Rematches with Kelowna occur at ShoWare Center on 10/22 and 2/25. Brandon does not come to ShoWare this season but they will see each other on the TBirds road trip on 11/4.

You have to go all the way back to February 2004 to find a regular season Saturday road game in Vancouver. This year, the Thunderbirds play a Saturday game in Vancouver on 11/12. With the Giants being in their new home in Langley, the Thunderbirds being the defending Western Conference Champions and local product Mathew Barzal possibly playing his last season in the WHL, I can see why Vancouver may have wanted a Saturday home game. All those reasons, along with a more mobile Seattle fan base, should make for a full Langley Events Centre.

For the first time in 5 seasons, the Chiefs and TBirds will not have a 3 game in 7 day stretch. They do play 6 times in 36 days, however, starting in December.

This will be the third straight season that Seattle will play in Portland on a Sunday after not having done it before this streak since 2006-07. This seasons game falls on the Sunday before President’s Day so it should have a larger than normal Seattle contingent for a road Sunday game.

Everett does not come to the ShoWare in the regular season until 2017. Seattle will have played Spokane and Portland at home 3 times each before the Silvertips come to town. Once the Silvertips do come to town on Jan 6, the schedule the next 2 weeks becomes ridiculous: vs EVE, @ SPO, @ EVE, vs SPO, vs EVE, @ SPO, @ EVE. It feels like the old round robin playoff series all over again.

For the first time since the 2010-11 season, the Thunderbirds close out their regular season schedule with 2 home games.

Here are the US Division opponents by day:

Home: Fri, Tue, Sat, Sun, Fri
Away: Sat, Wed, Sat, Fri, Sat

Home: Sat, Fri, Fri, Sat, Sat, Sat
Away: Sat, Sat, Sat, Sat, Sun, Sat

Home: Tue, Tue, Tue, Sun, Tue
Away: Tue, Wed, Sun, Wed, Wed

Home: Sat, Sun, Fri, Fri
Away: Fri, Fri, Fri, Fri

Some other stats and how they compare to the last 3 seasons:

Longest homestand
2016-17 4 games 10/1-14 (PDX, VIC, SPO, PG), 12/13-27 (SPO, PG, TC, SPO), and 1/28-2/3 (EVE, TC, KAM, KAM)
2015-16 4 games 12/11-18 (SPO, EVE, PG, TC) and 2/9-19 (KEL, PDX, VIC, SPO)
2014-15 6 games 2/15-28 (VIC, LETH, EVE, CAL, PG, PDX)
2013-14 4 games 2/22-3/2 (KAM, PA, PDX, EVE) and 3/8-14 (EVE, VAN, SPO, PDX)

Most consecutive road games
2016-17 6 games 10/28-11/5 (SC, REG, SAS, PA, BWK, MJ)
2015-16 8 games 10/31-11/14 (KOO, CGY, RD, EDM, LET, MH, VIC, VIC)
2014-15 6 games 11/7-16 (PA, SAS, MJ, BWK, REG, SC)
2013-14 6 games 9/28-10/11 (PDX, TC, MH, LETH, KOO, KEL)

Longest road trip by miles
2016-17 10/28-11/5 2960 miles (SC, REG, SAS, PA, BWK, MJ)
2015-16 10/31-11/14 2368 miles (KOO, CGY, RD, EDM, LET, MH, VIC, VIC)
2014-15 11/7-16 2957 miles (PA, SAS, MJ, BWK, REG, SC)
2013-14 1/3-8 2300 miles (RD, EDM, CAL, PG)

3 games in 3 nights
2016-17 3 times (AHHx2 AHAx1)
2015-16 3 times (AAHx1 AHAx2)
2014-15 5 times (AAAx1 AHHx1 HHAx1 AHAx1 AAHx1)
2013-14 7 times (AAAx2 AHHx2 HHAx1 HAHx1 HAAx1)
Looks like the increase in mid-week games helped cut down the number of 3 in 3 nights. This should help lessen fatigue as the season goes on with more days off between games.

Breakdown by day
Sunday (7) 3A 4H
Monday (1) 1A
Tuesday (11) 3A 8H
Wednesday (9) 9A
Friday (22) 9A 13H
Saturday (22) 11A 11H (Fewest Saturday home games since 2003-04 season when they also had 11)

Sunday (9) 7A 2H
Monday (1) 1A
Tuesday (11) 2A 9H
Wednesday (6) 4A 2H
Thursday (1) 1A
Friday (20) 12A 8H
Saturday (24) 9A 15H

Sunday (7) 5A 2H
Monday (2) 2A
Tuesday (9) 1A 8H
Wednesday (5) 5A
Thursday (1) 1H (First home Thursday game since Dec 30, 1999)
Friday (24) 15A 9H
Saturday (24) 8A 16H

Sunday (8) 4A 4H
Monday (1) 1A
Tuesday (13) 5A 8H
Wednesday (4) 4A
Friday (22) 12A 10H
Saturday (24) 10A 14H