Looking at the 2022-23 Seattle Thunderbirds schedule

Just about a week ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds released their full 2022-23 schedule. This year brings a return to the full schedule with Central teams coming to Kent and an trip for Seattle through the East Division. However, it also comes with a caveat: dates, opponents, and times subject to change. We’ll take our (almost) annual look at the schedule but we’re going to do it in pencil.

It wouldn’t be the start of a new season if the TBirds didn’t play in the Everett pre-season tournament. This will be the 18th year that Seattle has participated in the tradition in Snohomish County. For the second year in a row, the tournament takes place the weekend after Labor Day instead of the 3 days prior to the holiday. The Everett Pre-season Showcase has the Thunderbirds playing three games in three days at Angel of the Winds Arena:

9/9 @ Portland 2pm
9/10 v Spokane 2pm
9/11 @ Tri-City 12pm

These are the same teams in the same order with the same last change as the 2021 version. Seattle earned 3 points last year, losing to Portland 5-1, losing to Spokane in a shootout 4-3, and defeating Tri-City 4-3.

With no Canadian team to round out the competition, there will just be 2 games a day in Everett.

This is the first 2-year stretch since 2014 and 2015 that Seattle and Everett will not face each other in the Silvertips preseason tournament.

Not to worry though as those two teams will meet in Kennewick in the TBirds only game at the Red Lion Preseason Tournament:

9/17 @ Everett 205pm

Note that because of construction at the Toyota Center, the entire tournament will take place next door at the Toyota Arena. This venue change means there will be only 400 tickets available for the day as your $10 will get you access to both matches on the 17th.

Again, this mirrors the last preseason as this rivalry game was Seattle’s appearance on Kennewick ice at the tournament. They beat the Silvertips 6-4. This year Everett will have last change.

That wraps up the preseason schedule. For the second year in a row, there will be no home preseason game at ShoWare Center. Also for the third preseason in a row, Seattle doesn’t see Spokane. Until the 2019 preseason, they had played 10 years in a row in Everett and a few times in Kennewick

On to the regular season! Since the 2018-19 season, the WHL has gone to a (planned) 68-game schedule and this season is no different. If the quotes are to be taken as accurate, that means 33 home games in Kent and 1 in Seattle. All Saturday games start at 605pm. After a change last season, Fridays are a 705pm start, which is true for all weeknight home games. Sundays have the standard 505pm puck drop.

Seattle opens their 38th season as the Thunderbirds and 46th as the Seattle WHL team on the road against the Vancouver Giants on 9/23. Because of postponements and schedule modifcations over the last couple of seasons, this will be just the 3rd regular season game on the road vs Vancouver since 2/17/20. That game was also the last time the TBirds lost in Langley, having won both games last season.

This is the second straight season that Seattle has opened on the road. They were on a 4-season streak of opening at home until last season.

You have to go back to the 2015-16 season for the last time Seattle opened against Vancouver on the road. That was back when the Giants still played in the Pacific Coliseum.

The home schedule gets going on 10/1 with what is sure to be a celebratory and loud crowd as the TBirds raise their 4th Western Conference Champions banner. This is the back end of a home-and-home as the Giants will be the unwilling audience for the ceremonies. 9/30/06 was the last time Vancouver served as the home game #1 opponent. That was in the KeyArena days and that was the Giants first road game on their way to the WHL championship. This will be the third time since that 2006 season that the TBirds have a Canadian team as their home opener opponent (2015 Prince George, 2019 Kamloops)

The first multi-game road trip is the following weekend as Seattle first heads to Kelowna on 10/7. This is the earliest road game against the Rockets since 10/5/07. The next night they wrap up the away portion of their season series with Vancouver in Langley. Absent a playoff matchup, the TBirds will go at least 46 weeks without playing in the Fraser Valley again.

Canadian matchups continue when Seattle returns home with a game against Medicine Hat on 10/11, the first of 8 Tuesday home games this season, and an early WHL Final rematch against Edmonton on 10/14. This will be the only game between the Oil Kings and Thunderbirds this season unless they meet in the WHL Final for a second consecutive year. It will have been 1462 days, or 4 years and 1 day, since the Oil Kings last played a regular season game in Kent.

On 10/15, the first US Division game takes place in Everett as the TBirds and Silvertips tangle for the first of 10 games overall.

A week later on 10/22, a US Division team comes to Kent for the first time as Spokane enters the Joint on James to begin their 7-game season series.

Finally, to round out the month, the TBirds make the long drive north for two games against Prince George on 10/28-29. These will be the first road games in PG for Seattle since 2/4-5/20 as the scheduled games last season did not occur. This is the earliest the TBirds have made the trip to PG since 2012 when they played on Sepetember 28th and 29th, games #3 and #4 overall of that season. The TBirds are currently on a 4-game winless streak on the road against the Cougars. Their last regular season win in Prince George was 1/17/18.

November starts with the 3rd game in 5 nights against the Cougars. Seattle returns home for another Tuesday game on 11/1.

The 4th and 5th of the month are a home-and-home with Portland as they play the first 2 of 12 overall on the season against each other.

Just short of 4 years to the day, the Calgary Hitmen come to town on 11/12. Their last visit to the ShoWare Center was on 11/23/18, a Black Friday game that Seattle lost 5-2.

Everett is the visitor for the first time on 11/19.

For just the 5th time as the Thunderbirds, they will host a game on both the night before Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. Kelowna gets the holiday weekend started with the only Wednesday home game on the schedule on 11/23. Portland has to pay the sales tax on their shopping as they will be in Kent on 11/25. The last two home games on the night before Thanksgiving in 2017 and 2018 had over 6000 in attendance. Will we see the same this year?

December sees the first visit of Victoria (3rd), 3 straight away (Spokane 6th, Everett 9th, Portland 10th), before wrapping up the unofficial first half with 3 at home (Vancouver 11th, PG 13th, Everett 16th) and the back half of the home-and-home in Everett on the 17th. Those home games against Vancouver and Prince George close out the season series for both teams vs Seattle.

After the holiday break, 2 home-and-homes with Spokane and Kelowna. Returning to tradition last year, this season the TBirds do not travel to Portland for New Years Eve. Instead, Kelowna will be here to tie up 2022. It’s the first time since 2013 that Seattle has not played in the Rose City to end the calendar year. 6149 packed the ShoWare for that Dec 31 home game vs Kamloops. A loud crowd would be a great way to end what is hoped to be a successful 2022.

Interesting quirk, by the way, that the last 6 games of the year are 3 home-and-homes.

2023 starts way out East as the TBirds head to Regina (6th), Moose Jaw (7th), Brandon (10th), Winnipeg (11th), Prince Albert (13th), and Saskatoon (14th). These mark the first games in the East Division since January of 2019.

A bit of history there on the 11th as it will be the first time Seattle plays in Winnipeg. The last road game against the ICE/Ice franchise was 10/27/17 when they played the Kootenay ICE in Cranbrook. The team relocated to Winnipeg for the 2019-20 season.

Seattle comes home on the 20th to face another Eastern Conference foe in Lethbridge.

Swift Current is in Kent to close out January on the 31st. Because of a shift in the scheduling when Kootenay moved to Winnipeg, moving the Broncos from the East Division to the Central Division, this will be the first time SC is in Kent since 1/20/18. That will have been more than 5 years since we have seen them here.

February starts with a home-and-home vs Everett (3rd at home, 4th at AOTW Arena).

Red Deer arrives on the 10th which will be the first time Steve Konowalchuk coaches against the TBirds since leading them to a WHL Championship in 2017. It won’t be his first visit to the area since then, though, as he was spotted in Kent during the 2022 WHL Final. I imagine his loyalty will be less divided on this trip.

Tri-City finally makes their first appearance at ShoWare on Valentine’s Day. This is by far the latest they have had their first road game against Seattle. The previous latest was the 2008-09 season when they arrived for the first time on January 9th. This is the first of 4 home games against the Americans which take place over the next 7 overall home games.

The 18th sees Victoria visit for the last time and is the first of 3 in a row against the Royals. Seattle heads up to the island for the only Monday game on the schedule on the afternoon of the 20th and then wrap up the season series the next night. 2/20 is a holiday in BC so that game will be a 205pm start in the provincial capital.

March seems more Tri-City games (away 3rd, home 5th and 10th) and then the final 6 games of the season are home-and-homes with 2 teams, going Portland, Kamloops, Portland.

The season ends at ShoWare on 3/25 with the 12th and final game vs Portland, the back end of the home-and-home mentioned above.

As mentioned earlier, 8 Tuesday home games this season: 10/11 vs MH, 11/1 vs PG, 12/13 vs PG, 12/27 vs SPO, 1/31 vs SC, 2/14 vs TC, 3/7 vs KAM, and 3/21 vs KAM. If 2-for-Tuesdays are at promotion again this season, you have no excuse not to bring your partner for a Valentine’s Day game when their ticket is free.

Here are the US Division opponents by day:

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

Home: Sat, Fri, Sat, Sat, Fri, Sat
Away: Fri, Wed, Sat, Sat, Sat, Fri

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

Home: Tue, Sun, Fri, Sun
Away: Sun, Fri, Fri

It’s the second year in a row that Seattle plays in Portland on a Wednesday. Recently that was a rare occurence apart from the night before Thanksgiving or New Years Eve.

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

Longest homestand
2022-23 5 games 3/5-17 (TC, KAM, TC, EVE, PDX)
2021-22 4 games 11/24-12/3 (KAM, TC, PG, VIC) and 3/6-15 (TC, PDX, EVE, TC)
2019-20 4 games 11/8-19 (KAM, EVE, PDX, WPG)
2018-19 5 games 2/8-16 (PDX, MH, TC, RD, EVE)
2017-18 4 games 3/4-10 (PDX, TC, SPO, EVE)
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
2022-23 6 games 1/6-14 (REG, MJ, BWK, WPG, PA, SAS)
2021-22* 5 games 10/22-11/6 (TC, PDX, SPO, TC, TC)
2019-20 5 games 10/25-11/2 (RD, EDM, CGY, TC, PDX) and 12/31-1/20 (PDX, LET, MH, SC, TC)
2018-19 8 games 12/31-1/18 (PDX, BWK, SAS, PA, MJ, SC, TC)
2017-18 7 games 10/22-11/4 (EVE, KOO, CGY, LET, RD, EDM, MH)
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)
*no interconference games this season

3 games in 3 nights
2022-23 3 times (AAHx2 HAH)
2021-22 5 times (AHAx3 AHH AAH)
2019-20 5 times (HHAx1 AAAx1 HAHx1 AHHx1 AAHx1)
2018-19 4 times (HAAx1 HAHx1 HHAx1 AAHx1)
2017-18 7 times (AAAx1 HHAx1 AHAx3 HAHx1 AAHx1)
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)

This season, the 3-in-3’s arent too bad as the AAHs are Everett-Portland-Vancouver and TC-Everett-TC while the HAH is a Everett-Everett-Spokane trio. Obviously, Silvertip games aren’t home games but for travel purposes, they almost might as well be.

Looking at the breakdown by day below, you can see where the 3-in-3’s went as there was a decrease in Sunday games and an increase in Wednesdays. The question becomes “Is playing 6 games spread over 10 days better than playing 2 3-in-3s over the same time period?” I guess we will see.

There are 8 “traditional” home-and-homes this season, which seems extraordinary. Traditional to us being games against the same time, home and away, on consecutive nights. This would be different than just home and away in consecutive games.
Portland 11/4 (H) 11/5 (A)
Everett 12/16 (H) 12/17 (A)
Spokane 12/27 (H) 12/28 (A)
Kelowna 12/30 (A) 12/31 (H)
Everett 2/3 (H) 2/4 (A) *as part of the 3-in-3 noted above
Portland 3/17 (H) 3/18 (A)
Kamloops 3/21 (H) 3/22 (A)
Portland 3/24 (A) 3/25 (H)

Breakdown by day
Sunday (4) 1A 3H (First time since 2008-09 season just 1 away Sunday game)
Monday (1) 1A
Tuesday (11) 3A 8H
Wednesday (6) 5A 1H
Friday (22) 13A 9H
Saturday (24) 11A 13H

Sunday (7) 4A 3H
Tuesday (10) 2A 8H
Wednesday (3) 2A 1H
Friday (24) 14A 10H
Saturday (24) 12A 12H

Sunday (7) 3A 4H
Monday (2) 2A
Tuesday (10) 4A 6H
Wednesday (4) 3A 1H
Friday (20) 12A 8H
Saturday (25) 10A 15H (This might be the most Saturdays ever on the schedule. The only Saturdays missing one are 9/28 and 12/21)

Sunday (6) 4A 2H
Monday (1) 1A
Tuesday (9) 3A 6H
Wednesday (6) 5A 1H
Friday (22) 11A 11H
Saturday (24) 10A 14H

Sunday (10) 8A 2H
Tuesday (11) 3A 8H
Wednesday (7) 6A 1H
Thursday (1) 1A
Friday (19) 10A 9H
Saturday (24) 8A 16H

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