Tri-City Americans

Americans GM pleased with more balanced scheduling

When you can land 24 weekend home dates in the Western Hockey League, scheduling is considered a success.

Tri-City Americans general manager Bob Tory was pleased with the outcome of the Western Conference scheduling that took place Wednesday in Kelowna, British Columbia.

"We are pleased with how things turned out," said Tory, who noted that the schedule is still subject to change until the league gives its final stamp of approval Aug. 10. "Things are a lot more balanced this year. We tried to stay away from weekends in October the best we could because of high school football, and we get out on the road a bit more in December, which helps even out the month."

The Americans open their season Sept. 19 at home against the Kelowna Rockets, then have a week off before playing host to Portland on Sept. 25. Tri-City will play at Spokane Sept. 26 for the Chiefs home opener.

The Americans have seven home games in November, including three games the week of Thanksgiving against Portland, Spokane and Everett.

"November has always been a good month for us," Tory said. "We are happy to be able to have the three games over the Thanksgiving week. It's kind of becoming a tradition."

The schedule also allows the team a reprieve of sorts when it comes to travel. Instead of getting on a bus for a 15-hour drive to Prince George, the Americans will stop in Chilliwack for a game on the way up, and a game in Kamloops on the way home. They also split their Central Division swing into two segments.

Tri-City will play Spokane 12 times, including the annual New Year's Eve game. The Americans play Portland and Seattle 10 times and Everett eight times. They will play all five teams in the B.C. Division - Chilliwack, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George and Vancouver - four times each.

On the coaching front, Tory said no decision will be made this weekend. He said the earliest the team would make an announcement is Aug. 10.