The United States Hockey League announced today the game schedule for the 2010-11 USHL regular season. A League high 16 USHL Member Clubs will be split into two conferences for the coming season. Beginning on Friday, October 1st, the League will open its 480-game schedule which represents the most games ever played in a single USHL season.
"As the League fan base, footprint and number of USHL teams continue to expand, creating a schedule becomes more of a challenge each year," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "I congratulate the Member Clubs on their effort and cooperation in building a schedule that will feature new teams, old rivalries, and the best junior hockey in the world – and still insure that 90% of the games are played on weekend dates both to keep the stands full, and to make sure that the USHL players excel in the classroom as well as on the ice."
The Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints and Muskegon (Michigan) Lumberjacks join the growing USHL for the 2010-11 season, marking the third consecutive season the League has welcomed expansion clubs. Dubuque will compete in the Western Conference while Muskegon becomes a member of the Eastern Conference.
2010-11 USHL Conference Alignment
Western Conference Eastern Conference
Des Moines Buccaneers Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Dubuque Fighting Saints Chicago Steel
Fargo Force Green Bay Gamblers
Lincoln Stars Indiana Ice
Omaha Lancers Muskegon Lumberjacks
Sioux City Musketeers Team USA
Sioux Falls Stampede Waterloo Black Hawks
Tri-City Storm Youngstown Phantoms
While splitting the 16 teams into two conferences, the League generated a schedule with more games played among teams in close proximity to each other in order to nurture geographic rivalries and better manage the travel demands for each team.
A total of nine games will take place during the first weekend of the season, including a rematch of the 2010 USHL Clark Cup Finals as the Fargo Force visit the Green Bay Gamblers on Saturday, October 2nd. Muskegon begins their inaugural season the same night at the L.C. Walker Arena as they play host to the Indiana Ice. Dubuque plays their first game of the season on Friday, October 1st with a visit to the Omaha Lancers before welcoming the Lancers to open the brand new Mystique Ice Center in Dubuque on October 22nd.
Saturday, October 2nd features three key "rivalry games" as the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders make the 60-mile trek north to take on the Waterloo Black Hawks, the Sioux City Musketeers open the season by hosting the Sioux Falls Stampede, and the Tri-City Storm have their home opener against the Omaha Lancers.
2010-11 USHL Home Openers
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders – Saturday, October 9th vs. Fargo
Chicago Steel – Friday, October 1st vs. Fargo
Des Moines Buccaneers – Friday, October 1st vs. Youngstown
Dubuque Fighting Saints – Friday, October 22nd vs. Omaha
Fargo Force – Friday, October 15th vs. Chicago
Green Bay Gamblers – Saturday, October 2nd vs. Fargo
Indiana Ice – Saturday, October 9th vs. Sioux Falls
Lincoln Stars – Friday, October 8th vs. Youngstown
Muskegon Lumberjacks – Saturday, October 2nd vs. Indiana
Omaha Lancers – Friday, October 1st vs. Dubuque
Sioux City Musketeers – Saturday, October 2nd vs. Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls Stampede – Friday, October 15th vs. Team USA
Tri-City Storm – Friday, October 1st vs. Lincoln
Team USA – Friday, October 8th vs. Dubuque
Waterloo Black Hawks – Saturday, October 2nd vs. Cedar Rapids
Youngstown Phantoms – Saturday, October 16th vs. Green Bay
At the conclusion of the 480-game regular season schedule, the top six teams in each Conference will qualify for the Clark Cup Playoffs. The first and second place teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences will earn a first-round playoff bye as the remaining four teams in each Conference will vie for the two remaining spots in the second round. The winner of each playoff race in the respective conferences will meet in a best-of-five final series for the Clark Cup.
A full USHL schedule will be posted here - 2010-11 USHL Schedule
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)