The American Hockey League's 2015-16 schedule was released on Thursday, and for the Chicago Wolves, the emphasis is heavy on divisional rivalries.
Of the 76 regular-season games the Wolves will play this year, 68 of those are against the other seven teams in the AHL's new Central Division. The Wolves will have eight meetings each with the Charlotte Checkers, Grand Rapids Griffins, Lake Erie (Cleveland) Monsters and Manitoba (Winnipeg) Moose, while facing the Iowa (Des Moines) Wild, Milwaukee Admirals and Rockford IceHogs 12 times each.
The other eight games on the Wolves' schedule include four meetings each -- two home and two on the road -- with the Pacific Division's representatives in the Lone Star State, the San Antonio Rampage and the Texas (Austin) Stars.
The Wolves will not face off against any of the AHL's Eastern Conference clubs this season, as the league seems to have done away entirely with interconference play, presumably as a cost-control move.
Oddly, the Central Division's two largest markets -- and, arguably, the markets with the most hockey tradition -- are the only two Western Conference clubs that will not take on any of the AHL's new Califonia teams this season, The Wolves and the Lake Erie Monsters have both been shut out of games this year against the new franchises out in the Golden State.
There are limited opportunities for other Central Division fans to see their teams in action against the new California clubs this year, however. The Bakersfield Condors will have games against both Grand Rapids and Manitoba; the Ontario Reign will face off against Charlotte and Manitoba; the "new" San Diego Gulls will meet Grand Rapids and Milwaukee; the San Jose Barracuda will face Rockford, Charlotte and Iowa; and the Stockton Heat will face Rockford and Manitoba.
Look to this space in the coming weeks for more discussion and analysis of the Wolves' schedule this year, as well as a preview of what the Wolves' roster should look like (including the Wolves' signees who have been invited to the Blues' training camp). As in years past, the Internet's best coverage of the Wolves and other Blues' prospects will be right here, courtesy of your "Game Time" Prospect Department.