Chicago, IL (KWSN)– The United States Hockey League today announced the game schedule for the 2014-15 USHL regular season. An all-time high of 17 USHL Member Clubs will each play a 60-game schedule that begins on Friday, September 26th, 2014 and concludes on Saturday, April 11th, 2015.
For the 2014-15 USHL season, the 17 teams are split into two conferences – Eastern and Western. The League’s newest clubs – Madison Capitols and Bloomington Thunder – make their debut this fall and both will compete in the Eastern Conference.
2014-15 USHL Conference Alignment
Des Moines Buccaneers
Sioux City Musketeers
Sioux Falls Stampede
Waterloo Black Hawks
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Dubuque Fighting Saints
Green Bay Gamblers
The schedule features matchups that promote geographic rivalries and inter-conference competition while also effectively managing team travel demands. Over 94% of the 510 regular games will be played on weekend or holiday dates, continuing the USHL’s commitment to the educational pursuits of its student-athletes and minimizing missed classroom time. The scheduling effort helps players balance on and off-ice demands, in addition to providing fan-friendly opportunities to watch USHL games.
“The scheduling process presents numerous challenges each season, but thanks to the significant efforts and collaboration by USHL team senior management and League office personnel, we believe the 2014-15 schedule meets the business goals of the Member Clubs while also keeping focus on what best serves the players and fans,” said Joe Macdonell, USHL Vice President of Business Operations.
A total of 11 games are scheduled for the opening weekend of the 2014-15 season as all 17 Member Clubs hit the ice. The Lincoln Stars host the Tri-City Storm on Friday, September 26th, the first game for Stars’ new head coach Chris Hartsburg. On the same night, the Omaha Lancers host the rival Sioux City Musketeers in a rematch of a 2014 first-round playoff series. The Waterloo Black Hawks host the Fargo Force, while the lone matchup in the Eastern Conference on opening night has Team USA’s Under-17 squad hosting the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
On Saturday night of opening weekend, three head coaches will make their USHL debuts. Dennis Williams and the expansion Bloomington Thunder welcome the Sioux Falls Stampede to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in downtown Bloomington; Pat Mikesch, who served the last three seasons as an assistant coach, begins his tenure as head coach for the Green Bay Gamblers when they play host to the Chicago Steel; and Dave Allisonwill lead the Des Moines Buccaneers as they welcome the Fargo Force to town. That Saturday also marks the first regular season game for the Madison Capitols as head coach Luke Strand takes the team on the road to play the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Additional highlighted dates include Saturday, October 11th as the Sioux Falls Stampede play their first home game in the brand new Denny Sanford Premier Center, the largest building in the USHL, as they host the Waterloo Black Hawks in the arena’s first hockey action. The expansion Madison Capitols play their first home game of the season on Saturday, October 18th as they host the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin, a historic venue rich in hockey tradition that has hosted numerous college hockey games in addition to previously hosting a USHL Member Club from 1984-95.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the top four teams in each conference based on points in the standings will qualify for the Clark Cup Playoffs. All three rounds in the postseason will again follow a best-of-five games format.
2014-15 USHL Home Openers
Bloomington Thunder – Saturday, September 27th vs. Sioux Falls
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders – Saturday, September 27th vs. Dubuque
Chicago Steel – Friday, October 3rd vs. Bloomington
Des Moines Buccaneers – Saturday, September 27th vs. Fargo
Dubuque Fighting Saints – Saturday, October 4th vs. Omaha
Fargo Force – Friday, October 3rd vs. Madison
Green Bay Gamblers – Saturday, September 27th vs. Chicago
Lincoln Stars – Friday, September 26th vs. Tri-City
Madison Capitols – Saturday, October 18th vs. Cedar Rapids
Muskegon Lumberjacks – Saturday, September 27th vs. Madison
Omaha Lancers – Friday, September 26th vs. Sioux City
Sioux City Musketeers – Saturday, October 4th vs. Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls Stampede – Saturday, October 11th vs. Waterloo
Team USA – Friday, September 26th vs. Muskegon
Tri-City Storm – Friday, October 3rd vs. Sioux Falls
Waterloo Black Hawks – Friday, September 26th vs. Fargo
Youngstown Phantoms – Saturday, October 11th vs. Bloomington\
Courtesy: United States Hockey League