SPRINGFIELD, Conn. – The 2022 Eastern Conference Champion Springfield Thunderbirds will begin the 2022-23 season at home on October 15 when they play host to the Bridgeport Islanders, as the team unveiled its schedule in conjunction with the American Hockey League on Thursday. Springfield’s 72 game slate sees them renew rivalries with the Providence Bruins (12 games), Hartford Wolf Pack (12 games), and Bridgeport (12 games) as well as travel out to see their other Atlantic Division foes for a total of 54 divisional games. The T-Birds will be playing every Eastern Conference foe at least twice except for the Toronto Marlies and the Cleveland Monsters, including a pair of games against the Laval Rocket in a rematch of the 2022 Eastern Conference Final and four games against the Belleville Senators. Springfield’s schedule includes a pair of preseason tilts with the Bruins until the games start to count on the 15th.
Springfield opens the season with four games at home and four games on the road, with two games on home ice followed by their first rematch on Laval ice since Game 5 of this spring’s playoff series between the two clubs as an early highlight of the league’s calendar. Games against Springfield’s regional foes highlight the early portion of the schedule, with rivalries against Providence, Hartford, and Bridgeport highlighting eight of 11 games to open the campaign, while teams from the southern portion of the division in Wilkes-Barre, Lehigh Valley, and Hershey all make appearances on the schedule by Thanksgiving during Springfield’s season best five game homestand. One highlight of the schedule includes Springfield’s first regular season games under their Thunderbirds name against a trio of Central Division opponents, with one game home and away against the Rockford IceHogs, Grand Rapids Griffins, and the Milwaukee Admirals. Those teams start to make appearances on the schedule as early as December.
One of Springfield’s busiest months is December, where the team plays a total of 13 games, including a December 23 clash with the Phantoms at home as well as visiting the Wolf Pack for a New Year’s Eve showdown. Springfield will open 2023 with a pair of home games with the Islanders and the Utica Devils before knocking out some travel games, taking on the Hershey Bears for a pair of games at Giant Center in addition to visiting their three Central Division foes for a total of five road games in six contests over two weeks. The stretch after the All-Star Break in early February to the end of the season sees a lot of divisional play, with only three non-division games until the end of the season where playoff implications are at their highest as six Atlantic teams will qualify for the postseason. One benefit of the schedule is that the T-Birds will enjoy a lot of home cooking with nine of 11 games at MassMutual Center, but Springfield will play a season-long seven game road swing from mid-March through the beginning of April that includes three straight at Bojangles Coliseum against the Charlotte Checkers and games against their local opponents.
The season will conclude with the last of Springfield’s six sets of three games in as many nights, with the home finale on April 15 and the season finale a day later in Providence. Springfield’s season is fairly balanced, with a near 50/50 split of home and away games over the first and second half of the season. The Thunderbirds play morning games with a school day theme on November 16 and one in Bridgeport on April 4 as the unusually timed games of the season. Springfield is entering its second season as the top affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
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