As the mercury rises and the days grow longer, there’s the hint that OHL hockey is on the horizon. The Windsor Spitfires’ 2019-20 schedule was released.
With ownership confusion behind them, the Spitfires have a chance to look ahead. It’s also a chance for fans to plan road trips, players to prepare trips back home, and the Spitfires to celebrate key dates with their fans.
Here’s a breakdown of the schedule, focusing on the key dates and how the schedule differs from seasons past.
Circle Your Spitfires’ Calendar
Every season, the Spitfires are involved in special events that range from honouring past players to having big names come to town. This season is no different as the Spitfires have several nights that fans should mark on the calendar.
You can check out the entire schedule on the Spitfires’ website, but here are some of those important games:
Home Opener – Sat., Sept. 21 – 7:05 p.m. – Peterborough Petes
New Year’s Eve – Tues., Dec. 31 – 2:05 p.m. – v. Flint Firebirds
Northern Road Swing –
Fri., Jan. 3 – at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – 7:07 p.m.
Sat., Jan 4 – at Sudbury Wolves – 7:05 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 5 – at North Bay Battalion – 2:00 p.m.
Eastern Road Swing –
Thurs., Feb. 13 – at Peterborough Petes – 7:05 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 14 – at Kingston Frontenacs – 7:05 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 15 – at Ottawa 67’s – 2:00 p.m.
Sleep Will Be Essential – From Feb. 13 – 23, the Spitfires play seven games, including five on the road.
Mickey Renaud Game – Tues., Feb. 18 – 7:05 p.m. – v. Sarnia Sting. The Spitfires will honour their “Captain Forever” in the annual game.
Longest Homestand – Four Games – Feb. 27 – March 5 – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Guelph Storm, Kingston Frontenacs, and Owen Sound Attack.
First visit from the OHL-Champion Guelph Storm – Sat., Feb. 29 – 7:05 p.m.
Shane Wright Makes WFCU Appearance – Sun., March 1 – v. Kingston Frontenacs – 2:05 p.m. Wright was the first-overall pick in the 2019 OHL Draft after being granted Exceptional Status by the OHL.
Breaking Down the Numbers
For over two decades, Thursday nights have always been Hockey Night in Windsor. That continues next season, though the team has put a stronger emphasis on weekend games.
Of 34 home games, the team will play 17 on Thursday nights at 7:05 p.m. They will also play eight Saturday night games, seven Sunday afternoon games, and two Tuesday games.
That breaks down to:
Thursday night – 50 percent
Saturday night – 24 percent
Sunday afternoon – 21 percent
Tuesday night – 5 percent
There are three more games on Saturdays compared to last season, which gives families a better chance to watch the club grow.
Spitfires’ general manager Warren Rychel has built a young, hungry club that’s eager to finally make some playoff noise. Last season, the Spitfires were swept in the first round by the London Knights. This season, should be a completely different story.
With a group that includes 2018 first-rounders Will Cuylle and Jean-Luc Foudy, plus 6-foot-9 Dallas Stars prospect Curtis Douglas, and young NHL prospect Kari Piiroinen in net, the team has promise.
The early portion of the schedule favours the Spitfires. They have just 13 road games before Christmas, compared to 21 after the break. Compare that to 17 home games before and after the break.
Fortunately, the team plays six of eight games at the WFCU Centre between Oct. 12 and Nov. 10; a good chance for fans to see what the club is made of early on.
The exhibition schedule will be released at a later date, but expect it to start during the first weekend of September. Tickets for all home games will go on sale sometime in August.
I’m a resident of Windsor, ON and a graduate of St Clair College Journalism and New Media program as well as the University of Windsor Communication, Media, and Film program. I’ve been a junior hockey fan (specifically the Windsor Spitfires) for 30-years and have written about/photographed junior hockey since about 2005.