MOLINE, IL — The day that tantalizes ECHL fans with whispers of October has arrived: schedule release day. Fans now pore over the schedule, hotel websites pulled up on computers while calculating the number of vacation days available. Division alignments have yet to be released, but for the Quad City Mallards it doesn’t look like much will change.
The Mallards season will start on October 13th when the Toledo Walleye will come visit the iWireless Center. The next night the Tulsa Oilers will be in town. The regular season will then end on April 7th at the iWireless Center against the Cincinnati Cyclones, who the Mallards will face nine times between November 14th and April 7th.
Mallards fans will see a lot of the Indy Fuel this season, as the I-74 rivals visit the Marsh six times. The Mallards will make the 305-mile trip five times; that is also the shortest distance the Mallards will travel.
The farthest a visitor will have to travel to arrive at the Marsh is 1,533 miles. The Idaho Steelheads, based out of Boise, will face the longest trip for two games on October 27th and 28th. The Adirondack Thunder will come to the Quad Cities for the first time since the Mallards joined the ECHL, facing the Mallards on November 8th for a Wednesday night game.
Fort Wayne and the Mallards will see each other a total of nine times, which is slightly less than the 14 times the two teams played last season. Of course, that became 19 times with the five games in the first round of the playoffs. Whether the rivalry and hostility will carry over remains to be seen, but I expect it will.
Former CHL foes the Kansas City Mavericks and Wichita Thunder will make a combined 11 appearances against the Mallards, Kansas City holding the one game advantage. The Oilers will also face the Mallards six times.
On January 24th the Mallards will play the only game in Canada, visiting the Powerade Centre in Brampton Ontario. Two days later the Mallards will swing south to Worcester, MA for their first meeting in history against the Railers. The 2017-18 season is the Railers’ first in existence, and recently announced their affiliation with the New York Islanders.
Between November 25th and December 16th, the Mallards will be on their longest road trip of the season with nine games. They will face six different opponents during that stretch, beginning in Wichita and working east to Cincinnati. In-between, the Mallards will visit Kansas City, Indy, Kalamazoo, and Fort Wayne. The iWireless Center is a frequent stopping point for the Disney On Ice show in early December, which is part of the reason for such a long road trip.
A little over a month later, the Mallards will have a five-game homestand – the longest of the season. These five games will stretch from January 31 to February 10 and will feature the visiting Cyclones, Wings, Wichita Thunder, Fuel, and Komets. There will be a variety of four came home since throughout the season with most games on weekends.
The Mallards will travel to Kalamazoo for New Year’s Eve after facing the Komets in Moline the previous night. Keep your eyes peeled for a bus trip of fans, as the Mallards Booster Club often organizes such a thing for New Year’s Eve.
The Mallards released their graphical schedule shortly after the 1 PM CDT release time of the ECHL schedule. The graphic can be found here.
The schedule looks like a fun one, and I’m excited to cover these match-ups this season. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on as yet unannounced divisional rivals and the rest of the league by following the rest of The Sin Bin team.