WICHITA, Kan. – The full Wichita Thunder schedule for the 2018-19 regular season was released by the ECHL Thursday afternoon.
Head coach Bruce Ramsay and the Thunder will kick off their 28th season of hockey, the organization’s sixth season in the ECHL, on Friday, October 11 when they host the Indy Fuel at INTRUST Bank Arena. The opening weekend festivities will conclude the next night, Saturday, October 12, when they host the Rapid City Rush.
For the second year in a row, the Thunder will host an Education Day game against the Norfolk Admirals on November 6 at 10:30 am, and the Thunder will finish the season with seven of their final eight games on INTRUST Bank Arena ice.
This season’s schedule is extremely Mountain Division-heavy, with 66 of the 72 games next season being played in the division, 44 of those coming against regional rivals Allen, Kansas City, and Tulsa.
Three four-game homestands mark the longest periods of time the Thunder will be on home-ice next season; November 24-30, December 17-22, and March 27-April 3.
Wichita’s longest road trip of the season is seven games and will be from February 29-March 15, when the team will make stops in Allen, Kansas City, Fort Wayne (twice), Toledo and Indy. The Thunder also have a six-game road swing that will run from January 12-25, spanning the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic, and include stops in Tulsa, Rapid City (three times,) and Utah (twice). This is at odds with the last two ECHL All-Star Classic hosts having a home schedule either in the run-up to or just after the event, in an effort to gen up excitement for the event and team.
The Thunder will also play six of the eight teams that made up the Western Conference Kelly Cup Playoff field in 2018-19.
Wichita will play a slightly easier schedule this coming season. Additionally, their opponents have a collective winning percentage of .537, compared to .542 from the year before.
Wichita will play eight 3-in-3’s, with three of them coming during December. All but one of those have some travel involved, except for the December 7-9 three-in-three, when Wichita will host Rapid City at INTRUST Bank Arena. The team will play four 4-in-5 stretches during the season, with the most brutal stretch coming in mid-March when the team plays a 4-in-5 as part of a larger 6-game-in-10-day run.
Here is a breakdown of the opponents on the Thunder schedule:
|13 (6H, 7A)||2 (2A)||5 (3H, 2A)||2 (1H, 1A)||18 (9H, 9A)||1 (1H)||10 (4H, 6A)||13 (8H, 5A)||1 (1A)||7 (4H, 3A)|
Here is a breakdown of the Thunder’s games-by-month:
|6 (3H, 3A)||14 (9H, 5A)||16 (7H, 9A)||11 (4H, 7A)||11 (6H, 5A)||12 (5H, 7A)||2 (2H)|
Here is a look at the game breakdown-by-day:
|2 (1H, 1A)||6 (2H, 4A)||10 (6H, 4A)||0||23 (13H, 10A)||21 (9H, 12A)||10 (6H, 4A)|
The 25th ECHL All-Star Classic will be played in Wichita on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Details about that event are expected to be released next month.