STOCKTON, Calif. – The AHL announced the full 2021 schedule in a press release on Friday. This included the whole 40 game schedule for the Stockton Heat starting on Friday, February 5th. They will plan an even 20 home games and 20 away games this season. The dates, times, and opponents for the heat are listed below. Game times are in Mountain Standard Time.
Fri 2/5/21 7:05 PM @ Colorado
Sat 2/6/21 7:05 PM @ Colorado
Sun 2/14/21 2:00 PM Bakersfield
Wed 2/17/21 6:00 PM Henderson
Fri 2/19/21 6:00 PM Henderson
Sat 2/20/21 5:00 PM Henderson
Wed 2/24/21 6:00 PM San Jose
Fri 2/26/21 6:00 PM Bakersfield
Sat 2/27/21 8:00 PM @ Bakersfield
Wed 3/3/21 6:00 PM @ Ontario
Fri 3/5/21 5:00 PM @ Bakersfield
Wed 3/10/21 6:00 PM @ San Jose
Fri 3/12/21 6:00 PM Tucson
Sat 3/13/21 5:00 PM Tucson
Thu 3/18/21 7:00 PM @ Henderson
Sat 3/20/21 1:00 PM @ Henderson
Sun 3/21/21 12:00 PM @ Henderson
Wed 3/24/21 6:00 PM @ Bakersfield
Fri 3/26/21 7:00 PM @ San Jose
Sat 3/27/21 5:00 PM San Jose
Tue 3/30/21 6:00 PM @ San Jose
Fri 4/2/21 6:00 PM Ontario
Sat 4/3/21 5:00 PM Ontario
Wed 4/7/21 6:00 PM San Jose
Fri 4/9/21 7:00 PM @ Tucson
Sat 4/10/21 7:00 PM @ Tucson
Tue 4/13/21 6:00 PM Bakersfield
Fri 4/16/21 6:00 PM Colorado
Sat 4/17/21 5:00 PM Colorado
Tue 4/20/21 6:00 PM San Jose
Sat 4/24/21 2:00 PM San Diego
Sun 4/25/21 2:00 PM San Diego
Tue 4/27/21 6:00 PM @ San Jose
Fri 4/30/21 6:00 PM Bakersfield
Sat 5/1/21 6:00 PM @ Bakersfield
Wed 5/5/21 6:00 PM @ Ontario
Fri 5/7/21 7:00 PM @ San Diego
Sat 5/8/21 7:00 PM @ San Diego
Fri 5/14/21 6:00 PM @ San Jose
Sat 5/15/21 5:00 PM San Jose
Now the schedule is confirmed, but surprisingly the location is to be determined. Because their NHL team, the Calgary Flames, will be spending the season exclusively north of the border in the All-Canadian division, call-ups are a lot more difficult with an AHL team in California. Canada still requires a 14-day quarantine for any travelers that come outside of the country. A quick call up to cover a short term injury or family emergency will not work in this situation.
TSN insider Darren Dreger shared some interesting information via Twitter after the announcement of the schedule was made.
Strong chance the Stockton Heat play in Calgary this AHL season. Needs provincial approval, but health officials in California aren’t able to sign off on the Heat playing in their county. If Alberta clears, the Heat are likely sharing Calgary with the Flames.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 22, 2021
Alberta is not in the best shape when it comes to Covid-19 infection numbers in Canada, but current restrictions have proven to help in the last month and a half. After all, the success of the NHL 2020 Playoff Bubble mostly took place in Edmonton, Alberta. Both Alberta NHL teams, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, have not had any run-ins with Covid related delays so far this season. If the Heat were to play in Calgary, they would likely switch up their schedule and play among the other four AHL Canadian Division teams.
The interesting part about this take is the report of the actual California county of San Joaquin restricting the team’s play. The organization opted to play this year, so the regional restrictions were not an expected hiccup for the season. Team sports are currently suspended in Alberta, but the Oilers and Flames were granted permission to play through Alberta Health Services. They also made exceptions to the quarantine given that the teams stay diligent with Covid testing and protocols. This could mean a lot or mean nothing, depending on how the regions move forward. San Joaquin County could make an exception for the Heat as well, and this rumor could amount to just hearsay.
The Flames’ taxi squad currently consists of Derek Ryan, Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo, Connor Mackey, Buddy Robinson, and Louis Domingue. Having the extra players considers the possibility of an isolated Covid outbreak among a team or an immediate need for a player to cover an injury, but having your AHL team local and in the same country cuts out a lot of waiting time in quarantine.
There has not been any confirmation from the AHL or Heat organization of the possibility of playing in another city this season to better accommodate their NHL club as of yet. However, with the season starting so soon, the information should be released in the coming days. Like this year, it is hard to predict the future, so for now, the Heat can be expected to open their season in Loveland, Colorado on February 5th at 7:05 pm (MST).