TULSA, Okla. — The weather in Tulsa is warm, and the leaves on the trees are green. Not much is coming out of the Tulsa Oilers office these days with one exception: the 2017-18 ECHL schedule is out, and as in past years, two new clubs will darken the door of the BOK Center.
One team is new in the sense that they’ve never played the team before at home or in their arena, and the other is a team the Oilers have visited, but never hosted on home ice. The Worcester Railers and Kalamazoo Wings will make their first visits to Green Country this season on the home side of the schedule, with both teams making the trip to Tulsa after the Christmas holidays.
The first puck of the 2017-18 season drops in Tulsa on October 13th against Idaho, kicking off an eight-game homestand that doesn’t see the Oilers board the team bus until November 7th.
The home schedule itself is division rival heavy, as expected. In all, the Oilers will host familiar border rivals Allen eight times, Wichita seven and Kansas City five. Tulsa will face division foes Idaho, Rapid City, and Utah four times each. On the road, the Oilers will visit Toledo, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne and Indy without those teams making reciprocal appearances in Tulsa.
After the season-opening homestand, the Oilers go on the road through the middle of November before returning for a five-game home swing that takes them through the Thanksgiving holiday. The Oilers will spend most of December on the road before a three-game home burst on Christmas week.
Altogether, 28 of Tulsa’s 36 home games will be on weekends from October through April, including seven Fridays, 12 Saturdays and nine Sundays.
The part of the season that s the most troubling for Oilers fans is a 27-day span between home games in March, where home ice advantage is helpful down the stretch in the playoff race. It looks like Rob Murray‘s squad will have to prove themselves worthy on the road if the Oilers are to return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015.