The CWHL released its 2015-16 schedule Tuesday (whether before or after the incredibly scream-worthy news about Hayley Wickenheiser's intent to join the Inferno is unclear), and things are looking a bit more manageable for Calgary in the long run.
The Inferno start their season against Boston Oct. 24 and 25 at Winsport. They play the same number of games (24), but in 12 instead of nine weekends. The weekends are broken up pretty evenly over the course of the season, with two weekend series to be played in October, December and February and three in November and January. The season will also end two weeks earlier, against Brampton Feb. 20 and 21.
And the biggest relief for players? No three-game weekends!
As the furthest west of the five teams in the league, Calgary's had to come up with some interesting ways of dealing with travel expenses, which is how three-game weekends came about. Of course, this means players have to cope with the prospect of playing three games in a row, something the other four teams don't deal with unless they're playing the Inferno.
So while the first thing that comes to mind is sleep and potential for injury, there's another aspect we forget -- vacation time. All of the players in the CWHL work alongside playing in the league (since, as we all know, they aren't paid). In addition to very understanding bosses, they need time off to travel and play if they work on weekends, and even more so on Mondays or Fridays. The idea of not having to spend vacation time on playing hockey appeals to at least some of the Inferno players:
This might mean slightly more money spent on travel, since there are three more weekends thrown into the mix (and time of year, among other things, can factor into how much is spent). But ultimately this can prove to be more of a benefit than a chore for a promising Inferno squad. For instance, could this eliminate the chance of burnout heading into this year's playoffs? We won't know until we're there, but it's looking to be an exciting year overall for a team on the brink of something big.
Here's the full schedule: (home games italicized)
October 24 + 25: vs. Boston
October 31 + November 1: @Boston
November 14+ 15: vs. Montreal
November 21 + 22: @Toronto
November 28 + 29: vs. Brampton
December 5 + 6: vs. Toronto
December 12 + 13: @Boston
January 9 + 10: @Brampton
January 16 + 17: vs. Toronto
January 30 + 31: @Montreal
February 13 + 14: vs. Montreal
February 20 + 21: @Brampton