The Chicago Wolves enter their 25th anniversary season with four league championships, six conference titles, nine division crowns and more than 1,000 wins. Head coach Rocky Thompson’s squad seeks to increase all of these totals during the 2018-19 season that begins with the schedule released Wednesday by the American Hockey League.
Chicago’s 76-game journey starts on Friday, Oct. 5, in Loveland, Colorado, when the Wolves serve as the opponent for the Colorado Eagles’ inaugural AHL contest. The Eagles, who captured the ECHL’s Kelly Cup each of the last two years, were introduced this summer as the AHL’s 31st team.
The Wolves celebrate their 25th home opener on Saturday, Oct. 13, when the Grand Rapids Griffins visit Allstate Arena. The occasion marks the first of 16 Saturday night home games for the Wolves. Thirty-two of the team’s 38 home games will be played on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.
“We are thrilled to offer a home schedule that provides so many opportunities on the weekend for fans to enjoy our games,” said Wolves president Mike Gordon. “Not only will we showcase a team capable of capturing the Calder Cup, we’ll deliver plenty of terrific experiences that celebrate the people and the teams and the achievements that have made our first 25 years so remarkable.”
The Wolves are the only AHL franchise to have won a division title each of the last two seasons. The team shoots for its third consecutive Central Division crown against a schedule laden with games against divisional foes.
The Wolves maintain their long-time rivalries with the Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals as each team comes to town six times. Milwaukee makes its first visit to Allstate Arena on Sunday, Oct. 14, while Rockford arrives for the first time on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The Wolves boast an additional Central Division rival this season as the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars have moved in while the Cleveland Monsters have shifted to the Eastern Conference’s North Division. Chicago, Grand Rapids, Iowa, Manitoba, Milwaukee, Rockford, San Antonio and Texas will compete for the four Central Division spots available in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.
For the 18th straight year, the majority of Chicago’s games will be broadcast live on local TV as CW50 returns with its “Saturday Night with the Wolves” package and The U Too delivers games for the seventh season in a row. Broadcast schedule specifics will be announced closer to the season’s start.