Bulldogs at home in Montreal Bell Centre part of AHL schedule snag

Friday, Oct. 6 and Sunday, April 15. Those are the book end dates for the Hamilton Bulldogs 2006-2007 American Hockey League’s regular season. Sandwiched between the opening and closing of the new campaign are 78 other dates, with a couple of wrinkles.

One of the Bulldogs home dates will be a game played at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Dogs will use the facility of their National Hockey League parents, the Montreal Canadiens, on Sunday, March 18. That “home” date is part of the other scheduling quirk the Bulldogs had to work around this season.

The Dogs will play a Friday, February 23 game but don’t come back to their Copps Coliseum until Wednesday, March 21. A Disney Show on Ice and the Canadian Brier, the National Curling Championship, take over Copps and send the Bulldogs on an extended road trip.

But before that, Hamilton will host their North Division rival, the Manitoba Moose, on October 6. Hamilton’s first away game is on Saturday, October 14 in Albany against the River Rats.

The schedule breakdown for Hamilton, playing in the newly formatted six-team North Division of the Western Conference, has them facing 17 of the AHL’s 26 other teams.

Seventy of Hamilton’s 80 regular season games will be against teams in the Western Conference – 48 versus their five North Division rivals (Toronto – 12, Grand Rapids – 10, Rochester – 10, Manitoba – 8, Syracuse – 8), and 22 versus the seven teams in the West Division (Chicago – 4, Iowa – 4, Milwaukee – 4, Omaha – 4, Houston – 2, Peoria – 2, San Antonio – 2).

The 10 remaining games will be against four of the seven teams in the East Division of the Eastern Conference (Albany – 4, Hershey – 2, Philadelphia – 2, Wilkes-Barre / Scranton – 2). The ‘Dogs will not play any of the seven teams in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

Of the club’s 40 home games, 28 are on weekends, including 18 on Friday night’s, eight on Saturday nights, six on Wednesday nights, three on Sunday afternoons, three on Tuesday nights, and one Thursday night game.