At first glance, the Medicine Hat Tigers 2019-2020 schedule confirms an historic regional rivalry continues to exist.
The Tigers will battle the Lethbridge Hurricanes in home-and-home weekends to both open and close the regular season. The teams will meet a total of eight times during the 68-game schedule.
A curious run early in the campaign will see the Tigers enjoy a five-game home stand before a nine-game road trip that includes a road trip through the B.C. Division. Indeed, new general manager and head coach Willie Desjardins will get an early reminder of Western Hockey League travel as the team bus winds its way throughout Alberta and British Columbia.
Local supporters will once again see a healthy dose of Central and East Division teams. The Swift Current Broncos will arrive this season as a Central Division foe due to realignment. The teams will meet eight times.
With the Kootenay ICE relocating to become the Winnipeg ICE, road trips to the eastern-most outposts will change. The Tigers will play two Manitoba double-dips this season against Winnipeg and the Brandon Wheat Kings, once in early January and again a month later. The newly minted ICE visit Medicine Hat early on October 11.
The U.S. Division will travel through the Central this season, with the Portland Winterhawks arriving first on October 8, amid the Tigers aforementioned five-game home stand.
Everett arrives in early December, while Seattle, Tri City and Spokane will visit in the New Year.
The Tigers will play three games in three nights only once, in late September. However, Medicine Hat will play four games in five nights twice and there are two occasions where the team will play three games in four nights.
Of the Tigers 34 home games at the 7,100-seat CANALTA Centre, there are eight Tuesday games slated along with one Wednesday night tilt.
Last season, Medicine Hat went 35-27-4-2, good for 74 points. The fourth-place finish in the Central Division resulted in a wild-card playoff berth and a first-round exit at the hands of the Edmonton Oil Kings.