PORTLAND – The Portland Pirates will open their 18th season with a four-game homestand.

The Pirates, who started last season by playing eight of their first 10 games on the road, will open their American Hockey League season Oct. 9 against the Manchester Monarchs at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The AHL announced its 2010-11 schedule Wednesday, which includes a total of 1,200 regular-season games for the league’s 30 teams.

“We’ve made some adjustments we hope will help us in terms of business and in player development,” said Brian Petrovek, the Pirates’ managing owner/CEO.

The Pirates will play 26 of their 40 home games during the 25-week regular season on weekends. The home portion of their schedule also includes 11 weeknight games, matinees on Columbus Day and Presidents’ Day, and a March 22 morning game targeted to children.

All 11 of the weeknight games will start at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than usual.

“It affords a family the opportunity on a school night to come to a game and get home and get to bed on time,” said Petrovek.

sprinkling more weeknight games into the schedule, the Pirates will play three games in three nights only seven times. Last season, Portland played three games in three nights a total of 10 times.

“If we keep forcing them into playing three in threes and four in fives and not sprinkle in weeknight games, when they get to the playoffs they’re going to be exhausted,” Petrovek said. “the time Buffalo calls them (up), you want these guys to be developed and not exhausted, so we have to respect the needs of our NHL affiliate and take the players into account for rest and relaxation and travel.”

The team will spend no more than 12 days away from the Civic Center.

The Pirates will make one trip south to play two games each against the Norfolk Admirals and Charlotte Checkers.

The club will travel to Pennsylvania for one game against the Hershey Bears, and will make three trips to New York for single games against the Binghamton Senators, Albany Devils and Adirondack Phantoms.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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