If you’re a Maine Red Claws fan, you better leave your weekends open beginning in December.

The Red Claws will play 23 of their 24 home games at the Portland Expo on weekends, beginning with two games on the first weekend of December.

“We’re very fortunate to get the dates we received,” said Jon Jennings, the president and general manager of the Red Claws. “Friday, Saturday and Sunday are by far our most popular dates. And whenever you’re creating a schedule with 15 teams, it’s all about negotiating.”

Twelve of those weekend games will be on Sundays, with two starting at 1 p.m., and the other 10 at 5 p.m.

“We analyzed past seasons, along with other minor leagues, and found that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are by far the most important home dates,” said Jennings.

“So we felt we needed to continue to make sure we got those games, and then continue to provide the atmosphere that fans expect from us.”

The Red Claws open their third season on the road at Springfield, Mass., on Nov. 25, and then play at Erie, Pa., on Dec. 1. They play their first 12 games against Eastern Conference teams.

They open their play in Portland with back-to-back games against Springfield and Fort Wayne on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

The Red Claws will play a 50-game schedule, 24 home and away and two – against Los Angeles and Sioux Falls – in the NBA Development League Showcase.

Maine’s home opponents this season will include the Springfield Armor, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Erie BayHawks, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Idaho Stampede, Reno Bighorns, Dakota Wizards, Texas Legends, Austin Toros, Bakersfield Jam and Tulsa 66ers.

Los Angeles and Sioux Falls do not make the trip to Portland this year, along with expansion team Canton.

The Red Claws will also spend the holidays at home.

Maine plays defending league champ Iowa on Christmas Eve at 1 p.m.

Then, the Red Claws are at home against Rio Grande for back-to-back games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“We had games at home on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day two years ago,” said Jennings. “And we found them to be very successful.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH