Bears to Battle Western Conference Opponents in 2017-18
May 11, 2017The Hershey Bears announced today that the club will battle three Western Conference opponents during the 2017-18 season. The club's complete schedule for next season will be released at a later date, but Hershey will welcome the Grand Rapids Griffins, Milwaukee Admirals, and Rockford IceHogs to the Giant Center during the 2017-18 campaign.
"We are very excited to add several Western Conference teams to our schedule for next season," said Hershey's Vice President of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer. "It's exciting for our fan base to see new teams, and for our club to have a chance to make the trip out to the west."
The Bears will battle the Griffins for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Grand Rapids, who have been members of the AHL since 2001, will visit Hershey for the first time since Feb. 26, 2006. The Griffins, currently going head-to-head with the Chicago Wolves in the Central Division Finals, are the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
Hershey will clash with the Milwaukee Admirals for the first time since the 2006 Calder Cup Finals. Hershey defeated the Admirals, and future NHL All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne, in six games, claiming the organization's ninth Calder Cup on Jun. 15, 2006 at the Bradley Center. The Admirals, who have been members of the AHL since 2001, call the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena home, and are the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.
Hershey has not played Rockford since the IceHogs' admission to the AHL in 2007. The original Rockford IceHogs played in the the United Hockey League from 1999-2007, winning the Colonial Cup in their final season in 2006-07. The IceHogs are the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks and call the BMO Harris Bank Center home.
Hershey will play one home game, and one road game versus Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and Rockford next season. The Bears' 2017-18 schedule will also feature one home game and one road game versus new AHL clubs, the Belleville Senators, Binghamton Devils, and Laval Rocket.
Additionally, with the Charlotte Checkers realigning to the Eastern Conference, Hershey's rivalry with the North Carolina based club will return. The Bears will oppose the Checkers eight times next season, with four meetings coming at the Giant Center. The Checkers last played in the Eastern Conference during the 2010-11 season, a year in which they defeated Hershey in the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
While the Bears schedule features several new additions, divisional rivals Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Lehigh Valley are once again scheduled to battle Hershey 12 times next season, including six contests at the Giant Center.
Hershey continues the Atlantic Division Finals this evening in Providence. Game 3 is tonight at 7:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center with the best-of-seven series tied, 1-1. Tonight's game may be heard on the Bears Radio Network and viewed on AHLLive.com.
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