One day after unveiling new green uniforms, the Iowa Wild have an opening night opponent.
Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate begins a new era October 12th and 13th against the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) at the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines. This news comes Thursday as the AHL releases the full 2013-2014 schedule for each of the 30 league teams.
After moving from Houston this offseason, Iowa hosts an AHL team for the first time since the Iowa Chops left the Hawkeye State in 2009. That isn't the only new thing. Besides the change of location (which is always sad to see happen - the Aeros spent 17 years in Houston between the IHL and AHL), the AHL Wild have a new bench boss in former Alabama-Huntsville head coach Kurt Kleinendorst. Former head coach John Torchetti took a job in the KHL following the Aeros' playoff elimination in April.
Iowa also joins the Midwest Division. The Aeros previously were in the South Division, which has since been renamed the West Division. Instead of continually facing teams in Texas, Minnesota's AHLers will battle against division foes Chicago (St. Louis Blues), Milwaukee (Nashville Predators) and defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids (Detroit Red Wings).
The Griffins were the team that knocked Houston out of the first round of the AHL playoffs last season.
One surprise on Iowa's schedule is that there is not a game in St. Paul this year. Seven NHL arenas are being used for AHL games, but after the Aeros played at the Xcel Energy Center last year during the Lockout it is not one of them. Des Moines is only a four hour drive from the Xcel Energy Center so there will be plenty of opportunities for fans who want to see prospects to go down to the "State of Hockey's" newest outpost. Only 14 of the 38 home games are during the week.
Other highlights of the 76 game schedule (38 at home, 38 on the road) include three different six-game homestands and playing 10 games during the February NHL Olympic break.
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