Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the regular season schedule of games for 2018-19.
#OHLOpeningWeek begins on Wednesday September 19 when the Saginaw Spirit host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and continues with a trio of games on Thursday September 20, seven games on Friday September 21, five games on Saturday September 22, and two games on Sunday September 23 featuring a total of 14 home openers to launch the new campaign.
Among the highlights in 2018-19 are home openers for the league’s four division winners including the Central Division’s Barrie Colts on September 20 against the Owen Sound Attack, the West’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds against the Sarnia Sting and the Midwest’s Kitchener Rangers against the Flint Firebirds both on September 21, and the East’s Hamilton Bulldogs who will also celebrate their OHL championship season when they host the Ottawa 67’s on September 30.
The schedule includes five days that feature special morning starts for a total of eight School Day games. On Wednesday November 7 the Firebirds host the Sting and the 67’s host the Kingston Frontenacs both at 11:00 am, then on Remembrance Day, Wednesday November 14, the Bulldogs host the Colts at 10:30 am while the Erie Otters host the Rangers and the Mississauga Steelheads host the Guelph Storm both at 11:00 am. On Wednesday November 28 the Frontenacs host the 67’s at 10:30 am, followed by Thursday February 7 when the Bulldogs host the Oshawa Generals at 10:30 am, and Wednesday February 27 when the Steelheads host the Rangers at 11:00 am.
YourTV’s sixth annual Hockey Day in the OHL takes place this year on Sunday January 27 with a broadcast tripleheader that includes the Niagara IceDogs at the Windsor Spitfires at 1:00 pm, the Frontenacs visit the North Bay Battalion for a 4:00 pm start, and the Bulldogs visit the Sting to close out the day at 7:00 pm.
The busiest day on the OHL calendar this season is Friday December 27 when the league resumes play following the holiday break and features all 20 teams in action. The schedule also includes eight days where nine games will be played including Friday October 12, Saturday November 10, Friday November 23, Friday December 14, Sunday January 6, Friday February 1, Saturday February 2, and most notably Monday February 18 with nine matinee matchups to celebrate Ontario’s Family Day.
For the second straight season, the schedule includes 681 games due to another interleague series between the 67’s and the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques. The teams will play their home-and-home series on Friday December 7 in Gatineau and Saturday December 8 in Ottawa.
Milestone seasons in 2018-19 include the Sting playing their 25th campaign in Sarnia, while it also marks the 30th season for the OHL in Owen Sound.
The regular season wraps up on Sunday March 17 with six games scheduled before the top eight teams in each conference will compete for the J. Ross Robertson Cup in the 2019 OHL Playoffs.
Divisional alignment remains the same for 2018-19 with the same 68-game unbalanced schedule. Teams continue to play out of conference opponents a minimum of two times (one home, one away) while the majority of teams play interconference teams a minimum of four times including two games at home and two on the road. Interdivisional teams will play each other up to six times and in a number of cases, closest rivals will play each other up to eight times.
The OHL continues the tradition of being primarily a weekend league in order to accommodate the student athlete with over 87% (597) games scheduled between Thursday and Sunday. Friday continues to be the busiest night during the season with 191 games scheduled, followed by 165 on Saturdays, and 143 on Sundays.
Day – No. of Games (Percentage)
Monday: 16 games (2.4%)
Tuesday: 11 games (1.6%)
Wednesday: 56 games (8.2%)
Thursday: 98 games (14.41%)
Friday: 191 games (28.09%)
Saturday: 165 games (24.26%)
Sunday: 143 games (21.03%)
CHL Special Events not listed within the official schedule but should be noted include the CIBC Canada Russia Series in OHL markets on Thursday November 8 in Sarnia, and Monday November 12 in Oshawa. The 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game takes place this season in Red Deer, Alberta, on Wednesday January 23, while the 2019 Memorial Cup will be played for May 16-26 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will feature the OHL champion along with the host Mooseheads, the Western Hockey League champion, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion.
Full schedule can be found online at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.
Help promote the launch of the 2018-19 OHL Regular Season on social media by using #OHLOpeningWeek.