The United States Hockey League announced today the 2017-18 schedule for its 17 member clubs. The 60-game schedule will begin on Oct. 6 and conclude April 14, spanning 27 weeks. The league previously attempted to fit the 60-game schedule into a 26-week window but determined it was not feasible for the 2017-18 regular season. The USHL Board of Governors continues to evaluate the regular season and postseason schedule format.
FULL USHL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Beginning in 2017-18, 12 teams will advance to the Clark Cup Playoffs, with the top two seeds in each Conference receiving a first-round bye. The first round will be a best-of-three series hosted by the #3 and #4 seeds in each conference versus the #5 and #6 seeds, respectively. The remaining rounds of the Clark Cup Playoffs will be determined by best-of-five series and home-ice advantage going to the higher seed.
In addition to the regular season, the USHL will host the preseason USHL Fall Classic at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, PA Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, featuring all 17 teams in one weekend. A full schedule for the 2017 Fall Classic will be announced at a later date, in addition to preseason matchups throughout the league.
- Bloomington Thunder will open their season against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Oct. 13. The Thunder will host in-state rival and defending Clark Cup champion Chicago Steel three times during the regular season: Nov. 5, Mar. 30 and April 14 in their final game of the regular season
- Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will begin their season with three consecutive road games, and will host the Omaha Lancers on Oct. 14. The RoughRiders will host the Waterloo Black Hawks for the first time on Nov. 25, and the Dubuque Fighting Saints at home on Dec. 9.
- Chicago Steel will open their season against Team USA on Oct. 7. The opening night matchup between the USA Hockey Tier 1 National Champions and Team USA will celebrate the team’s first Clark Cup championship, including a ring ceremony and banner unveiling at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
- Des Moines Buccaneers will begin their season at home, as they open at the Madhouse on Hickman on Oct. 7 against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Buccaneers will host the Lincoln Stars the following weekend on Oct. 14, and will meet the Sioux City Musketeers, a rematch of their 2017 Clark Cup Playoffs opponent, for the first time at home on Dec. 8.
- Dubuque Fighting Saints will open at home against the defending Clark Cup champion Chicago Steel on Oct. 6. In-state rival Cedar Rapids will travel to Dubuque for the first time on Dec. 1, and the Fighting Saints will have a rematch against Clark Cup Semifinal opponent Muskegon Lumberjacks in a back-to-back weekend set beginning on Jan. 5.
- Fargo Force will open their regular season with back-to-back matchups against the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers. The first rematch against the Waterloo Black Hawks at home will be Nov. 4. The annual Hometown Heroes night will be on Jan. 20 against the Sioux City Musketeers.
- Green Bay Gamblers will open their season against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders at home on Oct. 6, followed by a matchup against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The Gamblers will host in-state rival Madison Capitols at home for the first time on Dec. 15.
- Lincoln Stars will open their season at home against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Oct. 6. The in-state rival Tri-City Storm will travel to Lincoln for Military Appreciation Night on Nov. 22, followed by Teddy Bear Toss Night on Dec. 16 against the Des Moines Buccaneers. Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Night will be Feb. 16 against the top rival Omaha Lancers.
- Madison Capitols will open their home schedule with back-to-back games on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, against the Des Moines Buccaneers and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, respectively. The RoughRiders return to Madison on Nov. 10 for Military Appreciation Night. The Capitols will host the Waterloo Black Hawks in their final home game of the year for Fan Appreciation Night.
- Muskegon Lumberjacks will begin their season with a Nebraska road trip, and will return home the following weekend to host the defending Clark Cup champion Chicago Steel on Oct. 13. The following night will feature in-state rival Team USA U18 squad. The Battle of Michigan continues on Dec. 29 as Muskegon will host the Team USA U17 team.
- Omaha Lancers will begin the season at home against the in-state rival Tri-City Storm. In what has now become an annual tradition, the Lancers will host Hall of Fame Night during their Oct. 6 home opener. The Green Bay Gamblers travel to Ralston Arena on Nov. 11 for the Lancers Military Appreciation Night.
- Sioux City Musketeers will host their annual Pink in the Rink Night against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Oct. 21. The following weekend will feature a Clark Cup Final rematch as the Chicago Steel come to town Oct. 27. The Musketeers will also feature a Military Appreciation Night on Nov. 11 and a New Year’s Eve game against the Omaha Lancers.
- Sioux Falls Stampede will host the Waterloo Black Hawks for their home opener on Oct. 7, as the first 1,000 fans will receive a replica jersey compliments of Waterbury Heating & Cooling and Coleman USA. Cedar Rapids will travel to Sioux Falls on Nov. 4 for the Stampede’s annual Pink in the Rink Night. The annual, and now famous Sioux Nation Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Races will be hosted in February. Fans will cheer on wiener dogs as they race across the ice at intermission. The Stampede unveiled specialty wiener dog racing jerseys last season.
- Team USA will start things at home with the U17 squad hosting the Green Bay Gamblers in a back-to-back weekend set beginning Oct. 21. The U18 team will begin their home schedule at USA Hockey Arena on Oct. 27 against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Other home promotions include Teddy Bear Toss, Star Wars Night and Military Appreciation Night. The promotion schedule will be announced at a later date.
- Tri-City Storm will host in-state rivals Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars during Crosscheck Cancer Weekend on Oct. 20 and 21. Fans will be invited Thursday night to paint the ice with names of loved one that have battled cancer. The Bloomington Thunder will come to town for Taste of Nebraska Night on Jan. 27, featuring free samples all game long from the best flavors of Nebraska.
- Waterloo Black Hawks will open their home schedule against the Dubuque Fighting Saints in hopes of defending the Dupaco Cowbell Cup. The Black Hawks will host Cedar Rapids on Thanksgiving Day, an annual hockey-turkey day tradition in Waterloo that dates back to the 1960s. Waterloo will also host the Des Moines Buccaneers in Party Town on New Year’s Eve.
- Youngstown Phantoms will host the Waterloo Black Hawks on Feb. 17 for their annual Military Appreciation Night. The Des Moines Buccaneers will come to town on Mar. 10 for Pink in the Rink Night at the Covelli Centre.