Less than 24 hours after finishing their historic 2021-22 playoff run, the Windsor Spitfires (and the rest of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)) started looking at the future. On Thursday afternoon, June 16, they released their 2022-23 schedule with some pre-COVID-19 gems returning.
The 2021-22 season was nothing short of outstanding for the Spitfires. Despite challenges and postponements from COVID-19, they won the Western Conference and took the OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs to Game 7. It was a ride for both the players and the fans alike. However, as entertaining as it is to look back, the league has already given a glimpse of the future, releasing the 2022-23 schedule. It sees the return of some big events, old favourite teams, and plenty more. Let’s take a look at the Spitfires’ schedule.
Home Opener and Key Dates
With the full schedule out, which fans can see on the Spitfires’ website, there’s plenty to look forward to this season. From the home opener to New Year’s Eve, great road trips to the Mickey Renaud Game, the schedule is packed and has opportunities for everyone.
Game times are similar to 2021-22; Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are generally 7:05 p.m., Sundays are 4:05 p.m., and their lone Monday game is 2:05 p.m. There are a couple of exceptions, though. With that said, here are some specifics, starting with early key dates:
Home Opener – Sat., Oct. 1 vs. Sarnia Sting – 7:05 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Game – Sat., Dec. 31 vs. Kitchener Rangers – 2:05 p.m.
Annual Northern Swing – Thurs., Jan. 26 – Sun., Jan. 29 – at North Bay Battalion, at Sudbury Wolves, at Soo Greyhounds.
Return of the Bulldogs – Sat., Feb. 4 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs – 7:05 p.m.
Mickey Renaud Game – Sat., Feb. 18 vs. Mississauga Steelheads – 7:05 p.m.
Family Day Game – Mon., Feb 20 at London Knights – 2 p.m.
Annual Eastern Swing – Thurs., Feb. 23 – Sun., Feb. 26 – at Peterborough Petes, at Ottawa 67s, at Kingston Frontenacs
Last Regular Season Game – Sat., Mar. 25 vs. London Knights – 7:05 p.m.
There will likely be other special events throughout the season and we’ll keep you posted on those. As is tradition, most games are on the weekend, but the team will play at least one game during each day of the week. Here’s a breakdown:
Sunday – Eight games
Monday – Two games
Tuesday – Three games
Wednesday – Four games
Thursday – 15 games
Friday – 19 games
Saturday – 17 games
Interconference Games Return
When the league released its 2021-22 schedule last year, one of the biggest changes was the cancellation of the majority of interconference games. The idea was to play as many games as possible without risking illness during long-distance travelling. Now, with the pandemic under control (for the most part), teams can now play everyone in the league.
The Spitfires will get their games against the Eastern Conference started almost right away, facing the Sudbury Wolves at home on Thurs., Oct. 6. Their first road game is the Niagara IceDogs on Fri., Oct. 28 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharine’s. In total, they will play each Eastern Conference team twice, once at home and once on the road.
The Western Conference is a different story. As always, the Spitfires will see plenty of those rivals. Here’s a breakdown of those games:
Eight times – Saginaw Spirit
Six times (each) – Sarnia Sting, Soo Greyhounds, Flint Firebirds, and London Knights
Four times (each) – Erie Otters, Owen Sound Attack, Guelph Storm, and Kitchener Rangers
While playing the western teams much more often was entertaining at times, it will be good to get back to the full league. There’s something special about seeing teams like the Oshawa Generals and Peterborough Petes come in once a season.
The championship loss is still fresh in everyone’s minds but this is a chance to push ahead and look at the future. From road trips to family nights out, plus players like Daniil Sobolev (Montreal Canadiens) and Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) leading the way, there’s plenty to look forward to. It’s going to be a short summer, Spitfires fans. Get the planners ready!
A nearly life-long resident of Windsor, ON, I graduated from St. Clair College (Journalism) and University of Windsor (Communications) and have attended Windsor Spitfires’ (and OHL) games for 30-years. My areas include multimedia journalism and photography.