Jets open season with home date Oct. 14 against Rangers

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MONTREAL — The Winnipeg Jets won’t exactly be easing their way into a new hockey season. In fact, the start of the 2022-23 campaign is going to present a significant challenge to a hockey club hoping to rebound from a disappointing year and hit the ground running .

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MONTREAL — The Winnipeg Jets won’t exactly be easing their way into a new hockey season. In fact, the start of the 2022-23 campaign is going to present a significant challenge to a hockey club hoping to rebound from a disappointing year and hit the ground running .

A season-opening date at home against the powerful New York Rangers on Friday Oct. 14 is immediately followed by three straight road games — new coach Rick Bowness’ return to Dallas on Oct. 17, a face-off against the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 19, and a visit to Sin City one night later to take on the Vegas Golden Knights. Then it’s back for two more tough home tilts — against Toronto and St. Louis — before another trip out west with stops in Los Angeles, Arizona and Vegas.

Add it all up and that’s quite the gauntlet Winnipeg will have to run before the pumpkins come out for Halloween.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Erstwhile Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice will return to River City with the Florida Panthers on Dec. 6.

“There’s always some problematic spots that you certainly beg to try to get changed. I think everybody has those things,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Wednesday as the schedule was released. “For us, the challenge is time zones. Whenever we play games where we go to the west coast, come home, play games, then go to the east coast, those are tough on teams. Those are the challenges the league does try to work with.”

Other schedule highlights include Patrik Laine’s second visit to Winnipeg as a rival on Dec. 2, the return of Paul Maurice to Winnipeg on Dec. 6 with his Florida Panthers, a New Year’s Eve date in Edmonton against Connor McDavid and the Oilers, and the regular-season ending on Apr. 13 in Denver.

Winnipeg will play the other seven teams in the Central Division either three times (Arizona and Dallas) or four (Colorado, Nashville, Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago), all eight Pacific Division teams three times, and all 16 Eastern Conference teams twice (one home, one away).

The longest road trip is five games (Jan. 17-24), as is the longest homestand (Jan. 26-Feb. 14 and March 31-April 10). Among the 41 games at Canada Life Centre is one on Saturday Feb. 11, against Chicago, that begins at 9 p.m. December is the busiest month with 16 games, while Tuesday is the busiest day of the week with 16 contests during the year. The Jets will also play 13 sets back-to-back games, with 11 of those happening on the road.

There are a number of promotional giveaways this year, including all fans getting tuques for the home opener, 5,000 fanny packs on ‘90s night (Nov. 21), 15,000 Kyle Connor bobbleheads (March 6) and Fan Appreciation Night (April 10). The organization will also host Filipino Heritage Night (Nov. 8), South Asian Heritage Night (Feb. 11), Black History Night (Feb. 28) and Winnipeg Aboriginal Sports Achievement Centre Night (March 4), There will also be Hockey Fights Cancer Night (Nov. 29), Canadian Armed Forces Night (Dec. 6), International Women’s Day Gender Equality Game (March 8) and Pride Night (April 5).

The broadcast schedule will be released later this summer, although all 82 games will be on Global News Radio 680 CJOB (CJOB AM) and will also be simulcast on Power 97. TSN and Sportsnet share television rights.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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