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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

An NHL fan’s guide to the 2019-20 Calgary Hitmen schedule

The Western Hockey League announced their 2019-20 schedule on Wednesday. With all the hockey options available, sometimes it’s a challenge to carve out time to check out a Calgary Hitmen game. We’ve dug through their upcoming season and found a few games for hockey fans of all stripes to check out.

Sept. 27: The home opener against the Edmonton Oil Kings

With the Kootenay ICE moving to Winnipeg, the Oil Kings are once again the Hitmen’s top rivals. They’re also a sneaky good team, bolstered by 2019 New York Rangers pick Matthew Robertson and 2020 top prospect Jake Neighbours. They’re also in town Nov. 3, Dec. 6 and Dec. 30, but the first meeting should be a blast.

Oct. 14: the Saskatoon Blades visit

In one of two visits in 2019-20 – the other is Nov. 2 – 2019 first round pick Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks comes to the Saddledome. Dach is really strong player and the Blades are expected to be one of the Dub’s better teams.

Dec. 1: The Teddy Bear Toss against Red Deer

If you haven’t been to a Teddy Bear Toss, they’re a blast. It’s your one chance a year to chuck things on the ice without getting tossed from the building, and the entire Saddledome has this weird anticipatory energy leading up to the first goal. It will sell out, so mark your calendar and get set for arguably Calgary’s most fun charity event.

Dec. 8: Dustin Wolf comes to Calgary

Everyone’s favourite Flames goaltending prospect, 2019 seventh round pick Dustin Wolf makes his only appearance in Calgary on Dec. 8. It’s the one and only trip here for the Everett Silvertips and Wolf’s first-ever trip to play in the Saddledome.

Dec. 15: Battling the Hurricanes

In the first of four trips to the Saddledome, Dylan Cozens (Buffalo’s first round pick) leads the Hurricanes against the Hitmen. There’s an decent chance that Cozens might be at World Junior camp at this point, so the other visits are Jan. 10, Feb. 9 and Mar. 1.

Jan. 5: The Warriors come to play

A year ago, Brayden Tracey wasn’t even in the WHL. Now he’s a first round pick of the Anaheim Ducks. The Calgary product returns to his hometown as Moose Jaw tries to topple the Hitmen.

Jan. 29: What are they supposed to chant?

One of the enduring traditions of Hitmen home games has been chanting “Kootenay sucks!” in tune with the organist. But now the Kootenay ICE are playing out of Winnipeg, and their first trip to Calgary at the end of January is gonna be really, really confusing. Also, Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs will be in action. (Winnipeg also visits on Feb. 27.)

Jan. 31: Facing the Wheaties

The Brandon Wheat Kings narrowly missed the playoffs last season after a heck of a second half push. They feature 2020 top prospect blueliner Braden Schneider, so amateur scouting aficionados should circle both this game and Feb. 28 on their calendars.