The Thousand Islands Privateers announced their 2012-13 schedule in the Federal Hockey League, which includes 30 home dates at the Watertown Municipal Arena at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The Privateers, who relocated to the city in June after playing their first two seasons in Alexandria Bay, will open their campaign by hosting the Cape Cod Bluefins on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:35 p.m.
“I'm very happy with the schedule,” Privateers owner Nicole Kirnan said. “I'm excited for opening weekend and bringing our brand of hockey to Watertown and the surrounding communities.”
Thousand Islands will play host to another team that relocated during the offseason — the Williamsport Outlaws — the most during the upcoming season at 20 times — including the Privateers' second game of their season on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Watertown at 7:35 p.m.
Williamsport, which was one of the cities the Privateers considered relocating to, is hoped to be Thousand Island's new rival after the controversial Akwesasne Warriors of Ontario didn't return to the league, according to Kirnan.
“We obviously play Williamsport quite a bit, which actually twice as much, and we're looking forward to that,” Kirnan said. “They're now our natural rival and they're the defending league champion. They moved from New Jersey to Williamsport, which is probably a little bit closer in travel distance. They were very talented last season, so we anticipate they'll have a strong team again this year.”
The Privateers will play Cape Cod, the Danbury Whalers, the Danville Dashers and the Dayton Devils each 10 times during the regular season, with five home games and five road games against each team.
Some 19 games of the Privateers' home slate will be played on Friday and Saturday nights, with 12 home games on Fridays; along with eight Thursday games, two Wednesday dates and one Monday game completing the balance of their league schedule. All but one of the home dates include 7:35 p.m. faceoff times.
Thousand Islands will host one four-game homestand — including three consecutive games against Williamsport (Friday, Feb. 1, Saturday, Feb. 2 and Thursday, Feb. 7) — and a trio of three-game homestands, including a holiday week set against Danville on Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28 and a game against Williamsport on Saturday, Dec. 29.
“We're home a couple times during the Christmas break so parents and their kids can check out our games,” Kirnan said. “and also the night before Thanksgiving when family and friends return to the area for the holiday.”
The Privateers will also host the Outlaws on the night before Thanksgiving and in a Presidents' Day game on Monday, Feb. 18 in a 6:05 p.m. start. They will also entertain Danbury on Valentine's Day on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The regular season winds down in March as the Privateers play three of their final four games on home ice, including two against Williamsport; with the finale at Cape Cod on Saturday, March 9.
The Outlaws — who won the league title as New Jersey and since have moved from Wayne, N.J. — will play all of their 30 home games outside at Bowman Stadium, home of baseball's Williamsport Crosscutters of the Class A New York-Penn League.
“It's one of the oldest stadiums in the country,” Kirnan said. “They anticipate a good turnout there, they can seat more than 3,000 there — and some people will venture out to their games just for the experience of outdoor hockey.”
The Privateers' first road trip consisting of five games will be the season's longest, which opens Thursday, Nov. 1 at Williamsport, includes two games against the Outlaws and a pair at the Danville Dashers in eastern Illinois.
Their first journey to play at Dayton, the league's newest franchise, will be on Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday Dec. 22 in southwestern Ohio.
Thousand Islands also plays six of seven games on the road Dec. 8-Dec. 22 and a stretch of seven of eight games away from home Dec. 31-Jan. 11.