KAMLOOPS — The Western Hockey League has played a 72 game season since 1975-76.
That will change next season, with a reduction of four games to a 68 game schedule.
"For us", says Blazers president Don Moores, "it's about the experience for players, giving them more time to develop, as far as skills --- less travel."
Coaches will like it --- players maybe not so much --- if it leads to more practice time ---- players like to play games.
Teams actually spend more time on the bus travelling than they do practicing or playing games.
Another important factor in a shorter schedule, says Moores, is fewer trips over the mountains each season.
"The average trip is 10 days --- more time to be in school, skill development, you don't have to worry as much about the weather."
Two fewer home games should mean two less midweek games ---- this season the Blazers play ten of their 36 home games on Tuesday or Wednesday, which traditionally attract lower attendance.
The Sandman Centre crowd was 4847 for the home opener on a Saturday two weeks ago. This past Wednesday the attendance dropped by over a thousand to 3637.
Fewer games will impact the revenue stream ---- but Moores sees a balance between fewer games, less gross revenue.
"When you eliminate nine or ten games on the road the cost factor there is quite significant ---- so we hope it will end up begin revenue neutral."
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