The North American Hockey League released it’s 2020-21 Regular Season schedule on Friday. For the Austin Bruins, a complete 60-game schedule will begin a bit later than the rest of the league, starting on October 30 at the Aberdeen Wings.
While the rest of the NAHL kicks off on October 9, 2020, the Bruins will wait to begin their season for a couple of weeks and drop the puck on back-to-back-to-back trips to the Dakotas where state mandates are much looser. This late start coupled with the first three weekends on the road allows the Bruins some time for the state to Minnesota to possibly shift from Phase III to Phase IV of the COVID-19 Stay Safe Plan, ultimately allowing more fans into Riverside Arena. The Bruins home opener comes on November 7 against division rivals, the Minnesota Wilderness.
As for the schedule itself, the black-and-gold will see a handful of opponents this season that they haven’t faced outside of the showcase in quite some time. Some key out of division match-ups include games against Fairbanks on December 4 and 5 in Marshall, MN, while playing host to the Ice Dogs on February 5 and 6. In addition, the Bruins will see the Janesville Jets in Austin on November 13 and 14 and travel to Wisconsin for a pair of games in late March. Rounding out the out-of-division games, the Bruins will continue their rivalries with the Minnesota Magicians and Chippewa Steel, two teams they’ve played several times over the last couple years and beyond.
As for in-division games, the Bruins will compete against Minot most frequently with 16 games planned for the upcoming season, eight at home and eight on the road. The Bruins will play each of their other divisional foes eight times throughout the season, four home games and four road games.
Unaffected by COVID-19 the Bruins will host a total of 28 games but due to the late start, the team will finish the regular season on April 24, about three weeks later than a traditional season. For home games, the Bruins and Riverside Arena will abide by current Minnesota State regulations regarding face-coverings, social distancing, and attendance limits. At the time of this article, 250 fans are permitted for indoor sporting events with social distancing and face coverings mandatory. As the NAHL season moves on, the Bruins and Riverside Arena will adjust their policies in accordance with the COVID-19 Stay Safe Plan set by the state.