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Published: Thursday, 5/31/2012

Walleye release 2012-13 schedule

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Toledo Walleye will open the 2012-13 season at home on Oct. 13 against the Kalamazoo Wings.

The ECHL announced its schedule for next season on Wednesday.

The Walleye will start their fourth season with two straight home games. The team hosts Cincinnati on Oct. 19 before going on the road for four games to close the month.

Toledo will rekindle an old rivalry with the expansion Fort Wayne Komets in the teams' first meeting at the Huntington Center on Nov. 2. The next night Toledo will host another expansion team, the Evansville IceMen.

Of the team's 36 home games, 32 fall on either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Last season, the team finished second in overall attendance with an average crowd of 6,252 per game.

RELATED CONTENT: Toledo Walleye 2012-13 schedule

"Our fans are so supportive," assistant general manager Erik Ibsen said. "Coming off three great years the Walleye have welcomed more than 665,000 fans to the Huntington Center. We can't wait to kick-off our fourth season."

Toledo has three straight home games in early November, a month in which the team will play at the Huntington Center eight times. Toledo opens the next month by hosting Cincinnati on Dec. 1. It is one of six home games during the month.

The Walleye host defending ECHL champion Florida on Dec. 16.

Toledo travels to Florida to play the Everblades in three straight games from Jan. 9-12.

The expansion team from Orlando will come to Toledo on Jan. 5, while Bakersfield will travel to the Huntington Center on Jan. 26.

Toledo has five straight home games from Feb. 16-24. The Walleye host Kalamazoo on Feb. 16.

The home finale is against Reading on March 24, while the Walleye close the regular season on March 29 at Wheeling.

Four new teams will join the ECHL for its 25th season. The San Francisco Bulls have joined along with Fort Wayne, Evansville, and the Orlando Solar Bears.

Fort Wayne and Evansville will join Toledo in the Eastern Conference's North Division. The Walleye will compete in a five-team division along with Kalamazoo , the defending division champs, and Cincinnati. The Walleye play Kalamazoo 13 times and face off with Fort Wayne 11 times.

The ECHL will have 23 teams in 16 states this season. Toledo returns for its 19th ECHL season overall.

Last season, the Walleye never made it out of last place in the North and finished 28-38-6. The organization failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season.

Multi-game plans and group outings are on sale by phone at 419-725-9255. Individual tickets will be placed on sale later this summer.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.



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