WORCESTER – On Tuesday afternoon, the ECHL announced its 2018-19 regular season schedule, and, despite having a decent schedule for their inaugural 2017-18 season, the Worcester Railers upcoming campaign sees some improvement that will help the franchise both on and off the ice.

The Railers begin their second season with a pair of road games against the Reading Royals on October 13 and 14. The next weekend Worcester kicks off their home schedule against the expansion Maine Mariners.

Of the 36 games the Railers will play at the DCU Center, 31 of them take place on the weekend.

Gone from last season’s schedule is the 11-game home stand the Railers had. With so many games in a row, Director of HC Memberships Mike Fisher and his sales staff really had their work cut out for them. With that no longer on the schedule, the Railers will be able to focus more on other parts of the season.

In the upcoming season, their longest home stand is just five games.

Also missing are any “stand alone” trips where Worcester would take a long trip with an overnight stay to play a single game. The front office staff realized was something they should have paid more attention to in last season’s schedule long after it was released, and it was obviously a point they took care to notice as the upcoming season’s schedule was being finalized.

With two new franchises being added to the ECHL, the North Division sees some changes, with the Maine Mariners and the yet-to-be nicknamed St. John’s franchise joining the Railers, Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Manchester Monarchs, and Reading Royals — while the Wheeling Nailers move to the Central Division in the Western Conference.

Many players mentioned that the bus rides to Wheeling were not something they looked forward to, and in the upcoming season the Railers don’t visit the Nailers at all.

For the Railers divisional opponents, they will face the Mariners 14 times, Manchester 12 times, the Thunder 11 times, Brampton and St John’s eight times, and the Royals six times. Those match-ups are all balanced evenly between home and away games, with the extra game against Adirondack taking place in Glens Falls.

For non-divisional games, the Railers will play the South Carolina Stingrays twice, once in Worcester and once in North Charleston. They’ll also play the Greenville Swamp Rabbits three times, once at the DCU Center and twice at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. A pair of games against the Orlando Solar Bears and single contests against the Nailers, Norfolk Admirals, and Cincinnati Cyclones close out Worcester’s home schedule. On the road the Railers visit the Allen Americans and will play a pair in Tulsa against the Oilers.

One good thing about the upcoming schedule is the Railers don’t have many “mad dashes” to make. A “mad dash” is a lengthy bus ride between games, and can cause great issues for teams that have to make a lot of them. For Worcester there’s just two, having to go from Manchester, New Hampshire to Glens Falls, New York on Oct. 26 and then from North Charleston, SC to Greenville, SC on Jan. 4.

The Railers do have several up-and-backs for games against Adirondack and Maine, but those trips shouldn’t be a big issue as in most cases their opponents are making the same exact trip.

In Worcester’s home schedule there are two non-standard start times. On Nov. 14, Reading visits the DCU for a 10:05 AM start with the Railers hosting another “School Day Game”. The next night Adirondack visits with an 8:05 PM start for “College Night”.

As had become a tradition for this writer we’ll try to predict how many nights Worcester will spend in hotel rooms during the regular season. To be honest last season’s prediction wasn’t even close as the Railers often went to Glens Falls the night before taking on Adirondack, and some times spent nights there after games too. So looking at how the team did travel last season we’ll predict 30 nights in hotels for the upcoming season. At the end of the campaign we’ll take a look back and see how well we did.

The entire Railers schedule is (home games in caps):

OCTOBER

Sat 13 @ Reading 7:00pm

Sun 14 @ Reading 5:00pm

SAT 20 MAINE 7:05pm

Wed 24 @ Adirondack 7:00pm

Fri 26 @ Manchester 7:00pm

Sat 27 @ Adirondack 7:00pm

NOVEMBER

FRI 2 ADIRONDACK 7:05pm

SAT 3 ST. JOHN’S 7:05pm

Tue 6 @ St. John’s 5:30pm

Wed 7 @ St. John’s 5:30pm

FRI 9 MAINE 7:05pm

Sat 10 @ Maine 7:00pm

WED 14 READING 10:05am

THU 15 ADIRONDACK 8:05pm

SAT 17 ORLANDO 7:05pm

SUN 18 ORLANDO 3:05pm

FRI 23 MANCHESTER 7:05pm

Sun 25 @ Brampton 2:00pm

Tue 27 @ Brampton 11:00am

Fri 30 @ Maine 7:15pm

DECEMBER

SUN 2 MAINE 3:05pm

WED 5 BRAMPTON 7:05pm

FRI 7 BRAMPTON 7:05pm

Sun 9 @ Maine 3:00pm

WED 12 MANCHESTER 7:05pm

FRI 14 MANCHESTER 7:05pm

SAT 15 MAINE 7:05pm

Wed 19 @ Brampton 11:00am

FRI 21 ADIRONDACK 7:05pm

SAT 22 READING 7:05pm

Fri 28 @ Maine 7:15pm

SAT 29 MAINE 7:05pm

JANUARY

Fri 4 @ South Carolina 7:05pm

Sat 5 @ Greenville 7:05pm

Sun 6 @ Greenville 3:05pm

SAT 12 READING 7:05pm

SUN 13 MANCHESTER 3:05pm

FRI 18 ST. JOHN’S 7:05pm

SAT 19 ST. JOHN’S 7:05pm

Fri 25 @ Adirondack 7:00pm

SAT 26 ADIRONDACK 7:05pm

Sun 27 @ Manchester 3:00pm

Wed 30 @ Brampton 7:00pm

FEBRUARY

Fri 1 @ St. John’s 5:30pm

Sat 2 @ St. John’s 5:30pm

FRI 8 GREENVILLE 7:05pm

SAT 9 WHEELING 7:05pm

SUN 10 CINCINNATI 3:05pm

Wed 13 @ Maine 7:00pm

Fri 15 @ Allen 8:05pm

Sat 16 @ Tulsa 8:05pm

Sun 17 @ Tulsa 5:05pm

Wed 20 @ Manchester 7:00pm

Sun 24 @ Maine 3:00pm

Wed 27 @ Manchester 7:00pm

MARCH

SUN 3 ADIRONDACK 3:05pm

Wed 6 @ Adirondack 7:00pm

Fri 8 @ Adirondack 7:00pm

SAT 9 NORFOLK 7:05pm

SUN 10 SOUTH CAROLINA 3:05pm

Fri 15 @ Manchester 7:00pm

SAT 16 MAINE 7:05pm

SUN 17 MANCHESTER 3:05pm

FRI 22 MAINE 7:05pm

Sat 23 @ Manchester 6:00pm

Sun 24 @ Reading 4:00pm

SAT 30 BRAMPTON 7:05pm

SUN 31 BRAMPTON 3:05pm

APRIL

WED 3 MANCHESTER 7:05pm

Fri 5 @ Maine 7:15pm

SAT 6 ST. JOHN’S 7:05pm

Sun 7 @ Adirondack 3:00pm

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