Time to flip the calendars ahead a few months and start marking in games — the Winnipeg Jets have unveiled their 2022-23 schedule.
The 82-game slate released Wednesday represents the first season of the Rick Bowness era as the 67-year-old was hired earlier this week as the Jets’ third head coach of the 2.0 era. The defensively-focused bench boss with nearly four decades of coaching experience is set to bring a large-scale culture change and it will be fascinating to see if the talented-but-flawed team under his charge will respond by putting up better on-ice results.
It all starts on Oct. 14 against the New York Rangers at Canada Life Centre and ends on April 13 against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. By the latter date, we’ll know whether Bowness was able to guide the Jets out of the wilderness and back to the postseason.
Here, we’ll go over some of the most notable aspects of the 2022-23 schedule and break them all down.
Longest Home Stand and Longest Road Trip Are Both Not Too Long
The Jets’ longest home stand will be just five games, and it doesn’t come until the final 10 games of the schedule. They’ll play five straight at Canada Life Centre beginning on March 31 and ending on April 10. Last season, the Jets’ longest home stand was seven games.
They also have one four-game home stand, seven three-game home stands, three two-game home stands, and five single home games.
Meanwhile, the Jets’ longest road trip is, like last season, five games long. It takes place from Jan. 17 through Jan. 24, with stops in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Philadelphia, and Nashville.
The Jets also have one four-game road trip, six three-game road trips, six two-game road trips, and two single road games.
Three of the games on that aforementioned road trip represent one-fifth of the action against Canadian opponents; the Jets face fellow teams from the Great White North a total of 15 times. After not facing Canadian foes in the shortened 2019-20 campaign, these exciting matchups returned to marquee status last season.
The Jets will welcome every team to Canada Life Centre at some point. The Toronto Maple Leafs (Oct. 22), Montreal Canadiens (Nov. 3), Ottawa Senators (Dec. 20), and Edmonton Oilers (March 4) will all visit Winnipeg once, while the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks will visit twice (Jan. 3 and April 5 for the Flames, Dec. 29 and Jan. 8 for the Canucks.).
The Jets will visit each Canadian team once, with exception of the Oilers, who they’ll visit twice.
Western Conference Clashes
Of course, the Jets play the bulk of their games against the Central Division, which remains unchanged. They’ll have 26 tilts against their most familiar rivals, including four games apiece against the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and and three games apiece against the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars.
To round out Western Conference play, the Jets will face Pacific Division teams — the Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Flames, Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, Seattle Kraken, and San Jose Sharks — three times each.
Stay West, Young Jets
While the Jets will face every Eastern Conference team twice (one at home and once on the road,) they won’t play against an Eastern team on the road until Dec. 22 against the Boston Bruins. The first nine games against Eastern opponents are all at home.
Jets Will Be Road Warriors on Back-to-Backs
The Jets won’t play on back-to-back nights at home this season. They have 13 back to backs, two more than last season, with 11 on the road and two as home-and-away splits.
The first back-to-backs come in games three and four of the season, in Colorado and Vegas. The last back-to-backs come in games 80 and 81, in Winnipeg against the Sharks and in Minnesota against the Wild.
One thing that’s key to success back-to-backs in having a viable backup goaltender. Paul Maurice and Dave Lowry drastically overworked Connor Hellebuyck through January and paid the price down the stretch; Bowness would be wise to flip the script and give Eric Comrie — or whoever ends up being the backup if Comrie goes elsewhere — the bulk of the tail-end games to keep Hellebuyck fresh.
Weekend Games More Common on the Road
Jets fans have complained for years that the schedule makers don’t give their team enough weekend home games, and once again this season, they’ll play more road games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays than home games.
They play 10 times on Fridays, four at home and six away; 14 times on Saturdays, seven at home and seven away; and 14 times on Sundays, six at home and eight away.
December the Busiest Month, Tuesday the Busiest Day of the Week
‘Tis the season to play hockey, fa la la la la, la la la la. December is the Jets’ busiest month, with 16 games in 31 days, including five in the first 10 days. January comes in a close second, with 15 games.
Tuesday is the busiest day of the week, with 16 games.
All-Star Game, Players’ Break Stack Nicely
The Jets won’t have any excuse to not perform well down the stretch — they will be well rested for what is always a crucial period in the ever-competitive Central.
They’ll get a big break at a key time as they don’t play from Jan. 31 through Feb. 10; the NHL All-Star Weekend takes place on Feb. 3-4 in Florida, and directly after is the team’s league-mandated five-day player break.
Notable Games, Promotions Abound
Some games you won’t want to miss include:
- The Dale Hawerchuk statue unveiling on Oct. 1 against the Oilers (preseason)
- The Jets’ home opener on Oct. 14 against the New York Rangers
- The first game against the Stanley Cup Champion Avalanche, on Oct. 19 in Denver
- The return of former Jets and new Panthers’ head coach Paul Maurice on Dec. 8
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers’ only visit on March 4
- The Kyle Connor bobblehead giveaway on March 6 against the San Jose Sharks
- Fan appreciation Day on April 10, also against the Sharks
The 2022-23 season is bound to be exciting. What do you think of the Jets’ schedule? Comment below!
Declan Schroeder is a 27-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.