PHOTO: The Canmore Eagles will open their 2015-16 AJHL season with a home game against the Brooks Bandits on Friday, September 11. (Julie Wilson photo)

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has released their official schedule for the 2015-16 season and the Canmore Eagles will open their 21st season with a home game against the Brooks Bandits on Friday, September 11.

The 60-game regular season schedule will conclude for the Eagles with a home game on Friday, March 4th against the Drumheller Dragons.

Canmore’s 29-game home schedule will see the Eagles play just three home games during the month of September, five games during the months of October, November and February, four games in December, six games in January, and one game in March.

Of their 29 home games, the Eagles schedule will feature 11 Saturday night games, 10 Friday night games, five Tuesday night games, one Sunday afternoon, and one game on the Monday of the Family Day long weekend. The Eagles will also play one home game in Banff on Tuesday, December 8.

“The schedule is never perfect for any team, but we’re generally pleased with how everything worked out for us in regard to our home games,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Having just three home games in September is a good thing for us because it’s sometimes difficult to attract hockey fans to the rink when the weather is nice and everyone wants to be outside. We also like the fact that we have 21 of our home games scheduled for either Friday or Saturday nights when attendance levels are generally higher.”

With a favourable home schedule, the Eagles are hoping that attendance levels will improve this season as the team saw a small drop in overall attendance numbers last season dropping from 12,565 in 2013-14 to 12,160 in 2014-15.

“We took a big hit on three homes last season and that really hurt our overall attendance numbers,” confirmed Milne. “Last year we had a home game on Halloween night and we had a very small crowd. We also had two home games on a late November weekend when Canmore got hit with a massive blizzard with temperatures hitting minus 25 and snowfalls amounts of plus 25 cms. If we take those three games out of the equation, our attendance might have been up from the previous year.”

NOTEBOOK: Training camp for the Eagles will begin on Thursday, August 27 with the annual Blue-White intersquad game set for Sunday, August 30. . .  Canmore will play three exhibition games with a split squad playing a home and away game against Olds on Tuesday, September 1, an away game against Calgary Canucks on Thursday, Sept. 3 and a home game against the same Canucks on Friday, Sept. 4. (The Sept. 4 home game was orginally scheduled for Thursday Sept. 3) . . . This year’s annual “Showcase Weekend” event will move from Spruce Grove to Camrose with the Eagles scheduled to face the Grande Prairie Storm on Friday, October 2 and the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday, October 3.