The St. John’s Edge will open up their 2019-20 National Basketball League of Canada season on the road in a rematch of the most recent league final.
The Edge take on the defending champion Moncton Magic Dec. 27 in what is the first game of St. John’s 36-game regular-season schedule.
The first home contest for the Edge is Jan. 7, when they host the KW Titans at Mile One Centre.
You can find the complete schedule for the Edge here.
The new NBL Canada season is set to begin on Boxing Day when the Magic, who swept the Edge in the most recent final, are in Charlottetown, P.E.I., to play the Island Storm.
It’s been known for some time that the schedule would start up Dec. 26, but release of a detailed list of games was delayed as the league sorted out its roster of teams, including determining whether or not the Cape Breton Highlanders would be playing and awaiting confirmation of the Edge, which came about when the team recently agreed to a new lease deal at Mile One.
The league will operate with eight teams, down from 10 in 2019-20; the Highlanders and Saint John Riptide are taking what has been described as one-year hiatuses.
The late December start is about a month later than last season, when NBLC games began in November. However, with fewer teams and each of them playing 36 games (as opposed to 40 last season), there are a total of 144 total regular-season contests, down more than 25 per cent from the 200 played in 2018-19, allowing for a more condensed schedule.
Here are some notes about the league schedule, with a focus on the Edge:
• St. John’s will have four homestands and four road trips, of varying lengths.
For example, the Edge will be home for nearly a month for their first stretch at Mile One, when they play eight games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 5. But their next couple of home stays will be consist of just two games in two days. They finish up their regular season with six games at home in early April.
Part of the reason for that lengthy first homestand is because it features a stretch where the Edge don’t play for 13 days( Jan. 8-21). That’s in part to accommodate their Mile One roommates, the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, who have games at that time.
In fact, there are two more instances of notable home breaks, although not as long. They’re from Jan. 26 to Feb., 4 and from March 13 to March 24. Again, in both cases, there are Growlers games involved.
• St. John’s will make one road trip to the Maritimes, a six-game season-opening trek. The other three are to Ontario; one is six games in length, one involves four games, while another consists of just two contests.
Each road trip presents a challenge. The first one sees the team playing six games in 11 days, with five separate bus trips. In each of the three jaunts to Ontario, the Edge will be playing back-to-games sandwiched around a five-hour trip to or from Sudbury.
• All teams are playing unbalanced and differing schedules.
The Edge’s might be most evenly apportioned. They have six games each against the Titans, Magic, Halifax Hurricanes and Sudbury Five, and four each against the Windsor Express, London Lightning and Storm.
Halifax and Moncton each play four games at Mile One. The other five teams visit St. John’s twice.
But some teams have extremely unbalanced schedules. The Magic for example, play 18, or half, of their games, against just two opponents, the Storm (10 games) and the Hurricanes (8), but have just two versus Windsor
• The Edge play five home games on Tuesdays, four on Wednesdays, three on Sundays, two on Saturday’s and one each on Thursday and Friday. Most games at Mile One have 7 p.m. starts, although Sunday games will be played in the afternoon and there is a Saturday contest with a 6 p.m. tip-off.
• The league hasn’t officially announced the format, but the standings window on the league’s website shows the teams in one conference as opposed to the two-division set-up lof last season.