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Lake Erie Monsters release 2015-16 schedule

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The team's first season as the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate begins on Friday, October 9

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They don't yet have a roster, but the Lake Erie Monsters do have a full slate of games to play for the upcoming season.

The American Hockey League released its 2015-16 schedule earlier today, and for the Monsters it kicks off on Friday, October 9, in Rochester, NY, for a game against the Rochester Americans. The home opener at Quicken Loans Arena comes a week later on October 16 against the Iowa Wild.

Here's a link to the Monsters' full 76-game regular-season schedule.

As minor league schedules go, the Monsters' slate is fairly typical. It includes a 10-game bus trip extravaganza spanning nearly three full weeks from December 31 through January 18. It also includes a pair of home dates against the San Antonio Rampage in mid-February. The Rampage are the affiliates of the Colorado Avalanche, a position held by the Monsters for eight seasons before they hooked up with the Blue Jackets this year. There should be plenty of familiar faces in Rampage jerseys that weekend when San Antonio invades the Q.

San Antonio is one of two members of the newly created AHL Pacific Division (along with the Texas Stars) whom the Monsters will square off against this season. The rest of the Pacific Division comprises five California-based teams who will spend most of the season primarily playing each other, presumably in the interest of cutting down on travel costs. Interestingly, those California teams will only play 68 games during the regular season, while others in the league will have 76-game schedules like Lake Erie.