Columbus, GA - The Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League announced their full 2012-13 playing schedule on Friday. The 56-game season will consist of 28 games in the friendly confines of the Columbus Civic Center and 28 games away from the Snake Pit. With the Snakes being in the geographic center of the SPHL with no team more than an eight-hour bus ride from Columbus, the team has a fairly balanced schedule but weighted some towards closer teams and rivals.
The Cottonmouths open the season with a rematch of last season's President's Cup Finals as the Pensacola Ice Flyers visit the Snake Pit on Friday, October 26. The Snakes will be presented with championship rings and the championship banner will be raised to the Columbus Civic Center rafters, just a small part of a big opening night of hockey for the upcoming season. In all, the Cottonmouths and Ice Flyers will tangle 10 times this season, with four games in Columbus and six games in "The Hangar," the Ice Flyers' nickname for their home Pensacola Civic Center and the building where the Snakes captured the President's Cup championship last April.
The Snakes will also face the intrastate rival Augusta RiverHawks ten times this season, five in Augusta and five in Columbus. The regular season champion 'Hawks will first face the Snakes on Thursday, December 13 at Augusta's James Brown Arena, with the first Augusta game in the Snake Pit not scheduled until January 15. As with last season, the two teams will finish the regular season with a matchup in Columbus, set for March 23. The Peach Cup, the trophy between the Snakes and RiverHawks booster clubs for the best regular season record each season, will again be up for grabs.
As far as the other SPHL opponents go, the Fayetteville FireAntz will face the Snakes eight times with four home games and four away games at Fayetteville's Crown Coliseum. The four games in the Snake Pit against the 'Antz will be a pair of back-to-back weekend dates on December 7 and 8 and January 25 and 26.
The Cottonmouths will renew their rivalry with the Knoxville Ice Bears this season with seven games between the two squads, four in Columbus and three in the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The Ice Bears will visit the Snake Pit for the second home game of the season on Tuesday, November 6.
The Mississippi Surge will battle the Snakes seven times this season as well but with three games in Columbus and four at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. The other Magnolia State entry in the SPHL, the Mississippi RiverKings, will match up against the Cottonmouths four times this season, two home and two away. While the Snakes visit the Landers Center in Southaven to face the 'Kings on December 1 and February 2, the RiverKings will not play their two games in Columbus until February 9 and March 8.
The Snakes will also face the Louisiana IceGators, who they dispatched in the first round of the playoffs last season, four times, with two games in Columbus on November 17 and December 15 and a back-to-back pair of games in Lafayette in the Cottonmouths' only visit to the Cajundome on February 28 and March 1.
The longtime rival Huntsville Havoc will face the Snakes six times this year, with four visits to Columbus and only two trips to the Von Braun Center's Propst Arena in Huntsville, with those coming late in the season on February 23 and March 7. The Snakes will be looking to see how far they can carry their unblemished record against the Havoc as they swept both the regular season series and best-of-three playoff series against the Havoc last season.
The home schedule is a favorable one for weekend dates as 22 of the 28 home games will be played either on Friday or Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons. Ten games will be played on Friday with nine on Saturday and three 4 PM ET Sunday matinees. The other six contests consist of five Tuesdays and a lone Thursday game against Pensacola on January 3. All non-Sunday games will have a 7:30 PM ET scheduled puck drop.
The Cottonmouths will also play a pair of exhibition contests on October 19 and 20 against the Knoxville Ice Bears at the Columbus Ice Rink, located adjacent to the Columbus Civic Center. Limited seating is available as the Ice Rink only holds 500 spectators as opposed to the 7,500+ seats in the Snake Pit. Tickets are $10 for one game or $15 for both, with all proceeds going to charity. Tickets are currently available for season ticket holders until October 7, after which they will be made available to the general public.
A full schedule is listed here (all times Eastern). The dates, times, and opponents are accurate as of release time but are subject to change.
Friday, October 26 - vs. Pensacola, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, November 6 - vs. Knoxville, 7:30 PM
Friday, November 16 - vs. Knoxville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 17 - vs. Louisiana, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, November 20 - vs. Pensacola, 7:30 PM
Friday, November 30 - vs. Knoxville, 7:30 PM
Friday, December 7 - vs. Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 8 - vs. Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 15 - vs. Louisiana, 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 16 - vs. Huntsville, 4:00 PM
Friday, December 21 - vs. MS Surge, 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 29 - vs. Huntsville, 7:30 PM
Thursday, January 3 - vs. Pensacola, 7:30 PM
Friday, January 4 - vs. Huntsville, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, January 8 - vs. Knoxville, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, January 15 - vs. Augusta, 7:30 PM
Sunday, January 20 - vs. Augusta, 4:00 PM
Friday, January 25 - vs. Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, January 26 - vs. Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 9 - vs. MS RiverKings, 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 10 - vs. Augusta, 4:00 PM
Saturday, February 16 - vs. Huntsville, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, February 19 - vs. Knoxville, 7:30 PM
Friday, February 22 - vs. Augusta, 7:30 PM
Friday, March 8 - vs. MS RiverKings, 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 9 - vs. MS RiverKings, 7:30 PM
Friday, March 22 - vs. Pensacola, 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 23 - vs. Augusta, 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 3 - at Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Friday, November 9 - at MS Surge, 8:05 PM
Wednesday, November 21 - at MS Surge, 8:05 PM
Saturday, November 24 - at Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 1 - at MS RiverKings, 8:05 PM
Thursday, December 13 - at Augusta, 7:35 PM
Thursday, December 20 - at Knoxville, 7:35 PM
Thursday, December 27 - at Knoxville, 7:35 PM
Friday, December 28 - at MS RiverKings, 8:05 PM
Monday, December 31 - at Fayetteville, 6:00 PM
Saturday, January 5 - at Augusta, 7:35 PM
Friday, January 11 - at Augusta, 7:35 PM
Saturday, January 12 - at Knoxville, 7:35 PM
Friday, January 18 - at Pensacola, 8:05 PM
Thursday, January 24 - at Pensacola, 7:05 PM
Friday, February 1 - at Pensacola, 8:05 PM
Saturday, February 2 - at MS RiverKings, 8:05 PM
Friday, February 8 - at Fayetteville, 7:30 PM
Friday, February 15 - at Pensacola, 8:05 PM
Saturday, February 23 - at Huntsville, 8:30 PM
Sunday, February 24 - at Pensacola, 4:05 PM
Thursday, February 28 - at Louisiana, 8:05 PM
Friday, March 1 - at Louisiana, 8:05 PM
Saturday, March 2 - at MS Surge, 8:05 PM
Thursday, March 7 - at Huntsville, 8:30 PM
Saturday, March 16 - at Knoxville, 7:35 PM
Tuesday, March 19 - at Pensacola, 7:05 PM