Chris Breen and the Abbotsford Heat host their home opener Oct. 11 vs. the Milwaukee Admirals. Their first games of the regular season are on the road

Chris Breen and the Abbotsford Heat host their home opener Oct. 11 vs. the Milwaukee Admirals. Their first games of the regular season are on the road

Heat schedule released: Home opener Oct. 11 vs. Milwaukee

The American Hockey League released its 2013-14 regular season schedule on Thursday, and the Abbotsford Heat are set to start on the road.

The American Hockey League released its 2013-14 regular season schedule on Thursday, and the Abbotsford Heat are set to start on the road in Cleveland.

The Heat travel to take on the Lake Erie Monsters in a two-game set, Oct. 4-5. It’s the second time in three years Abbotsford is opening in Cleveland – they also did so in 2011-12.

The first regular season home games at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre are the following weekend, as the Milwaukee Admirals visit on Oct. 11-12.

Other schedule highlights are as follows, and the complete schedule can be viewed at theahl.com.

• As announced on Wednesday, the Heat will host the Utica Comets, the Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL affiliate, seven times in 2013-14. That includes a preseason game on Sept. 22, plus six regular season games. The regular season home dates vs. Utica are Nov. 29-30, Jan. 24-25, and March 14-15. The two teams also play six times in Utica.

• When the Heat were grouped with the Charlotte Checkers in the West Division as part of an AHL realignment back in July, it was an eyebrow-raiser. But the two teams will only play each other four times, rather than the typical eight times divisional foes see each other. The Checkers travel to Abbotsford for a pair of games Feb. 4-5, with the Heat making a reciprocal trip for games Feb. 14 and 16.

• The Heat’s longest road trip of the season is a seven-game jaunt, beginning Nov. 13 at the Texas Stars and wrapping up Nov. 24 at the Iowa Wild. As longest trips go, this one is actually relatively short – the Heat had a nine-game stint away from home in 2009-10, a 10-gamer in 2010-11, and an eight-gamer in 2012-13.

• Abbotsford’s longest homestand is eight games, a situation which occurs twice on the schedule – once in late January/early February, and once in late February/early March.

• All of the Heat’s home games begin at 7 p.m., with five exceptions. The team’s four Sunday games will all be afternoon starts. Three of those – Nov. 10 vs. the Toronto Marlies, Feb. 9 vs. the Texas Stars and March 9 vs. the Chicago Wolves – have an opening faceoff at 4 p.m., while the April 13 game vs. the Oklahoma City Barons begins at 1 p.m.

The Heat’s Tuesday, March 4 home date with the Texas Stars begins at 10:30 a.m., which would presumably signify the annual school day game.