The Portland Winterhawks will open and close the the 2011-12 Western Hockey League season at home and play about half their games at the Rose Garden and the rest at Memorial Coliseum again.

The Hawks' 72-game schedule includes the annual New Year's Eve game at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Portland will open on Friday, Sept. 23 against the Everett Silvertips and end the regular season March 18 against Seattle.

In seeking repeat U.S. Division and Western Conference titles, the Hawks will play 24 of their 36 home games on Friday (11), Saturday (nine) or Sunday (four). Also, Portland has two home Monday afternoon matinee matches on holidays - Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) versus Tri-City and Feb. 20 (Presidents Day) against Prince George.

Coach Mike Johnston and the Hawks will have two five-game homestands and one nine-game road trip, Oct. 21 through Nov. 5. The sixth game on that trip will be a rematch of the 2011 WHL finals between Portland and the Kootenay Ice.

Back in the league is Victoria, and the Hawks will visit the Royals on March 14 and 16. Victoria will play at Portland on Dec. 28 and 30.

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