Hawks to open season vs. Columbus

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will open the 2012-13 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the United Center against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the NHL announced on Thursday. Their first road game will be three days later in Winnipeg.

The Hawks will host their arch-rival Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 20, in their fourth game of the season, but don’t play at Joe Louis Arena for the first time until Feb. 13. Their other big rival, the Vancouver Canucks, don’t visit Chicago for the first time until Feb. 24 and then again on March 12. The Hawks play in Vancouver on Nov. 15 and Feb. 2.

Other highlights of the schedule include a home matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 30 for the first time since they eliminated Chicago from the playoffs in April. The annual “circus trip” for the Hawks, in late November, consists of six games but in only 10 days. The Hawks have two other six-game road trips just after the All-Star break in late January and then again in mid-March. The longest homestand consists of seven games at the United Center in mid-February.

The Hawks will face the Stanley cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the first time on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. They host the Kings on Nov. 27 and March 26.

The Hawks conclude the season the weekend of April 12 with a home- and-home series against division rival St. Louis. Their final seven games are against Central Division foes.

View the entire 2012-13 Blackhawks schedule here.