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Bandits to open season at home Jan. 9

Life for the Buffalo Bandits without John Tavares on the field begins on Jan. 9, 2016.

The National Lacrosse League released its 2016 schedule on Tuesday, and the Bandits will open with a home game against the Calgary Roughnecks. It will mark the first time in team history that Buffalo will be without Tavares, an original Bandit who announced his retirement last week after 24 years on the team.

The Bandits have two sets of back-to-back games on the 18-game schedule. The first comes on Feb. 19 and 20, at Toronto and vs. Georgia, respectively. Then on April 15-16, Buffalo will play Toronto home-and-home with the Bandits playing at home on April 16.

Buffalo plays its first-ever game in Saskatchewan on Feb. 26, as the Rush moved from Edmonton in the offseason. Georgia, the former Minnesota Swarm, hosts Buffalo on Feb. 14 and April 2. The Bandits close the season with six straight divisional games.

The Bandits will play seven Saturday night games at home and two on Friday nights. All games will begin at 7:30 p.m.

It’s the 30th season for the National Lacrosse League. It begins on Jan. 1 when Colorado hosts Georgia.

The 2016 schedule:

Sat., Jan. 9 vs. Calgary, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 16 at Colorado, 9 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 23 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 30 at New England, 7 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 6 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 14 at Georgia, 2:05 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 19 at Toronto, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 20 vs. Georgia, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 26 at Saskatchewan, 8:30 p.m.

Sat., March 5 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m.; Fri., March 11 vs. Rochester , 7:30 p.m.; Fri., March 25 vs. Vancouver , 7:30 p.m.

Sat., April 2 at Georgia, 7:05 p.m.; Sat., April 9 vs. Rochester, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., April 15 at Toronto, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 16 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., April 23 at Rochester, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 30 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.