SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego's minor league hockey team announced Thursday that its inaugural season will begin Oct. 10 at the Valley View Casino Center.

The San Diego Gulls will play host to Grand Rapids, with face-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m., starting a 68-game American Hockey League season that will feature 34 home matches.

The campaign will end with a pair of home games against Ontario April 15 and 16.

The AHL announced in January that it would form a five-team Pacific Division, and award San Diego its first professional hockey franchise in nine years. The Gulls are affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks.

The westward shift was made, in part, to ease travel schedules for National Hockey League teams like the Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and others when they move players up and down in their organizations.

Season tickets are on sale now. Individual game tickets will go on sale next month, according to the Gulls.

San Diego had not had a professional hockey team since the San Diego Gulls folded in 2006, when negotiations to sell the team in time for the 2006- 07 season failed.

The city's pro hockey history dates back to 1944. The Gulls won five titles between 1996 and 2003.

Anaheim's AHL franchise had been located in Norfolk.