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Charlotte Checkers

The Charlotte Checkers are a minor-league professional ice hockey team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the American Hockey League (AHL), and are the top minor-league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Checkers play their home games at Bojangles' Coliseum. The current organization is the third team by this name; it succeeded a Checkers franchise which played in the ECHL from 1993 until the end of the 2009–10 ECHL season. The original Checkers team played in the city from 1956 to 1977, originally in the Eastern Hockey League and then in the Southern Hockey League. The franchise is one of six teams to replace and share a name with a predecessor franchise from a lower-tier league; the others are the Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Ontario Reign, Rockford IceHogs, and San Diego Gulls.

Charlotte Checkers
2019–20 AHL season
Charlotte Checkers (AHL) logo.svg
CityCharlotte, North Carolina
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
ConferenceEastern
DivisionAtlantic
Founded1990
Operated2010–present
Home arenaBojangles' Coliseum
ColorsRed, black, silver, white
                   
Owner(s)Michael Kahn
General managerDon Waddell
Head coachRyan Warsofsky
Media730 The Game
AHL.TV (Internet)
AffiliatesCarolina Hurricanes (NHL)
Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL)
Franchise history
1990–1993Capital District Islanders
1993–2010Albany River Rats
2010–presentCharlotte Checkers
Championships
Regular season titles1 (2018–19)
Division Championships1 (2018–19)
Conference Championships1 (2018–19)
Calder Cups1 (2018–19)

HistoryEdit

The franchise was originally based in Troy, New York, as the Capital District Islanders from 1990 to 1993. They then became the Albany River Rats from 1993 to 2010, until the River Rats were sold to MAK Hockey, LLC, led by Charlotte beer distributor Michael Kahn, owner of the ECHL Checkers.[1] The new ownership relocated the team to Charlotte for the 2010–11 season, renaming the franchise the "Charlotte Checkers", and relinquished the ECHL franchise to the league.[2][3]

The Checkers are the second North Carolina-based team to play at the highest level of minor-league hockey, following the Carolina Monarchs, who played in Greensboro from 1995 to 1997. The Checkers inherited the River Rats' affiliation with the Hurricanes, in keeping with a recent trend to have NHL teams' top affiliates as geographically close to their parent teams as possible in order to ease movement between the AHL and the NHL.

Playing at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the Checkers' first home game on October 15, 2010, in front of 12,512 spectators which set an attendance record for a hockey game in Charlotte. On February 26, 2011, the attendance record was broken as 12,933 fans watched the Charlotte Checkers defeat the Connecticut Whale 1–0. Almost a year later, on February 25, 2012, the attendance record was broken yet again as 13,102 fans watched the Checkers fall to the Oklahoma City Barons, 3–2.[4] On April 11, 2015, the attendance record was broken a third time as 13,219 fans watched the last Checkers game at Time Warner Cable Arena, a 2–0 loss to the Rockford Icehogs.[5]

In late 2014, the Checkers announced they would return in the following season to the Bojangles' Coliseum, the home of the previous Checkers teams until 2005.[6] As Kahn detailed, the move would reconnect with said team legacy. Additionally, having a dedicated arena allowed for "greater control over every aspect of our business, including scheduling, amenities, game presentation and sponsorship inventory." To make sure the Coliseum was up to AHL standards, the Charlotte City Council arranged to provide $16 million to fund renovations.[7][8] While Time Warner Cable Arena had been one of the largest arenas in the AHL, it left much to be desired as a hockey venue. It seated 14,100 people, but over 4,000 seats had obstructed views.[9]

 
Panoramic view of Bojangles' Coliseum for Game 2 of the 2019 Calder Cup Finals, against the Chicago Wolves.

In Charlotte on May 9 and 10, 2018, in game four of the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs, the Checkers and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms played the longest game in the history of the American Hockey League. A 1–1 tie was broken by a Phantoms' goal at 6:48 of the fifth overtime period, more than six hours after the game began. The Checkers made 95 shots against Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon.[10]

The 2018–19 season was the Checkers' best season as an AHL team to date and one of the best in Charlotte's hockey history. They won their first division title with 110 points and the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for the league's best regular season record. It was the first time a Charlotte hockey team had broken the 100-point barrier since the SHL Checkers earned 101 points in 1974–75. They defeated the defending champion Toronto Marlies in the Eastern Conference finals to advance to their first Calder Cup final. They defeated the Chicago Wolves in five games to win their first AHL title, and the seventh hockey championship by a Charlotte-based team.

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Games Won Lost OTL SOL Points PCT Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing Year 1st
round
2nd
round
3rd
round
Finals
2010–11 80 44 27 2 7 97 .606 265 243 3rd, East 2011 W, 4–2, HER W, 4–2, WBS L, 0–4, BNG
2011–12 76 38 29 3 6 85 .559 209 214 3rd, Midwest 2012 Did not qualify
2012–13 76 42 26 4 4 92 .605 226 202 2nd, South 2013 L, 2–3, OKC
2013–14 76 37 36 1 2 77 .507 228 241 4th, West 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 76 31 38 6 1 69 .454 172 231 4th, West 2015 Did not qualify
2015–16 76 36 32 3 5 80 .526 214 229 5th, Central 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 76 39 29 7 1 86 .566 212 208 4th, Central 2017 L, 2–3, CHI
2017–18 76 46 26 1 3 96 .632 261 212 3rd, Atlantic 2018 W, 3–0, WBS L, 1–4, LV
2018–19 76 51 17 7 1 110 .724 255 189 1st, Atlantic 2019 W, 3–1, PRO W, 4–0, HER W, 4–2, TOR W, 4–1, CHI

PlayersEdit

Current rosterEdit

Updated November 14, 2019.[11][12]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
26   Casey Bailey C/RW R 28 2019 Anchorage, Alaska Checkers
24   Jake Bean D L 21 2017 Calgary, Alberta Hurricanes
11   Clark Bishop C L 23 2016 St. John's, Newfoundland Hurricanes
22   Fredrik Claesson D L 26 2019 Stockholm, Sweden Hurricanes
14   Cavan Fitzgerald D L 23 2019 Boston, Massachusetts Checkers
31   Anton Forsberg G L 26 2019 Härnösand, Sweden Hurricanes
2   Gustav Forsling D L 23 2019 Linköping, Sweden Hurricanes
12   Julien Gauthier RW R 22 2017 Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec Hurricanes
19   Morgan Geekie C R 21 2018 Strathclair, Manitoba Hurricanes
37   Dave Gust RW R 25 2019 Orland Park, Illinois Checkers
31   Jeremy Helvig G L 22 2018 Markham, Ontario Hurricanes
23   Janne Kuokkanen C L 21 2017 Oulunsalo, Finland Hurricanes
32   Cedric Lacroix LW L 25 2019 Shefford, Quebec Checkers
10   Steven Lorentz C L 23 2017 Waterloo, Ontario Hurricanes
9   Anthony Louis LW/C L 24 2019 Winfield, Illinois Checkers
27   Eetu Luostarinen C L 21 2019 Siilinjärvi, Finland Hurricanes
6   Colin Markison RW R 27 2019 Princeton, New Jersey Checkers
16   Stelio Mattheos   RW R 20 2019 Winnipeg, Manitoba Hurricanes
26   Max McCormick LW L 27 2019 De Pere, Wisconsin Hurricanes
3   Roland McKeown D R 23 2016 Listowel, Ontario Hurricanes
30   Alex Nedeljkovic G L 23 2016 Parma, Ohio Hurricanes
7   Chase Priskie D R 23 2019 Pembroke Pines, Florida Hurricanes
25   Jacob Pritchard LW L 24 2019 Macomb Township, Michigan Hurricanes
29   Derek Sheppard D L 25 2018 Scarborough, Ontario Checkers
28   Hunter Shinkaruk C L 25 2019 Calgary, Alberta Checkers
18   Spencer Smallman RW R 23 2017 Summerside, Prince Edward Island Hurricanes
5   Kyle Wood D R 23 2019 Waterloo, Ontario Hurricanes

Team captainsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Capital District Sports announce River Rats sale". Albany River Rats. 2010-02-10. Archived from the original on 2010-02-21. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  2. ^ "AHL Hockey coming to Charlotte in 2010-11". Charlotte Checkers. 2010-02-10. Archived from the original on 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  3. ^ "Charlotte added to AHL for 2010-11". American Hockey League. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  4. ^ "Checkers break record in loss to Barons". Charlotte Observer. 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  5. ^ "Checkers fall to Rockford in front of record crowd". Charlotte Checkers. 2015-04-11. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  6. ^ The Charlotte Checkers would like to move back to Bojangles' Coliseum
  7. ^ Checkers Make Return to Bojangles' Coliseum Official
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Charlotte City Council Approves Funding to Renovate Bojangles' Coliseum - Charlotte Checkers Hockey - gocheckers.com". www.gocheckers.com. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  10. ^ "MARATHON MEN: PHANTOMS WIN LONGEST AHL GAME EVER". AHL. May 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Charlotte Checkers Team Roster". Charlotte Checkers. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  12. ^ "Eliteprospects.com Charlotte Checkers". Eliteprospects.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.

External linksEdit