CHARLOTTE Local Charlotte News — The sun is shining, and people are filling the parking lot at Bojangles Coliseum. It may be cornhole now, but fans are ready to see the Charlotte Checkers.
“Every time we get a chance, we try to go to a Checkers game,” said Jacob Patch, from Charlotte. “It’s cheap, family-friendly and you can’t really complain about it.”
The fans know exactly how long it’s been since players were on the ice.
“591 days, we have to add one more day since this puck was made,” says Bob Walker, attending the game with his twin brother. “So yeah, I’ve been counting the days, it’s the only sport I really follow.”
Some hugged on the way to their seats, and others say, if they must wear a mask due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s worth every shot.
“Being able to be together in big groups is exciting,” added Emily Gustafson, as she walked into the coliseum. “Being able to cheer and be excited about something and back together is very exciting.”
The team changed its NHL affiliation, no more Carolina Hurricanes prospects, this year the players’ contracts are owned by the Charlotte Panthers and the Seattle Kraken.
“I think we’re going to be an exciting team, just because we do have two NHL teams worth of prospects here,” said vice president of marketing and communications, Paul Branecky. “That in itself is a recipe for a good team. Because you have the best prospects from two different teams as opposed to just one.”
More prospects, more cowbell, and hopefully a lot more fun.
“The excitement of the goals, the comradery with the fans and people sitting around you, they’re in a great mood with friends and family having a real good time,” said Jim Walker.
“Having everybody back is honestly going to be a crowning achievement,” added Branecky. “Worth the wait, I guess you could say.”