Sports

Five Reasons You Should Check Out a Checkers Game

If you're looking for a fun night out in the Queen City with family and friends, put an evening with the city's minor-league hockey team, the Charlotte Checkers at the top of your list.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Checkers

We are the Champions! The Charlotte Checkers capped off a record-breaking 2018-19 season with the franchise's first-ever AHL Calder Cup Championship.

One of the city's oldest sports franchises, Checkers hockey has long been an exciting part of the sports scene in Charlotte. They got their start as the Charlotte Clippers in 1956, moving from Baltimore after a fire destroyed their home ice rink. In the late ‘50s, a contest was held to rename the team with “Checkers” emerging as the winner. The rest is history.

Here are five reasons why a Charlotte Checkers game should be part of your season’s sports lineup.

Extra Perks Without the Extra Costs

If you're looking for a good time with family or friends that doesn't break the bank, a Checkers game may provide one of the most affordable sports experiences in Charlotte.

Whether it’s sitting right behind the glass or in the upper level, ticket prices are reasonable at Bojangles' Coliseum. Tickets run $18 to $42 depending on seat selection.

At least once a month the team hosts $1 beer nights and offers concessions at a fraction of the cost of other Charlotte sporting venues. Plus, complimentary pour over butter on popcorn is the standard. Who could ask for more?

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Photo courtesy Charlotte Checkers

Ice Access and Zamboni Rides

Want to ride on a Zamboni or skate on the ice? The Checkers can help.

They operate two Zambonis prior to and during the first and second intermissions of each home game. With advance notice and a $50 donation to the Charlotte Checkers Charitable Foundation, you can ride shotgun on top of the Zamboni as it glides its way across the ice.

Want to treat someone special with some Checkers game day fun? Look into the Starter of the Game package starting at $200 for ways to let your star kid suit up, high five players and join the Checkers’ starting lineup for pregame introductions. If you want to pop the question on the ice, look into the $500 Ultimate Announcement Package for your proposal or promposal.

The Checkers also offer three postgame ice skating sessions this season. Cost is $8 for those who bring their own skates and $12 for those who rent skates. You must have a game ticket to attend, and Checkers players will skate on the ice with fans.

  • Sunday, Dec. 1: Checkers vs. Providence
  • Sunday, Feb. 16: Checkers vs. Springfield - Teacher Appreciation
  • Sunday, March 15: Checkers vs. Providence - Chubby’s Birthday

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Charlotte Checkers - Photo by Patrick Schneider

More Concession Choices Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Bojangles’ Coliseum has you covered for food and drink.

Fans can greet players as they take the ice from their seat in the Red Line Club, a full-service restaurant and bar on the first floor of the Coliseum. A door to the rink is cut directly into the restaurant wall, creating a direct path from the Checkers locker room to the ice with the players walking within inches of the fans.

The main concourse features five anchor concession stands with various offerings. One stand includes pizza and Johnsonville all-beef hotdogs. The Local Tap area offers the Coliseum’s signature “Red Line Chili” as well as local craft beers. Kelly’s East Side Diner, a venue named after Charlotte hockey legend Pat Kelly, features burgers, fries and onion rings.

Finally, the Bojangles’ Chicken and Biscuits location provides Cajun Chicken sandwiches, seasoned fries, Supremes and legendary Sweet Tea.

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Photo courtesy of Charlotte Checkers

All for the Fans

The Checkers embrace the idea of a great fan experience, well demonstrated during home games at the Coliseum.

Here are some of the Checkers’ themed promotions that you don’t want to miss:

Saturday, Oct. 12: Checkers vs. Bridgeport – Oktoberfest
Saturday, Oct. 26: Checkers vs. Lehigh Valley – Dia de los Muertos
Saturday, Nov. 9: Checkers vs. Springfield – Military Appreciation
Saturday, Nov. 30: Checkers vs. Providence – My First Checkers Game & Teddy Bear Toss
Saturday, Dec. 14: Checkers vs Syracuse – Star Wars
Saturday, Dec. 21: Checkers vs. Lehigh Valley – Golf Night
Tuesday, Jan. 14: Checkers vs. Hershey – 1950’s Night
Saturday, Jan. 25: Checkers vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – NASCAR Night
Saturday, Feb. 15: Checkers vs. Springfield – Pink in the Rink
Saturday, March 14: Checkers vs. Providence – Cancer Sucks Night
Saturday, April 4: Checkers vs. Hershey – Caturday
Sunday, April 5: Checkers vs. Hershey – Pooch Party

And you can't mention the Checkers without noting the Checkers' mascot, Chubby the Polar Bear!

Chubby has been a staple of the local community for decades. When he's not entertaining fans on the ice, he’s found around town at special events. The Checkers have a big a birthday bash planned for Chubby during the season. He’ll celebrate his birthday during the Checkers game against the Providence on March 15.

Game Promotions

Bojangles' Coliseum - Photo by Patrick Schneider

If These Walls Could Talk

The Checkers called Bojangles’ Coliseum home from 1956 to 2005, returning in 2015 after 10 years at the Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena).

Bojangles’ Coliseum recently experienced a $16 million upgrade benefiting fans in several ways. Hockey fans now enjoy new seats, scoreboards, sound system and upgraded dining options. The team also enjoys new locker room facilities.

Built in 1955, the Coliseum was once among the South’s largest entertainment venues, attracting such music talents as Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix. Local Evangelist Billy Graham also held several crusades during the Coliseum's early years.

Bojangles' Coliseum is located in the Bojangles’ Entertainment Complex, a.k.a. “The BOplex.” With Ovens Auditorium nearby, be sure to bookmark The BOplex events calendar to be in the know of upcoming concerts, comedy shows or Broadway shows all year long.

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