Charlotte Checkers

Charlotte Checkers

Weather forces AHL’s Charlotte Checkers to play game in empty arena (Video)

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The Director of Finance/Controller filled in as the public address announcer. The Chief Operating Officer acted as the arena DJ. Ticket sales staff? They worked as the ice crew. A corporate salesperson ran the video board. The camerawoman regularly handles merchandise. Even the mascot, Chubby, was played by a corporate servicing specialist.

Wednesday night wasn’t your typical American Hockey League game at Bojangles’ Coliseum for the Charlotte Checkers. Inclement weather in the area forced the team to close the game to the public. But since the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and referees were already in town, and it would have been difficult to get Bridgeport back to Charlotte for a makeup, it was game on.

So in front of a crowd of, well, Checkers employees doubling as game operations staff, the teams played and the home side came out on top 4-3, thanks to a three-goal third period.

Here’s what a goal by the home team sounded like:

The lack of a crowd didn’t stop the Checkers from acting like it was a normal game day. The mascot kept working and even “Cotton-Eyed Joe” was played to rev up the…players, I guess? It also wouldn’t have been a game night without the “Kiss Cam.”

Tonight was fun. Thanks for following along and staying safe. #BehindClosedDoors2

A post shared by Charlotte Checkers (@checkershockey) on

This wasn’t the first time the team has played a game that was closed to the public. Back in 2016 Winter Storm Jonas caused a number of sporting events to be postponed, but not for the Checkers, who had their staff run the game.

The Checkers are off the next two days as they prepare to face the Rochester Americans in a two-game set this weekend. The weather in Charlotte will be much better over the next couple of days, which means the Checkers’ staff will be able to get back to their regular jobs.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canes’ Murphy: ‘I was a little spoiled last year’


Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy is in his second full season with the organization and getting used to the shuttle service between Carolina and Charlotte.

He began this season, like last, with the Hurricanes, but once again has seen time in the American Hockey League with the Checkers.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster… getting the demotion and going down and playing in Charlotte,” Murphy told PHT this week. “But I took it as an opportunity to work hard and get back up here.

“The last 10 games since I’ve been (in the NHL) have been good to me.”

Murphy made the Canes’ opening day roster last season out of training camp and appeared in 48 games with Carolina recording 12 points, 10 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating while averaging 18:17 in ice time a night. Near the midway mark of the season the Canes sent Murphy to the AHL where he appeared in 22 games scoring three goals and 22 points to go along with a plus-7 rating.

Murphy isn’t frustrated at the notion of going through a similar process this season.

“I think I was a little spoiled last year,” he said. “I never got a taste of the American league, I went straight to the NHL (from junior) and getting that demotion just over the halfway mark, near the Olympic break, was a bit upsetting for me, but then again, it was an opportunity for me to go down and try to work hard to get back up.”

A year older, Murphy, 21, better understands the situation this season.

“I know how it goes, only the elite, very elite defensemen can make it as an 18, 19, 20-year-old, that’s a tough thing to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of mature hockey players out here and I’m just trying to do my best to have good body positioning and get stronger every day.”

Murphy has spent 25 games this season with the Checkers collecting 17 assists, 10 penalty minutes and a minus-7 rating. He’s had the added help of retired NHL defenseman Steve Smith, who joined the Hurricanes coaching staff in the offseason.

“Any time he tells you something about the defensive zone, you definitely want to apply it to your game,” said Muprhy. “He’s obviously a man that’s played a lot of games in this league. Although our games aren’t exactly the same, he still knows a lot and anytime he tells you anything, you really want to emphasize putting it into your game.”

Now in his second full season as a professional, Murphy understands what he needs to do to stick at the NHL level.

“Take care of my own zone first and after that, let my offensive ability take over, but defense first for sure,” he said.

Murphy is currently in the AHL and will represent the Checkers at the AHL All-Star Classic, but the expectation is he’ll return to Carolina following the All-Star break.

Video: Canes’ Rask scores first NHL goal

The Carolina Hurrcanes bid for a second straight win is off to a good start.

Rookie Victor Rask has his first NHL goal and the ‘Canes lead the L.A. Kings 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Rask, Carolina’s 2011 second-round pick (42nd overall), is appearing in his 10th career game tonight. The 21-year-old had 16 goals and 39 points in 76 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League last season.

Canes add LaRose, cut nine

The Carolina Hurricanes announced Saturday the club has added forward Chad LaRose to its’ training camp roster on a professional tryout.

LaRose, who sat out the entire 2013-14 season, signed a contract with the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, this summer.

The 32-year-old scored 85 goals and 80 points to go along with 286 penalty minutes in 508 career NHL games all with Carolina before missing last season.

Additionally, the Canes’ announced defensemen Trevor Carrick, Dennis Robertson and Keegan Lowe along with goaltender Daniel Altshuller were assigned to the Checkers.

Carolina has placed forwards Ben Holmstrom, Justin Shugg, Greg Nemisz and Jared Staal on waivers. All four will be assigned to Charlotte if they clear.

Forward Kyle Hagel, who has an AHL contract with Charlotte, has been released from Hurricanes’ camp.

Jeff Skinner doesn’t report to AHL Charlotte’s camp

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Jeff Skinner was projected to be one of the AHL’s top players for the duration of the lockout, but it remains to be seen if he’ll actually play in the league.

He chose not to report to the Charlotte Checkers’ training camp for fitness testing on Friday and Checkers coach Jeff Daniels doesn’t expected Skinner to be on the ice with them tomorrow, according to the Checkers’ official website.

“He’s still back in the Toronto area training,” said Daniels. “He has the team’s consent, and we’ll see where things go from here.”

The Hurricanes assigned Skinner to the AHL prior to the lockout, which gives him the option to play for Charlotte if he so chooses.

“If this lockout drags on and he decides he wants to play some games, Charlotte will be an option for him,” said Daniels.

Checkers fans can still take comfort in the fact that the team expects the other players on their camp roster to attend, including Justin Faulk, who played in 66 NHL games last season.