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 Checkers at the top of your list.
One of the city’s oldest sports franchises, the Checkers have 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
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 $13 to $35 depending on seat selection.
At least once a month the team hosts $1 Bud Light draft 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?
Ice Access and Zamboni Rides
Want to ride on a Zamboni? The Checkers will make that happen.
They operate two Zambonis prior to and during the first and second intermissions of each home game. With 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 practice your slap shot like a pro hockey player? The Checkers can help with that, too.
On certain weekend games (December 17 and March 18), the Checkers do ‘Slap Shot Saturdays.’ If you stick around after the game, you can take a shot on goal!
The Checkers also offer two postgame ice skating sessions this season. The first one is January 22 after their 1 p.m. game with the Tucson Roadrunners (the players won’t be in attendance). The second is March 5 after their 1 p.m. match-up with the Bakersfield Condors (the players will be in attendance).
More Concession Choices Than You Can Shake A Stick At
Bojangles’ Coliseum has you covered for food and drink.
The main concourse features five anchor 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.
All In for the Fans
The Checkers embrace the idea of a great fan experience, well demonstrated during home games at the Coliseum.
Fans greet the players as they take the ice at the Red Line Club restaurant. 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 Checkers also hold great giveaways:
And you can’t mention the Checkers without noting the Checkers’ mascot, Chubby!
The oldest team mascot in Charlotte, 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 Chicago on March 26 when fans are invited to bring their dogs to the rink to celebrate. Kids Club members can also attend this game for free.
If These Walls Could Talk
The Checkers called the Coliseum home from 1956 to 2005, returning last season 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 Jimi Hendrix. Local Evangelist Billy Graham also held several crusades during the Coliseum’s early years.
Purchase single game tickets to upcoming Checkers home games online at Ticketmaster.
For info about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets and holiday packs, visit gocheckers.com or call 704-342-4423.