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Hurricanes’ Top Minor League Team Moving to Charlotte

Charlotte Checkers owner Michael Kahn today announced his purchase of the AHL’s Albany River Rats, a Carolina Hurricanes affiliate. The AHL team’s new name will be the “Charlotte Checkers”, and the team will play its games in the Time Warner Cable basketball arena in Charlotte. The ECHL Charlotte Checkers will move elsewhere, likely to another North Carolina city if the team is not sold to another owner.

What this means to the Hurricanes is perhaps a strengthened fan base. As fans in the western part of the state follow the Charlotte team, they are bound to follow the players’ journeys up to Raleigh. It also greatly increases the chances of seeing the Carolina Hurricanes hold an exhibition game each year in Charlotte (after the already-booked 2010 preseason). Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford clearly made the point at the press conference today about this being a part of the franchise’s long term strategy of growing the sport of hockey in the state of North Carolina.

seating_hockey[1] No need to worry about this being Part A of a takeover scheme by the powers that be in Charlotte. For an NHL team to move the Charlotte, a new arena would have to be built. The TWC Arena has a short axis, much like the Dean Smith Center and the U.S. Airways Center (home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns). The short axis makes for a superior basketball configuration, but results in an unacceptable compromise for hockey. There are several bad options, and the Charlotte Checkers have opted to bizarrely offset the ice such that one of the blue lines runs through the center of the building. The result is that there is absolutely no seating beyond the faceoff circles on one end of the ice.

  • Subway Scoundrel

    Good move by Canes. Would like to see The Checks make it to the Calder Cup and then the city of Charlotte would become more of a hockey city. All good for the Canes. I too, don’t worry about the Canes moving to Charlotte for several reasons, especially the arena.

    Also, with all the young talent coming into the Canes system with all the draft picks they have now and will have my march 3rd, should be good hockey in Charlotte.

  • Brian

    The ice in TWC Arena is VERY similar to San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

  • http://www.charlottemoversguide.com Movers Charlotte

    I think it’s a good move. I would look forward to see what happens next.

  • http://www.milestonerelocation.com Moving Companies Charlotte NC

    Based on what I read here, looks like this move at least will not hurt. Anyway, standing still is same as going backwards :)

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