Thoughts on game day, brimming with opinions that may or may not be popular:
1. What is it going to take to get legitimate news coverage for the Checkers in Charlotte? I realize that print journalism is not what it once was, but I did a little research about the guy who was listed as a “corespondent” on the article that was in yesterday’s Observer, and another in today’s listing what the Checkers have to do to beat the Pens. The author’s name is Michael Cignoli, and he’s a senior at a a tiny private school called Wilkes University, where he is the editor of the school newspaper. He used to cover the WBS Penguins for his school paper.
I think it’s great for him that he’s being published in a major market paper while still an undergrad, but seriously, Charlotte Observer??? Can’t you assign a member of the sports desk to cover the team? The Checkers is a professional sports team, and deserve a professional writer. Cignoli’s article wasn’t bad, it had all of the necessary facts, followed all of the AP style rules, and included a few vanilla quotes from Checkers players, and generally was much better than the articles turned into me awhen I tutored undergrad journalism students on AP style as a graduate student.
Shouldn’t we, as fans in a large market like Charlotte, be able to expect more as far as journalism about our team goes? This is a HUGE part of why I started this blog, because it seemed like there was a large void as far as Checkers coverage was concerned. This is no longer an ECHL team. The Charlotte Checkers are an AHL franchise with VERY close ties to our NHL team in Raleigh, and are a legitimate threat for the Calder Cup this year. Our regulars like Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuck got plenty of coverage when they were in Raleigh by the News & Observer. Charlotte deserves the same level of professional coverage here at home.
2. This brings me to the fact that I wish the Checkers had done more re-branding when the AHL came to town. Sure, the logo was updated with Hurricanes colors, but maybe a more drastic change would have helped. (I’m also a FIRM believer in the idea that Michael Jordan should re-brand or maybe even RE NAME the Bobcats). So many non-hockey fans and non-season ticket holders I meet still don’t understand what it means to be in the AHL, or that we are a part of that league now. I think the farther away we can get from some of the things that were so ECHL and move forward to the level of hockey we are, the better it will be. It’s all a matter of fan education, I think! We finally have a lot of eyes on the team now that we are deep into the playoffs, with fans in Raleigh paying attention, etc., so I think we should all take advantage of this.
3. I hope we see lots of people at the game tonight! I do NOT want to hear the excuse of “It’s a weeknight” or “Raleigh is two hours away.” When the Hurricanes were in the playoffs a couple of years ago, I drove up there for every game, so I know it can be done! I will be enjoying $2 drafts at Brixx pregame, and postgame is TBA.
4. This should be a GREAT game. I hope we can keep it under control though, and not take a too many unnecessary penalties. While I realize our PK is AMAZING, I’d prefer the team not have to use it too much. We are going to have to match the aggressiveness of the Penguins, which will not be a problem, but do it in a way that keeps us out of the box.
5. This is nothing at all related to the Charlotte Checkers, but there was a recent cheerleading controversy at Wilkes University, and the Cheerleaders needed $4000 for new uniforms. Can we give money to the Checkmates for new uniforms that cover up their midriffs, and pants that don’t encourage camel… well… just that aren’t so tight?
6. For as much as I am frustrated by the Observer’s coverage, there were a couple of good pieces in it today. The first, another by Raleigh’s Chip Alexander, was about Coach Jeff Daniels. It was a great read. The second was just a good PR kind of piece, listing a top-10 reasons to love the Checkers. I agree with all of them. (How come the cheerleaders didn’t make the list though… )
So that’s it… signing off! The countdown to gametime is only a little more than eight hours away…
Lets Go Checkers!