As I sat on my patio tonight in the slowly setting sun, drinking a couple of glasses of homemade Sangria and listening to the Hamilton Bulldogs and Houston Aeros play, I wavered between jealousy and pure joy for the Bulldogs, the AHL team that until 2010, was my hands-down favorite. As you may recall, the Bulldogs and Checkers were both facing a game four elimination last Wednesday. The Bulldogs have now come from a 3-0 deficit to force a game seven, something every Checkers fan dreamed our team could have done. Nigel Dawes scored a goal in double overtime, and now the Bulldogs only have to win one game to face Binghamton in the Calder Cup Finals. How amazing would it have been if it was Brett Sutter, or Chris Terry, or Zach Boychuck who scored that double-OT game winner tonight?
I would have given anything to have our team get that chance, but alas, it didn’t work out that way. I’m still incredibly proud of how far our team went, and how great it was for them to beat the odds by defeating not only the reigning Calder Cup Champions, but the team with the best regular-season record. The Charlotte Checkers were groundbreaking in so many ways, from being the first AHL team in Charlotte, to breaking attendance records for hockey games in this fine city, and of course being the first affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes to make it past the second round of the playoffs. We had national news coverage about the amazing things the Checkers were doing to help the Charlotte community, and families like that of Zac Bennett.
It’s going to be a long summer, I fear. Those of us who follow the guys on twitter know that most of the team has left Charlotte for their own summer breaks, or will be leaving in the next day or so. There’s already a void knowing they are gone, and won’t be back until September. I looked at the cost of plane tickets to Traverse City, Michigan for the rookie tournament in September, so that’s on the radar for me, but it all depends on my finances, and work schedule, etc. I heard a rumor I could end up working on a movie this summer, and that extra income could very well fund a trip to the middle-of-nowhere Michigan… so we’ll see!
As for the Summer and Chasing Checkers, don’t worry, I will certainly keep the blog updated. I have lots of ideas for stuff I want to write and ramble about, and of course I will continue to keep everyone updated on Canes signings, the NHL draft, and Hurricanes prospect camp in July, which I plan to attend.
Enjoy Charlotte! This is an amazing city to be in.
Lets Go Checkers