Checkers training camp begins in just a few short weeks, and while we have to wait until the middle of October to see the team play at TWCA, I’m anxious for it to begin! Editor’s note: a number of the players mentioned here might not be Checkers this year. Some were last year, some are potentially going to play in Charlotte, but might spend all year in Raleigh. Either way, it’s a talent group of possible Checkers set to take the ice!
So, here’s another “Checkers by the Numbers” post.
0 – The number of times the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers have won the Calder Cup. With a team full of talented athletes, that could change in 2013-14!
2 – The number of games the Checkers will play in Raleigh this season.
2 – The number of second generation Sutter hockey players who will compete for the Checkers. The Sutter family is known for leadership. Brett’s dad Darryl is an NHL coach, currently of the Los Angeles Kings, and Brett has served as Charlotte’s captain for the past two seasons. Younger cousin Brody is wearing the C at the Carolina Hurricanes development tournament in Traverse City this weekend.
3 – The number of players (Aaron Palushaj, Nathan Gerbe and Beau Schmitz) who were born in Michigan. Only one played junior in their homestate, as Palushaj and Gerbe took the NCAA hockey route (though Palushaj did play college hockey at Michigan!).
4 – The number of seasons the Checkers have been in the American League, and also the number of different divisions the team has been a part of. This season, it’s the West Division, where they join two teams from Texas, one from Oklahoma and another from Abbotsford, B.C.
4 – How many times we get to hear O’ Canada performed at Checkers games this year, a record. Previously, Charlotte only faced Canadian teams two times each season.
6 – The number of players to spend time as a Plymouth Whaler in the Ontario Hockey League. They include Beau Schmitz, Michal Jordan, Brett Bellemore, Austin Levi, Chris Terry and Justin Peters.
6 – Decades that Charlotte has had a professional hockey team. The 1980’s are the only decade since the 1950’s that a professional team didn’t reside in our city.
6 – Also the number of times a professional hockey team in Charlotte has won a league Championship. The Charlotte Clippers did it in 1957 as a part of the Eastern Hockey League. In 1971 and 1972 the re-named Charlotte Checkers won the championship again in the EHL. In 1975 and 1976, the Checkers won the championship as a part of the Southern Hockey League. The league folded the next season, so the Checkers weren’t able to three-peat. The most recent Checkers championship was in 1996, when the ECHL team won the Riley Cup.
10 – The number of Checkers who spent time in NCAA hockey programs. Veteran Riley Nash attended Cornell University, and is a proud alumni of Big Red. Rookie Danny Biega attended Harvard University for four years. Jeremy Welsh spent three years at Union College, which included his school’s first ever trip to the Frozen Four in 2012. Zac Dalpe was an Ohio State Buckeye for two years. Sean Dolan is a four-year veteran of the University of Wisconsin where he served as the Captain his senior year, and also appeared in the final game of the Frozen Four tourney in 2010, unfortunately losing to Boston College. Brendan Woods was also a Wisconsin Bader, and completed two years there. Kyle Bonis attended Ferris State for four years, graduating in 2013 with a degree in business. In 2012, Bonis played in the National Championship game against Boston College. I sense a common hatred of BC among Checkers players! Speaking of the hated Boston College, Nathan Gerbe went there for three years, and made it to the National Championship game all three years, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, finally winning in ’08 against Notre Dame. Adam Brace spent one year at Canisius and three years at Robert Morris University. Aaron Palushaj spent two years at the University of Michigan, and made a trip to the Frozen Four.
11 – States (and one province) that a roadtrip to Abbotsford would take you though, if you actually drove instead of flying like the team does.
13 – The number of opponents the Checkers will face this year out of a league of 30 teams.
17 – The number of years since a Charlotte hockey team has won a league Championship. Hopefully, next season this “By the numbers” post will say “3 – Months since the Charlotte Checkers won the Championship”
20 – The longest number of years, between 1976 and 1996, that Charlotte has been without a championship hockey season since the sport came to town in 1956.
36 – Opportunities to see the Checkers play on home ice in Charlotte this season.
40 – 2013-14 marks the 40th year that professional hockey has been in Charlotte.
43 – The number of hours it would take to drive 2908 one-way miles to Abbotsford, BC to see the Checkers play their division mates, the Abbotsford Heat.
380 – the low cost for a season ticket that will let you take in every single home Checkers game this season. It’s got to be the best deal in all of Charlotte sports!
6781 – The average number of fans the Checkers had at every home game this season. Bring some friends this year, and let’s see how much higher we can get that number to be!
32,478 – The number of miles the Checkers will travel this season on roadtrips. This is the lowest number since 2010-11, when the team played in the Eastern conference.