Panthers and Checkers agree to multi-year affiliation agreement
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020
SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers announced today that the club has signed a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Charlotte Checkers to serve as the club’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate beginning in the 2020-21 season.
“We are proud to announce our affiliation with the Charlotte Checkers,” said Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell. “The Checkers organization has found success and constructed a winning culture. We are thrilled for the opportunities that this partnership provides for our young players and the future of our franchise.”
“It’s an exciting day for the Panthers and Checkers organizations,” said Panthers General Manager Bill Zito. “Building success and establishing a strong culture at the American Hockey League level is vital to the development of our young players. The Checkers have built a winning culture, culminating in a 2019 Calder Cup Championship. We feel that with this affiliation, our prospects will be in the right environment to grow and develop into National Hockey League players.”
“We are very fortunate to have found a great partner in the Florida Panthers,” said Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black. “We feel confident that this relationship will allow us to continue producing a high-level product while providing a great environment for player development. We look forward to welcoming their players and staff to Charlotte as soon as possible.”
Joining the AHL in 2010, the Charlotte Checkers have made five playoff appearances, winning a Calder Cup Championship in 2019. Charlotte has advanced past the first round of the postseason three times and have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. The Checkers play their home games at the Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Established after the relocation of the Albany River Rats AHL hockey club in 2010, Owner Michael Kahn, who was owner of the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers, relinquished his ECHL club to the league before renaming his new AHL club the Charlotte Checkers. While in the ECHL, the Charlotte Checkers made the postseason 13 times over 17 seasons and won the 1996 Riley Cup Championship.
The Checkers are named for the original incarnation of the first-ever professional hockey club to play in Charlotte. The Baltimore Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) relocated to Charlotte in 1956, becoming the Charlotte Clippers. In 1960, forming its own identity, the team was renamed the Checkers. The Checkers won three EHL championships before joining the newly formed Southern Hockey League in 1973 where they won two more championships before the Southern Hockey League halted operations in 1977.
The Panthers affiliation with the Checkers marks the second time in franchise history that the club has partnered with an AHL affiliate located in North Carolina (Carolina Monarchs, 1995-96 to 1996-97).
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