Last night the Charlotte Checkers Hockey team played the Ontario Reign and won 5-3. It was an amazing game to watch- even for someone like me, and maybe someone like you- someone who isn’t yet into the sport of hockey.
Ever since I began dating my partner, I’ve been pulled along to all types of sports games. I’ve never been a sports fan, but with an open mind I’ve been able to get into so many sports.
When my boyfriend told me he got the St. Patrick’s pack tickets (view details about the game events here), I was excited about the fact the ticket packs came with two free drinks. The whole hockey part was just going to be a fun new sport experience for tonight’s date night in my mind, but it turned out to be an all around great night.
1. Great Food
Local restaurants in Charlotte often cater sporting events, but at the Checkers game you’ll get the very best in Charlotte. The Impromptu Pig catered the game, and the fans were loving it. If you don’t eat barbecue or meat DON’T WORRY, they also have killer mac n’ cheese!
2. The Graphics
The lights dim, Chubby the polar bear mascot skates out into the rink, and a team hype film comes onto the main screen. The cinematic level of the production team for the Checkers is hard to touch.
3. The Spirit of the Crow
The crowd has a great mix of young and old fans. Although the Checkers have only bee around since the 90s, there’s a great hockey following in Charlotte. The Checkers are the minor league team for the Carolina Hurricanes, a team which has a huge following in Charlotte.
The stadium itself also has such history. Constructed in 1955, the Charlotte Coliseum was the largest unsupported steal dome in the world, it’s span just over 332 feet wide and 112 feet high. Many locals also came there to watch numerous sporting events and celebrity performances. Notable guests have included: Billy graham, David Letterman, former president Richard Nixon, Jacqueline Kennedy, David Copperfield, Dick Clark, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Hendrix, The Jackson Five, and Elvis Presley. This stadium with rich history brings a certain nostalgic atmosphere to the games played here today.
4. Drama in the Rink
Hockey allows the most contact between the players, and it makes the game so much more entertaining. Players are constantly shoving each other and getting put in the penalty box for more extreme moves. There is an understanding of the aggression that takes place in the rink, so the players shake hands after the game. I was shocked to see one particular player raise his hockey stick up in the air to shove another player with it, but the crowd wasn’t even phased.
If you’re looking for a sport with lots of action happening between the two teams, hockey could be for you!
3. Bojangles Collisiem= bojangles
Aside from the local Charlotte restaurants that cater at the coliseum, you’ll always be able to count on getting Bojangles during he game. Being able to chow down on Bojangles seasoned fries while watching the Checkers score makes the game that much more enjoyable. #DoYouWantFriesWithThat
4. Games and more games!
At the beginning of the game selected crowd fans are given tennis balls from the checkmates. These fans are brought down to the rink to toss their tennis ball into the tire, centered in the middle of the ice. The winner gets a Checkers prize.
They also held a puck toss. At the beginning of the game fans can also pay $5 to buy a puck to toss into the center of the rink, aiming for the very center. Whoever hits the very center also gets a prize.
During the two intermissions of the game, free prizes were given out to fans. Some were tossed from the checker cheerleaders, while others were dropped from the over walk above the crowd by parachute! Crowd members spotted on the Checkers camera were also selected for a variety of prizes. One fan eve got a $50 gift card!
FREE FOOD ALERT! As a foodie, I absolutely loved this feature of the St. Patrick’s Checkers game. With the purchase of a game ticket, attendees also got two free beers and unlimited free popcorn (colored green).
6. Kiss Cam
The kiss cam is a classic at almost every sports game. If you’re spotted on the kiss cam it’ll be even easier to kiss the person next to you, because you’re probably already curled up close to them because of the coldness of the room. If you’re on a first date and looking for an excuse, coming to a Checkers game just might increase the odds for you.
7. Kids Time
During intermissions and in spontaneous stops throughout the game, the camera would put the spotlight on the kids dancing in the crowd. With messages on the center screen like, “Make some NOISE” and “Dance” the kids were kept entertained between the actual game. If you’re bringing your kids, they’ll be kept entertained the entire time, while you focus on the game.
8. Easy Exit
To be honest this is the best part of the entire evening, and if you’re a Charlotte local you’ll understand why. Typically after games held in Charlotte you’ll have to walk a few blocks to your parking lot or to the light rail to get home. At the Bojangles Coliseum parking is right outside of the building. It took me 2 minutes to get to the car after the game with little traffic.
Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, do something different and come to a Charlotte Checkers game sometime!
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