Sounds like the Checkers/Canes affiliation is meeting expectations so far:
Checkers thriving under Canes' affiliation
BY CHIP ALEXANDER - Staff writer
CHARLOTTE -- Had the Charlotte Checkers had Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk and Brett Carson in their lineup Saturday night, they might have beaten the Binghamton Senators.
It was the "Winter Hat Classic." A crowd of 9,800 turned out at Time Warner Cable Arena - the first 3,000 getting a free toque - and a victory would have been another selling point in the team's first American Hockey League season.
Black said the Checkers had an increase of 69 percent in season-ticket revenue from last season. Corporate sponsorship revenue has shown a 35 percent increase, she said.
"I think our corporate partners notice and appreciate the difference in the hockey product," she said.
One benchmark in the AHL is that $2 million in ticket revenue marks a successful season. Black said the Checkers have a three-year plan to reach that mark, saying the team did not want to spike ticket prices this season.
Black said an agreement with Time Warner Cable will result in some of the Checkers games being televised. The first, she said, would be Jan. 14 against the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs and would be available on Time Warner Cable in the Triangle.
I'm looking forward to that Jan 14 televised game. I love the streamed online games for the fact that they provide me with a view that I otherwise wouldn't have, but I'm so unfamiliar with the Checkers that it's hard for me to tell who is on the ice at any given time. Seeing them on TV (and hopefully HD!) will be a significant upgrade.
Kahn admits he wanted the Bennetts to come see Charlotte for themselves and re-visit the players, who Zach has formed special bonds with over the years.
One of those players, Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy, is elated at the chance to again see ‘Bug’, as family and friends call him.
“We’re all excited to have Bug come down," says Murphy. "He’s one of the guys, a teammate of ours, and gives everyone inspiration.
“You’ll never find him without a smile on his face,” he adds.
Randy recalls a story when Murphy dropped by the house last season to play video games.
“For a guy like Mike Murphy to be on Facebook talking to [Zach’s mom] Danielle and asking if he can come over really speaks to the character of these guys.”
Just 15 minutes later, there was Murphy pulling in the driveway.
“He came in the house, kicked his shoes off and took a seat on the couch like he was at home.”
Impressed with the overall demeanor of hockey players, Randy says that even when they make it to the big league, they don’t forget a kid like Zach. In fact, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters, who spent three seasons in Albany, still sends emails almost daily.