Charlotte getting a new ice hockey team?
Posted on 22 Jan 2010 by James Willamor
Charlotte Checkers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr
Reports out of Raleigh indicate the Carolina Hurricane’s AHL farm club, the Albany River Rats, “have been sold and will move to Charlotte.” The Albany Times-Union names the buyer as Michael Kahn, who currently owns the Charlotte Checkers.
Charlotte is currently home to the ECHL Checkers, what is considered a second-tier (AA) minor league team. The AHL is the highest level (AAA) of minor league hockey in the U.S. and Canada, with NHL teams often sending player up or down from the majors. The River Rats are currently the AHL affiliate of Raleigh’s Carolina Hurricanes.
According to Canes Country,
There are several benefits to having an in-state affiliate: speedier call-ups to the Triangle; easier access for Raleigh-based team management — and Canes fans — to the team and players; and further growth of hockey in the South.
It is unclear whether the Charlotte’s ECHL franchise will fold, or be sold or moved. It is also unclear if the River Rats will be renamed to the Checkers or something else.
This news comes after an October Charlotte Business Journal article indicating that the Charlotte Checkers were interested in a possible new arena tied to a sports complex in Matthews.
The Checkers currently play in Time Warner Cable arena along with the Charlotte Bobcats.