On November 24th, the Charlotte Checkers announced they reached a tentative agreement with the Charlotte Regional Visitors’ Authority to return to Bojangles’ Coliseum beginning with the 2015-16 season.
It should have said the Charlotte Checkers were moving to the Dark Side of the Moon having read comments left on various social media pages that posted the news.
Before everyone gets their hockey pants into a wad, the press release said: TENTATIVE agreement.
Definition of tentative :: ten·ta·tive | ˈten(t)ədiv/ | adjective :: not certain or fixed; provisional.
The Charlotte Checkers who had fans that have been with them from Bojangles Coliseum (formerly Independence Arena, aka The Big I) to Time Warner Cable Arena (aka The Cable Box or as I called it, The Ice Box) were the ones that were like “heck yeah!” while fans who have only seen them at Time Warner Cable booed the idea.
Background on the agreement, the Checkers tentatively agreed to a 10-year agreement (consisting of two 5-year agreements) and is contingent on a Charlotte City Council vote approved $16 million dollar funding for renovations to the coliseum. Those renovations would bring the coliseum to AHL standards. (That vote takes place on December 8th for those who are wondering.)
Background on Bojangles Coliseum: The Checkers’ history goes back to 1956 and played in the arena between then and 2005 before it moved to Time Warner Cable Arena (where the team plays now.)
Tera Black, Charlotte Checkers‘ chief operating officer said,
“We are extremely excited about the possibility of returning to our roots at Bojangles’ Coliseum. We believe the move would be greatly beneficial for our organization, our fans and the city of Charlotte.”
I agree with 100% with Mrs. Tera Black.
I am excited about seeing the Charlotte Checkers play at a newly renovated Bojangles Coliseum. I have experienced watching many games at that arena when the Checkers played there. It was always loud, fun, and there was an air of electricity that filled the arena. For me, it was a perfect home for the team.
I understood when the team moved to Uptown Charlotte/Time Warner Cable Arena. Fancy new digs. Fancy new building. They had to put something in the building year round and the NBA team wasn’t going to fill those seats through out the whole year and nor where various concerts and other arena events.
But I always felt the move to TWC Arena was more like, we’ll let the lone-weird-kid-come-along. I felt the city built this state of the art arena (at it’s time), but then as an after thought, added what they needed for ice hockey. The Checkers also come second, maybe even third or fourth in line to getting a schedule set at the arena. The Charlotte Hornets have first right to dates at the arena and since the arena was essentially built for them to play, they get first dibs so to speak. Maybe the Charlotte Checkers get the sloppy seconds of the Hornets, but I have a feeling it’s just not so. Moving to Bojangles, the Charlotte Checkers schedule wouldn’t be contingent on the Hornets schedule or any other event at the arena.
A lot of my friends who know my love of hockey and my love for the Charlotte Checkers reached out for my thoughts/opinion on the move and I told them all, I’m really stoked.
Will I personally miss parking at my favorite bar and taking the light rail Uptown to watch a hockey game?
Will I adjust and get over it?
Before the team moved Uptown, I would meet friends at my favorite bar with our designated driver and go to Bojangles or take a party bus or even a cab. Guess what, I’ll do the same thing should the team move.
It’s not a team ending move to move the team back to Bojangles Coliseum.
Heck, we moved the ENTIRE CURRENT AHL TEAM FROM ANOTHER STATE!
So if you’re an Uptown/TWC Arena only hockey fan, take a moment and a deep breath.
The game will still be the same.
Just the location will be different.
AND before you poo poo the idea and throw out the idle threat of “I’ll never go to another game” give it a chance.
I think you’ll see what Charlotte Checkers fans who enjoyed the games at Bojangles and then enjoyed the games at TWC Arena feel when we agree and say #CheckersComeHome
And if that doesn’t convince you, watch this absolutely beautiful video from Charlotte Checkers with Pat Kelly reminiscing about Bojangles’ Coliseum and the hopeful eventual return home for the Charlotte Checkers.