The American Hockey League has released the Checkers’ schedule for the 2017-18 season. In addition to the usual array of schedule downloads, including printable and importable calendars, below are a few highlights and notes from the 76-game slate.

Season tickets, mini plans and group outings can be purchased now by calling (704) 342-4423. Individual game tickets will go on sale the first week of September, and a promotions schedule will be released in the coming weeks.

Click here to view the schedule in list form

OPENERS

As they have in each of their seven previous AHL campaigns, the Checkers will begin their season on the road with a pair of contests in Hartford and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the first weekend in October. Charlotte is 3-3-1 all time in season openers but have lost two of the last three in regulation.

Despite kicking things off on the road, the good news is that Charlotte fans won’t have to wait long to see their team in person. The Checkers will take the Bojangles’ Coliseum ice on Oct. 13, the earliest home opener in franchise history.

GOING EAST

The Checkers made headlines this summer by announcing their return to the Eastern Conference, where they spent their inaugural AHL campaign. A new conference means a completely new slate of opponents for Charlotte, with 14 teams on the schedule that were not there a season ago.

Some notable dates from those new teams include Oct. 13 and 14, when the New York Islanders’ affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, come to town for the first time, while the Buffalo natives in the Queen City can mark their calendars for Jan. 20 and 21 when the Rochester Americans visit Charlotte for the first time ever.

Additionally, the original home of the Hurricanes will be represented for the first time this seasons on Feb. 13 and 14 as the Hartford Wolf Pack travel down south, while the defending Atlantic Division champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins make their trek to Charlotte on March 13 and 14.

An additional bonus of the move to the East: no more staying up late to watch road games in another time zone! In fact, the latest puck drop on the Checkers’ slate is 7:30 p.m.

GREAT WHITE NORTH

For the first time in franchise history, the Checkers have three Canadian clubs on their schedule. They’ll face the Toronto Marlies for the first time since 2014-15 in addition to the two newest AHL squads – the Belleville Senators and the Laval Rocket.

HOME SWEET HOME

The 2017-18 schedule features a well-balanced slate of home games for the Checkers. The team’s longest home stand is six games, a slate that happens five times over the course of the season.

The Checkers’ most home-leaning stretch of the season comes from late November to January, a run that will see them play 18 games at Bojangles’ Coliseum while logging just nine games on the road. Similarly, Charlotte will play 10 of the final 16 contests of the regular season on home ice.

Bojangles’ Coliseum proved to be a huge home-ice advantage for the Checkers last season, as they set a franchise record by going 27-10-1 in Charlotte.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

On the flip side, the Checkers’ road schedule features trips ranging from several two or three-game trips to a pair of six-game swings, both of which come in February/March. The biggest test, however, will be a behemoth eight-game trek spanning the first three weeks of November that takes the Checkers through five different cities before returning back to North Carolina.

While they no longer have to make the cross-country flight to California, the Checkers’ longest trip this season will be to Quebec, as Laval sits 982 miles away. On the other end of the spectrum, the 489 miles to Hershey, PA, makes the Bears Charlotte’s closest opponent.

TOUR OF THE NORTHEAST

A product of the Checkers’ move to the Eastern Conference is the fact that most of their opponents are now located very close to one another. Because of that, Charlotte’s schedule features several quick stops in cities during road trips. In fact, there are 11 instances on the schedule where the Checkers will play in different cities on consecutive nights, including a three-in-three in March that will see the team play in Providence on Friday, Springfield on Saturday and Hartford on Sunday.

THREE-IN-THREES

Speaking of three-in-threes, the Checkers appear to have dodged a bullet in that area. While historically many Eastern Conference clubs have to deal with a heavy load of three games in three nights scenarios, Charlotte only has three on its slate, just one more than last season. All three of those instances come during a month-long span from February to March.

PRIME TIME

Like last season, the Checkers’ home schedule remains very heavy on weekend games, with 24 of the 38 home games taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, after its success last season puck drop will be 7:15 p.m. for Friday games and 6 p.m. for Saturday games. Weekday games will remain at 7 p.m., while Sunday contests will vary throughout the season.

HOLIDAYS

One of the biggest draws on the home schedule is around Thanksgiving, as the Checkers play two games immediately before the holiday and then twice more on the weekend immediately following. That gives you four opportunities to bring your visiting relatives to a game (or for you to escape your visiting relative games, we won’t judge you).

The Checkers also play on St. Patrick’s Day for the second consecutive year and will celebrate the occasion with another set of specialty jerseys.

In addition to the regular season slate, the Checkers will have a pair of preseason contests in Lehigh Valley, with the Phantoms hosting Charlotte on Sep. 29 and 30 at 7:05 p.m.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.

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