Each week during the offseason the Checkers PR staff will highlight news, notes and other various things to keep you in the loop.


Canes Acquire Cliff Pu From Sabres: The Hurricanes made waves during a traditionally calm stretch of the offseason last week by dealing Jeff Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres. In return Carolina acquired a trio of draft picks along with forward prospect Cliff Pu. A third-round pick by Buffalo in 2016, Pu turned 20 earlier this summer, meaning the Ontario native will likely battle for a spot on the Checkers roster to start his pro career come October.

Checkers Announce Training Camp Schedule: Mark it down on your calendar, hockey returns to Bojangles’ Coliseum on Sep. 21 as the Checkers open up training camp. Like last season, the entirety of camp will take place at the Checkers’ home rink, while info regarding media availability and sessions open to the public will be announced at a later date. Charlotte will also have a pair of preseason contests to prepare for the 2018-19 campaign, visiting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sep. 28 and 29.

Checkers Sign Zach Nastasiuk To AHL Deal: The Checkers continue to add their stable as the season grows closer, inking a deal with 23-year-old forward Zach Nastasiuk. The Ontario native has spent the majority of his three pro seasons in the ECHL, but has logged substantial time in the AHL for a perennially good Grand Rapids team, making him an option for a midseason ECHL call-up should he not make the Checkers out of camp.

Platzer, McCarron Sign AHL Contracts: In more organizational depth news, the Checkers added 23-year-old forward Kyle Platzer and 23-year-old defenseman Patrick McCarron to AHL contracts. Platzer, a fourth-round pick in 2013, has played nearly all of his first three pro seasons with Edmonton’s AHL affiliates in Oklahoma City and Bakersfield and set a new career high last season with eight goals in 44 games. Platzer also appeared at the ECHL level for the first time last season and stood out offensively for the Wichita Thunder. McCarron, on the other hand, is coming off a rookie season that saw him stand tall on the blue line for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. A product of Cornell, McCarron has also made four AHL appearances with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Ryan Warsofsky Named Assistant Coach: The Checkers will have a new assistant coach for just the third time in franchise history this season as Carolina hired Ryan Warsofsky to join head coach Mike Vellucci behind the bench. The 30-year-old Warsofsky is coming off two successful seasons as head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, going 88-44-10-2 during his tenure and making a Kelly Cup Final appearance in 2017. In an interview with Voice of the Checkers Jason Shaya, Vellucci stated that he was “very excited” about how his staff is shaping up for this season and pointed to Warsofsky’s consistently strong penalty kill as a key factor in bringing the young coach into the fold.

Registration For Mini Checkers Program At XI Now Open: The Checkers are partnering with Extreme Ice Center to continue to grow youth hockey in the region. The Mini Checkers will consist of 6U and 8U programs and all participants will receive jerseys, a t-shirt and a free ticket to the Checkers’ home opener.

Prospect Spotlight: Cliff Pu

The lone player heading to Carolina in the Jeff Skinner trade, Cliff Pu recently wrapped up a strong junior career. After splitting his first OHL season between Oshawa and London, Pu took a step forward in 2015-16 but really broke out during the Knights’ playoff run. He ranked fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points during the postseason as London rolled their way to a Memorial Cup. Pu kept that momentum rolling into the next season, leading the Knights in scoring and ranking eighth in the OHL overall while playing alongside current Checkers Janne Kuokkanen. The 2017-18 campaign saw Pu once again register over a point per game while being traded midseason from London to Kingston, where he teamed up with Carolina prospect Jeremy Helvig to guide the Frontenacs to a berth in the league’s conference finals. The 6-foot-2 winger is now set to begin his pro career, likely fighting for a spot on Charlotte’s opening night lineup.

Whatever Happened To: Mark Flood

Mark Flood joined the Checkers in 2013-14 after having spent most of the 2011-12 season in the NHL before jetting to Russia for the following campaign. His return to North America saw him set a franchise record in Charlotte with 13 goals, a career high, but his stay wouldn’t last long. After his historic showing in Charlotte, Flood went back to the KHL and led his team’s blue liners in scoring in 2014-15 before a down year for a new team in 2015-16. He would return to form in 2016-17, however, jumping to Austria and ranking second among Salzburg defensemen in assists. This past season saw Flood attempt a comeback in North America, beginning the year on a tryout with the Manitoba Moose, but he would appear in just one game before jetting to Sweden, where he notched eight points in 38 games with Ilves Tampere of Liiga. Looking ahead to the 2018-19 campaign, Flood is slated to log his second consecutive season with a team for the first time since 2009-09 after re-signing with Ilves.

Number of the Week: 60

Days until the 2018-19 season starts
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.