“Community service is the foundation of our organization,” said Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black. “The owner, staff, players, spouses and fans have each contributed to our off-ice efforts. For the AHL to recognize us with this award is extremely special and we will use it as a catalyst to continue to strive for more.”
The 2013-14 season saw the Checkers contribute more than $440,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to the Charlotte community through several initiatives, including their first-ever affiliation with the St. Baldrick’s program, in which players, staff members and fans raised $91,000 for childhood cancer research by shaving their heads, and the Checkers/Chiquita Brands I.C.E. (inspiring community enrichment) Team, which saw employees from both organizations and Checkers fans partner to commit more than 1,000 volunteer hours to various local non-profit organizations.
The Checkers also continued several successful programs from previous seasons, including the Novant Health Pink in the Rink game, which raised $44,900 for the fight against breast cancer, the Salute to Heroes game, which raised $25,000 for the families of fallen and injured public service workers, and the Checkers 5K Run & Walk, which welcomed more than 500 participants and raised $15,000 for the Checkers Charitable Foundation.
The organization also continued several educational programs that impacted the lives of more than 10,000 area elementary and high school students in more than 400 classrooms. Those included the PowerPLAY program, which encourages healthy eating and active living, and the School Assembly program, which teaches valuable and motivational life skills, and the Science of Hockey program. Additionally, 53 local schools and non-profit organizations were able to raise more than $102,000 by using Checkers tickets as a fundraising platform.
The award marks the second time that the AHL has recognized the Checkers for outstanding community service, with the team also receiving the honor following its inaugural 2010-11 campaign. The Checkers have raised over $3 million for the Charlotte community since Michael Kahn took ownership of the team in 2006.