Checkers Relaunch Jr. Checkers Youth Hockey Program
The Charlotte Checkers today announced that they are relaunching the Jr. Checkers program as a Tier 1 AAA organization, which is the highest level of youth hockey. For the 2018-19 season, the program will field a 14U team that was previously known as Team Carolina.

“This shows our commitment to continue the growth of hockey in the region,” said Derek Wilkinson, the Checkers’ senior vice president of hockey operations who will also serve as president on the new Jr. Checkers’ board of directors. “It also demonstrates a unified approach to player development in the Carolinas as it creates a stronger partnership between the Checkers and the Carolina Hurricanes’ own Tier 1 program, the Jr. Hurricanes.”

Among other locations in the region, the Jr. Checkers 14U team will hold some games and practices on the Checkers’ home ice at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

“Since last year, the Checkers have been looking for ways to revive the Jr. Checkers program and bring it in house while utilizing another sheet of ice at Bojangles’ Coliseum,” said Checkers COO Tera Black. “We believe the creation of this 14U team is another step forward in terms of growing the game in our community.”

Tryouts for the 14U Jr. Checkers, who will aim to draw top players from all over the Southeast, will be held next year. Those who wish to receive more information as soon as it becomes available may sign up for this mailing list.

For questions on the Jr. Checkers AAA program, please contact Derek Wilkinson at [email protected].

Younger players looking to gain experience are encouraged to sign up for an existing Learn to Play program. Registration is now open for two sessions of the First Goal Program, which offers first-time participants aged 5-9 with brand-new, head-to-toe equipment and seven on-ice instructional hockey sessions for just $119. Additionally, 6U and 8U Mini Checkers programs will begin at Extreme Ice Center this fall. To learn more about Mini Checkers registrations, please join this mailing list.

Jr. Checkers FAQ

Why are you making this change?

To reestablish the Jr. Checkers brand by working with an existing U14 team (Team Carolina). This will provide the highest level of amateur hockey to youth players in the area with the backing of a professional organization. This will be important for recruiting efforts and also give the team a rink to call "home."

How many teams are there for the upcoming season?

As the organization gets up and running, we will only be fielding a 14U Tier 1 AAA team for the 2018 – 2019 season.

When does the season start?

The Jr. Checkers will begin their season in August and it will run through March of 2019.

When will the Jr. Checkers practice?

AAA hockey is a significant commitment. But we also recognize the obligations our players have outside of the game to school, family and much more. That is why we have adopted a Weekend Practice Model. The location for the practice varies, but has traditionally alternated between Charlotte and Greensboro and this year we will add Greenville, South Carolina.

During weekend practices, our players experience:
  • 3 - 4.5 hours of full ice practice
  • Off ice training
  • Nutrition
  • Video sessions
  • Team building
  • Much more
In addition, we conduct a single weekday skill development practice in multiple markets. Players have the option to choose a location that is most convenient for them.

Where will the Jr. Checkers practice?

Because of the diverse geographic makeup of the teams and the adoption of a weekend practice model, the practices will rotate between rinks in North and South Carolina. Bojangles’ Coliseum will be the home ice for the Jr. Checkers.

Will there be any Jr. Checkers house, A or AA teams?

At this time, we are focusing solely on AAA teams.

Will you partner with any other youth hockey organizations in the area?

The Charlotte Checkers have a long history of partnering with youth hockey organizations in the area and we look forward to continuing those relationships. In particular, we are excited about our Learn to Play and Mini Checkers programs with Extreme Ice Center.

In addition, the establishment of a AAA program through a professional organization provides next level development opportunities for players across the region.

Who do I speak to if I have questions?

While the Jr. Checkers web and social media platforms are being completed, please feel free to reach out to:

Derek Wilkinson
[email protected]