Throughout the season, several fans will provide insight into their experiences in and love for the game of hockey and the Checkers. This is the second installment, this time from ChasingCheckers.com’s Jenni.
Hockey fan since:
Favorite NHL team:
LA Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers
Favorite NHL player of all time:
First hockey game:
October 1995 at Bojangle's Coliseum
Favorite part of a Checkers game:
Hearing the goal song
I’ve been a sports fan for as long as I can remember. My dad took me to events at an early age, beginning with the Phoenix Suns when I was a young girl. Though their mascot gave me nightmares at first, I loved the opportunity to hang out with my dad and learn about a sport he enjoyed.
Many years have passed, but my passion for sports hasn’t, and if anything, it’s grown and evolved to something even more significant. What was at first a love of the Charlotte Checkers as a season ticket holder, expanded into the creation of Chasing Checkers. I try and share a bit about my love of sports culture, and of course, as much chatter about the Checkers as possible.
I take the Checkers very seriously. I take pages of notes during the games; try and snap pictures for my website; and come up with interesting questions for the players and coaches at post-game media scrums. I’ve found a pretty good balance between being a fan of the team, and a credentialed member of the media at Checkers games. It’s fun, and I’m going to continue doing it for as long as I can.
Defining my feelings for the Charlotte Checkers is pretty complicated, so I figure I’ll express myself by the numbers so you can get to know me and why I love this team so much.
Why I love the Charlotte Checkers – by the numbers:
5 – The age I was the first time I attended a professional sporting event, in this case, a game between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, an old building that’s shaped like Calgary’s Saddledome. Being a sports fan has been in my blood for a very long time!
13 – My age when I moved here, and saw my first sporting event in Charlotte, a Hornets game. North Carolina Dance Theater performed at halftime, and later became my first employer out of college!
1993 – The year I first thought I wanted to be a sports journalist. Thanks to a career program at the Charlotte Observer, I got to interview my favorite basketball player, Kevin Johnson, when he was in town to play the Hornets. The article was published in my school newspaper, and I wish I still had a copy of it!
1995 – The year I attended my first Checkers game, back in the early ECHL days. I remember how the Zamboni was painted to look like a Petty race car, and how much energy there was in the building for a sport I barely understood, but was very intrigued by.
37203 – The zip code in Nashville, TN, where I attended my first NHL game between the Predators and Edmonton Oilers.
2 – The number of times I’ve visited the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, a place I find to be an incredible witness to the legends of the sport I follow so closely. I love the way it caters to the history buff in me.
1 – The number of times I’ve been interviewed on the air by Jason Shaya during a Checkers broadcast.
2011 – The year I started Chasing Checkers. The thought came into being after sitting in one of the old stalls from a hockey locker room in the basement of Bojangles Coliseum. Thinking about what those early days of hockey in North Carolina were like, and how much things have changed since the first Checkers over 60 years ago has inspired my writing.
120 – The average number of beats per minute my heart was racing during 2011 Calder Cup Playoff games.
3700 – The number of miles I’ve put on my 2002 Honda Accord driving to Checkers games across the AHL. Trips to Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford, Chicago and Hershey add up, but were worth every bit of age they put on my beloved car.
18 – The approximate number of teddy bears I’ve tossed during the Checkers “Teddy Bear Toss” nights over the years.
13 – The number of hours it took me to drive home to Charlotte after the most devastating Checkers loss I’d ever witnessed, in this case, a game in Milwaukee where the Checkers were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoff contention last season.
3 – The number of seasons I’ve been writing at Chasing Checkers and also the number of years I’ve been a season ticket holder in Charlotte.
22 – The number of hockey jerseys that hang in my closet. Six belong to the same player, and eight are either Hurricanes or Checkers. By far the most cherished and well-used in my collection is one that Mike Murphy signed for me during his first season in Charlotte.
100 – The spot on the scale from 1 to 100 that I place my love of the Charlotte Checkers on.
David Hoffman is the official realtor of the Checkers and can be seen in his home-ice advantage seats at almost every game. For more information on how David can help you, visit www.liveinnorthcarolina.com.