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Charlotte hockey will go on despite the snow – but one key thing will be missing

Charlotte Checkers shut fans out of Wednesday's AHL game, for their own safety

Scenes from Wednesday's Charlotte Checkers - Bridgeport Sound Tigers game at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The AHL team played without fans due to dangerous driving conditions caused by snow left by Winter Storm Inga.
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Scenes from Wednesday's Charlotte Checkers - Bridgeport Sound Tigers game at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The AHL team played without fans due to dangerous driving conditions caused by snow left by Winter Storm Inga.

The Charlotte Checkers will still play at home tonight despite the bad weather that’s caused schools, malls and offices to close. But one major component will be missing: The fans.

The team said on its website Wednesday that its 5 p.m. game at Bojangles’ Coliseum against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers will be closed to the public. Fans can exchange their tickets for future games by calling (704) 342-4423 or by emailing tickets@gocheckers.com.

The game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m., but pushed back two hours because of the weather.

Checkers spokesman Paul Branecky said the team didn’t want to encourage fans to drive when officials are advising people otherwise.

“Staffing is also a concern (security, ushers, concessions, parking attendants), as is the condition of the parking lot itself,” Branecky told the Observer in an email.

“As for why we chose to still play the game as opposed to just postponing it, our opponent is already here (we played them last night) and it would be really difficult to have them come back for a single game at a later date.”

This isn’t the first time the hometown American Hockey League team has played in an empty arena in Charlotte. In 2016, also because of wintery weather, the Checkers closed their game against the Chicago Wolves to the public. Fans were offered new tickets then as well.

The Checkers’ home arena will be considerably quieter than it was on Tuesday, when 8,341 fans showed up for a 1950s-themed night, and bought more than 7,000 $1 hot dogs, the team said. The Checkers next play in Charlotte against the Rochester Americans on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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