The Charlotte Checkers are gearing up to exit Time Warner Cable Arena in style.
Games against the Rockford Ice Hogs on Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) are all that remain before the team relocates back to Independence Boulevard and Bojangles’ Coliseum.
As a result, the Checkers are expecting to set a single-game attendance record Saturday. They have made upper-level seating available for the first time this season and say only a limited number of those tickets are still available.
The record of 13,102 was set against the Oklahoma City Barons in 2012.
The Checkers held an open skate for the public at Bojangles’ Coliseum on Wednesday with several members of the team participating.
“It’s been surreal I think until this point,” Checkers Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales Shawn Lynch said over the sound of the coliseum’s antique organ.
According to Lynch, the team – which has drawn 202,092 fans through 36 home games this season (14th in the American Hockey League) – expects to see a bump in attendance next season.
“We did roll back prices, but people are buying seats that we didn’t expect them to, so I think we’re going to be up from a dollar standpoint, and season tickets will be up in numbers,” he said. “It’s turned out to be a great move for us so far.”
The Checkers have gone 96-78-16 at TWC Arena and have the facility’s modern amenities to thank for their ability to jump from the East Coast Hockey League to the AHL in 2010.
With $16 million in renovations planned to modernize their former residence, the Checkers are moving back home.
The Checkers’ history at Bojangles’ Coliseum dates back to Charlotte’s first professional hockey game in 1956. The team occupied the facility at various points between then and 2005, when it moved downtown.
“The reaction has been fantastic,” Lynch said. “A lot of fans have watched hockey for a long time in this building. To see their excitement, to see them walk in the building and relive old memories ... A lot of stories have been told as we’ve shown fans their new seats.”
The first home game of the 2015-16 season is Saturday, Nov. 7. Upgrades will be made to the video board, lighting, sound system, seating bowl and player amenities.
The coliseum will celebrate its 60th anniversary later this year, and the Checkers are excited to help breathe life back into their old home.