Next up in my American Hockey League concept series is the Charlotte Checkers. They are the primary affiliate of the Florida Panthers. They play in the 8,600-seat Bojangles Coliseum. Charlotte North Carolina has a population of 874,579. The Charlotte Checkers entered the AHL in 1990 as the Capital District Islanders. From 1956 to 1977 the Checkers played in the Southern Hockey League. After 17 years the team was brought as an ECHL expansion team. They made the jump to the AHL in 2010 after the owner bought the Albany River Rats and relocated them to Charlotte to become to current Charlotte Checkers. Technically the ECHL team and the AHL team are different franchises but I see it more like the Checkers took the River Rats place in the AHL.
For this concept, the Charlotte Checkers play in the AHL’s North Division in the Eastern Conference. The other teams in the North Division are the Belleville Senators, the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Laval Rocket, the Rochester Americans, the Syracuse Crunch, and the Toronto Marlies.
The Charlotte Checkers only have two logos. They have been using the same primary logo since 2008. It was changed to the current colors in 2010. The logo has a polar bear above the team name with the city skyline above it all in front of a triangle. Their other logo is a circle with a crown (from their city flag and the team name. Their is also a hidden checkers piece in the logo. Their second logo was originally released as an April fools joke. Eventually it made its way onto a specialty jersey then onto their current alternate jersey.
The Home jersey is red, black, grey, and white. On the front is a bear logo. I did not come up with this logo. It was used by the Checkers at some point between 2010 and 2014. I could not find an original source but it is used in other specialty jersey logos and the Checkers social media. I thought it would make for a better logo for the home jersey than using the primary logo twice. On the shoulders are a recolored version of the Florida Panthers primary logo. On the collar, it says ‘lets go checkers’. That is the team motto used on social media.
The Away jersey is similar to the Home jersey. It is white, red, black, and grey. It modifies the Home jersey template by adding red shoulders. It has the primary logo on the front. On the collar, it says ‘lets go checkers’ like the Home jersey. Both jerseys have a checkered pattern added on the bottom of the sleeves and the bottom of the jersey. The pattern is muted that way it is not overwhelming on the jersey.
The Alternate jersey is black, red, and white. It has the Checkers alternate logo on the front. On the shoulders are bear head logos. They were inspired by some old playoff logos. They are designed after the bear head on the primary logo. On the collar, it says ‘lets go checkers’ like on the Home and Away jerseys. The muted checkered pattern is on the sleeves here too.
The Retro jersey is inspired by the Home jersey worn by the Charlotte Checkers during the 2003-04 season. It is blue and orange with a black and white checkered pattern. On the front is their old primary logo that was used from 2002 to 2008.
The City jersey is blue, white, and black. It is inspired by Charlotte FC of the MLS. On the front is the logo the Checkers used for Charlotte FC night. On the collar, it says CLT which is the abbreviation for Charlotte. The muted checkered pattern makes another appearance here.
The Affiliate Remix jersey is grey, black, and red. The jersey is inspired by the Florida Panthers home and away jerseys. This jersey has the checkered pattern on full display. On the front is the Checkers primary logo. The recolored Panthers logo is on the sleeves. The numbers are on the shoulders.
The Checkers have seven Heritage jerseys. The Carolina Monarchs (1995-97), New Haven Beast (1997-99), the Kentucky Thoroughblades (1998-99), the Louisville Panthers (1991-01), the San Antonio Rampage (2002-05 and 2011-15 ), and the Portland Pirates (2015-16). The Heritage jerseys are inspired by the Florida Panthers former primary affiliates. Three of their former affiliates are still in the AHL.