CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Before the Checkers take the ice at Bojangles' Coliseum on Saturday, city leaders celebrated the venue's multimillion-dollar renovations.
Phase one of the $16 million project included improvements to seating, technology, locker rooms and more.
The upgrades were completed in time for the Charlotte Checkers season home opener on Saturday against the Manitoba Moose.
Council Member Vi Lyles believes the project will breathe new life into Charlotte's eastside.
"This will again become an economic anchor for this community," Lyles said. "With 38 home games this season, more and more people will spend their money on the eastside."
Tom Murray is the CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. With the return of the Checkers, he says Bojangles' Coliseum will go from hosting 80 events per year to approximately 130 events.
"We think that will bring a lot more economy to this area, help create jobs. It's already helped create jobs," Murray said. "We just think that the vibrancy it adds to the community will be a big help."
Wednesday morning, project leaders let crowds taste food from the venue's new concession stands.
In December 2014, the city approved a $16 million renovation for Bojangles' Coliseum, including $4 million of hockey-related upgrades to prepare for the Charlotte Checkers return to the building for the 2015-16 season.
"The Coliseum has such a great history," Lyles said. "We are talking about more than 60 years of wonderful events here. It means a lot to people."
Capacity for the venue is now approximately 8,600. Fans will notice a new scoreboard, four new ribbon boards, a new sound system, and a refurbished club area with new lighting and décor.