AHL hockey coming to Charlotte

Published: Feb. 10, 2010 at 8:27 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM EST
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By Steve Crump - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Checkers will now play as the Hurricanes top affiliate.

Checkers owner Michael Kahn announced today that the American Hockey League Board of Governors approved his purchase of AHL's Albany River Rats franchise and the team's relocation to Charlotte.

They're moving that franchise to Charlotte, but the team will still be called the Checkers.

The Charlotte Checkers have called the Queen City home for the last 17 years, but a new franchise coming to town brings this community closer to the National Hockey League, more specifically the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jim Rutherford is the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.

He said, "We're honored to be part of the city of Charlotte. We're not that far down the road."

As a farm club for the Hurricanes, local fans will see players on Center City ice being called up to the big time sooner, according to Checkers owner Michael Kahn.

"Over 85 percent of the players who play in the AHL make it into the NHL. Most of the players playing in this league will be playing in the big league one day," Kahn said.

This new relationship with the NHL is the brain child of Checkers owner Michael Kahn, and those connected to sports marketing see another benefit.

Carl Sheer is a former owner of the Checkers, and said," It's a great move for Charlotte. It's a step forward. Everything we do that sends us to the major league level is good for Charlotte."

In the world of professional sports which is driven by dollars, team owner Michael Kahn says he is putting passion ahead of profit.

"I didn't get in the sports business to make money. I did get into it to keep what I call a very important sport in the city of Charlotte," Kahn said.

The new team takes to the ice in the 2010-2011 season.

Kahn says additional information will be announced regarding the move in the coming weeks.

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