Many new faces can be seen around Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, NC when the Charlotte Checkers take the ice for practice. As is the case with the Hurricanes, the influx of new faces brings a boost of talent and a hint of optimism.
The Checkers will begin their season on Friday night when they face off against the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars AHL affiliate) at 8:30 p.m. It will be the first game of a four game road trip to start the 2016-17 season. The Checkers will then return home to Bojangles Coliseum to host the Grand Rapids Griffins on October 28th.
After a three year playoff drought, the Checkers now have enough talent to reach the dance and it’s up to rookie head coach Ulf Samuelsson to get them there. Scoring depth could be an ongoing problem for the Checkers but the back end and goaltending should be solid enough to keep them in games.
Notes from camp
- A guy who has flown under the radar of many fans is 5’10” Andrew Poturalski. His speed is instantly noticeable and he has a lightning quick release. The former University of New Hampshire Wildcat signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Hurricanes on March 8th and played in 16 games with the Checkers recording two goals and three assists. Look for him to have a good season, contributing in the top-9.
- Trevor Carrick and Keegan Lowe seem to be a likely defensive pairing heading into the season. Carrick is coming off the best season of his professional career, improving to 42 points compared to 32 points his rookie season (2014-15).
- Sergey Tolchinsky initially remained on the Canes’ roster after the final roster cuts were announced due to an injury sustained near the end of Carolina’s training camp, but he has been activated from the injured list and assigned to the Checkers. He will join the team on their trip to Texas tomorrow.
Quotes from Ulf Samuelsson
On what made the Hurricanes organization a good fit for him:
It was a good opportunity to get involved in an organization that I think is on the rise and has had a number of high picks over the last few years that you see start to filter in our club right now. And I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with high-end skill.
On what he would consider his coaching style:
I think it’s a style that requires that requires good, smart decisions but obviously at a good pace but really looking to get players involved and take responsibility for their play with and without the puck. Obviously, focus on speed and work ethic.
On addition of Patrick Dwyer and his role with the Checkers:
He has experience and does know the system. He’s a good two-way player and he is a player we look to be a good role model for our younger players.