Charlotte Checkers (1956–77)

Charlotte Checkers
Charlotte checkers shl logo.gif
City Charlotte, North Carolina
League EHL (1954–1973)
SHL (1973–1977)
Operated 1954–1977
Home arena Charlotte Coliseum
Colors Blue, white, crimson
              
Affiliates NHL 1968–1977
WHA 1974–1977
Franchise history
1954–1956 Baltimore Clippers
1956 Charlotte Rebels
1956–1960 Charlotte Clippers
1960–1977 Charlotte Checkers
Championships
Playoff championships Five (1957,1971,1972,1975,1976)

The Charlotte Checkers were a minor league professional ice hockey team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team began as the Baltimore Clippers in 1954, playing in the Eastern Hockey League. When the arena in Baltimore burned down, the team briefly played as the Charlotte Rebels, before permanently relocating to the Charlotte Coliseum in 1956, becoming the Charlotte Clippers. The team was renamed the Checkers in 1960, and played its final four seasons in the Southern Hockey League, before folding in 1977. The Clippers/Checkers franchise won five playoff championships in its existence, and were the first team to be based in the Southeast United States.

Baltimore, 1954–1956

Baltimore Clippers logo in the EHL. (1954–56)

The Baltimore Clippers began play in the Eastern Hockey League during the 1954–55 season, with Andy Brown as coach.[1] Herve Lalonde led the team, scoring 22 goals, and 50 assists, winning the John Carlin Trophy, as the league's top scorer.[2] In the playoffs, Baltimore defeated the Clinton Comets 3 games to 1 in the first round, but lost the finals in four straight games to the Washington Lions.[3] On January 23, 1956, midway through the Clippers' second season, their home arena, Carlin's Iceland, burned down.[4][5]

Charlotte Rebels, 1956

Without an arena, the Clippers searched for a temporary home to finish the season. Local businessmen in Charlotte offered the one-year-old Charlotte Coliseum as a temporary site.[5][6] The Baltimore Clippers played six of their remaining 12 games in Charlotte, using the name Rebels.[4][7] The first professional hockey game in Charlotte was played on January 30, 1956, attended by 10,363 fans, with approximately 3,000 more unable to find a ticket.[4][6] The Rebels lost the game 6–2, to the New Haven Blades.[4] The six games played in Charlotte by the Rebels drew more than 40,000 fans. By comparison, the Clippers typically drew 2,000 fans per game in Baltimore.[6] The combined record of the Clippers and Rebels was 47 points for fifth place, missing the playoffs.[7]

Charlotte Clippers, 1956–1960

Charlotte Clippers logo (1956–60)

Buoyed by the Rebels' strong attendance figures in Charlotte, owner Charles Rock chose to move the team there full-time for the following season as the Charlotte Clippers.[4][6] In the 1956–57 season, the Clippers earned 101 points, to finish first place, and win the Walker Cup as regular season champions.[4][8] The season included a winning streak of 21 games before the playoffs, and the team earning the nickname, "Dixie Dandies."[6] Al O'Hearn lead the league in scoring with 46 goals, 71 assists, and 117 points, to win the John Carlin Trophy.[2] In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated the New Haven Blades in six games in the first round, and defeated the Philadelphia Ramblers in seven games, to win the Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy as playoff champions.[4][9]

In the 1957–58 season, Charlotte repeated first place in the regular season with 77 points, and a second Walker Cup.[4][8] In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated the New Haven Blades in seven games in the first round, but lost in the finals to the Washington Presidents in seven games.[4][10]

In the 1958–59 season, Charlotte dropped to sixth place, and missed the playoffs.[8] The team also ran into financial troubles, which led to the Charlotte Coliseum Authority taking over the team in 1959. A citizen's group raised $25,000 from stockholders, to keep the team on the ice.[6]

In the 1959–60 season, coach Andy Brown moved on, and the EHL split into northern and southern divisions.[8] Evel Knievel tried out with the Clippers in 1959, but decided that a traveling team was not for him.[5][11][12] Pete Horeck led the team as a player-coach, the Clippers finished second place in the south, won the first round playoff series in three games versus the Greensboro Generals, and lost to the Johnstown Jets in the second round.[13]

Charlotte Checkers

Eastern Hockey League, 1960–1973

Charlotte Checkers logo (1960–68)

The team was renamed the Charlotte Checkers, resulting from a name-the-team contest.[4][5][6] Gordon Tottle became the player-coach, and despite the new name, Charlotte finished fourth place and missed the playoffs in the 1960–61 season.[14] Joe Crozier was named coach in the 1961–62 season, but the team still finished fourth place and missed the playoffs.[14] He returned for the 1962–63 season, and the Checkers placed third in the southern division.[14] In the playoffs, Charlotte upset the second place Knoxville Knights in five games, then lost in five games to the Greensboro Generals in the second round.[15] Turk Broda took over the coaching duties for the 1963–64 season, and led the team to a fourth-place finish in the south, and a first round playoff loss to Greensboro in three games.[16]

Fred Creighton was brought in to coach for the 1964–65 season, beginning eight years at the helm of the Checkers. He improved the team to third place in the south, but the team still lost in the first round to the Nashville Dixie Flyers in three games.[17] Creighton improved the team to 42 wins in the 1965–66 season, and second place in the south. In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated Greensboro in five games in the first round, then lost in four games straight to Nashville in the second round.[18] Charlotte repeated a second-place finish in the 1966–67 season, then defeated Greensboro in three games in the first round of the playoffs, but lost to Nashville in five games in the second round.[19] The Checkers won 42 games, and earned 93 points in the 1967–68 season, and finished second place in the south. Charlotte defeated Nashville in four games in the first round of the playoffs, and defeated Greensboro in six games in the second round. In the finals, the Checkers were swept in four games by the Clinton Comets.[20]

Charlotte Checkers logo in Toronto Maple Leafs colors (1968–71)

Charlotte dropped to third place in the 1968–69 season, after many players moved up to higher leagues. The rebuilding effort was made easier by this being first season of an affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.[21] In the playoffs, Charlotte lost in three games to Nashville.[22] The Checkers repeated a third-place finish in the 1969–70 season. Center Tom Trevelyan was named EHL Rookie of the Year for the south division.[2] In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated the Salem Rebels in five games in the first round, then lost to Greensboro in six games in the second round.[23] Creighton led Charlotte to its best results in the 1970–71 season, with 55 wins, and 117 points to finish first overall in the EHL, and win the Walker Cup.[14] Goaltender John Voss led the league in goals against average, and won the George L. Davis Jr. Trophy.[2] In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated Nashville, then Greensboro both in four games, to reach the finals. The Checkers won the Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy in five games over the New Haven Blades.[24]

In the 1971–72 season, Charlotte switched affiliations to the Buffalo Sabres.[21] Defenceman Don Brennan was voted the EHL Rookie of the Year for the south division, and goaltender Gaye Cooley led the league in goals against average to win the George L. Davis Jr. Trophy.[2] The Checkers repeated the first-place finish and the Walker Cup in the regular season, with 47 wins and 102 points. In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated the St. Petersburg Suns in six games in the first round, and Greensboro in five games in the second round. Creighton and the Checkers won a second consecutive Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy, defeating the Syracuse Blazers in four games in the finals.[25] Creighton and many players moved on after the two championships, and Charlotte struggled in the 1972–73 season. Jack Wells was named player-coach, and the team finished fourth place in the south, missing the playoffs.[14]

Southern Hockey League, 1973–1977

The four teams in the EHL's Southern Division, including the Checkers, broke away to form the Southern Hockey League in 1973.[4][26] In the new league, Patrick J. Kelly took over coaching duties in all four seasons. Garry Swain led the SHL in scoring with 98 points.[27] Charlotte finished second place in the 1973–74 season, then defeated Greensboro in six games in the first round of the playoffs, but lost the finals in seven games to the Roanoke Valley Rebels.[4]

In the 1974–75 season, Charlotte began secondary affiliations with World Hockey Association teams, and the California Golden Seals, in addition to the existing agreement with Buffalo.[28] Steve Hull led the SHL in scoring with 114 points.[29] The Checkers finished first place in the regular season with 101 points, defeated Roanoke in four games in the first round of the playoffs, and defeated the Hampton Gulls in six games in the finals, to win the Crockett Cup.[4][30]

In the 1975–76 season, Charlotte repeated first place in the regular season with 94 points.[31] Yvon Dupuis led the SHL with 52 goals scored.[32] In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated Roanoke in six games in the first round, and then won a second consecutive Crockett Cup in five games over Hampton.[4]

The 1976–77 season was cut short when the SHL folded due to financial issues.[26] The final Checkers game was played on January 30, 1977 against the revived Baltimore Clippers.[6] Charlotte was in third place at that time, and folded along with the league.[33]

Major league affiliations

The Charlotte Checkers were affiliated with National Hockey League teams from 1968 to 1977, and several World Hockey Association teams from 1974 to 1977.[21][28]

Years Parent club
1968–1971 Toronto Maple Leafs
1971–1977 Buffalo Sabres
1974–1975 California Golden Seals, Vancouver Blazers
1975–1976 Calgary Cowboys
1976–1977 Birmingham Bulls, Winnipeg Jets

Coaches

Coaches from 1954 to 1977.[1][6][7]

† denotes a player/coach
Coach Years Seasons Games Won Lost Tied
Andy Brown 1954–59 5 239 119 114 6
Pete Horeck† 1959–60 1 64 31 29 4
Gordon Tottle† 1960–61 1 64 25 34 5
Joe Crozier 1961–63 2 136 61 71 4
Turk Broda 1963–64 1 72 30 41 1
Fred Creighton 1964–72 8 581 328 209 44
Jack Wells† 1972–73 1 76 26 40 10
Patrick J. Kelly 1973–77 4 233 146 75 12

Records

Top scorers from 1956 to 1977.[6]

Rank Player Years Seasons Games Goals Assists Points
1 Maurice Savard 1959–68 9 568 303 452 755
1 Jim McNulty 1956–67 11 620 346 429 755
3 Frank Golembrosky 1968–76 8 337 157 257 414
4 Barry Burnett 1968–77 9 504 77 262 339
5 Jack Wells 1968–77 9 389 117 213 330

Notable players

List of notable players for the Baltimore Clippers/Charlotte Rebels (1954–56), Charlotte Clippers (1956–60) and Charlotte Checkers (1960–77)[34][35][36][37]

Results

Combined season-by-season record for:

  • Baltimore Clippers (1954–55)[1]
  • Baltimore Clippers / Charlotte Rebels (1955–56)[7]
  • Charlotte Clippers (1956–60)[8]
  • Charlotte Checkers (1960–77)[14][38]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season League GP W L T Pts GF GA Standing Playoffs
1954–55 EHL 47 22 23 2 46 208 180 3rd, EHL Lost in finals
1955–56 EHL 64 23 40 1 47 236 327 5th, EHL Did not qualify
1956–57 EHL 64 50 13 1 101 364 239 1st, EHL Won championship
1957–58 EHL 64 38 25 1 77 275 243 1st, EHL Lost in finals
1958–59 EHL 64 24 38 2 50 209 283 6th, EHL Did not qualify
1959–60 EHL 64 31 29 4 66 243 244 2nd, Southern Lost in first round
1960–61 EHL 64 25 34 5 55 221 265 4th, Southern Did not qualify
1961–62 EHL 68 26 40 2 54 226 270 4th, Southern Did not qualify
1962–63 EHL 68 35 31 2 72 242 264 3rd, Southern Lost in second round
1963–64 EHL 72 30 41 1 61 276 304 4th, Southern Lost in first round
1964–65 EHL 72 35 35 2 72 262 286 3rd, Southern Lost in first round
1965–66 EHL 72 42 30 0 84 300 251 2nd, Southern Lost in second round
1966–67 EHL 72 36 33 3 75 259 235 2nd, Southern Lost in second round
1967–68 EHL 72 42 21 9 93 333 243 2nd, Southern Lost in finals
1968–69 EHL 72 37 29 6 80 274 280 3rd, Southern Lost in first round
1969–70 EHL 74 34 31 9 77 284 266 3rd, Southern Lost in second round
1970–71 EHL 74 55 12 7 117 383 153 1st, Southern Won championship
1971–72 EHL 73 47 18 8 102 330 180 1st, Southern Won championship
1972–73 EHL 76 26 40 10 62 241 313 4th, Southern Did not qualify
1973–74 SHL 72 44 27 1 89 309 227 2nd, SHL Lost in finals
1974–75 SHL 72 50 21 1 101 370 256 1st, SHL Won championship
1975–76 SHL 72 42 20 10 94 302 206 1st, SHL Won championship
1976–77 SHL 50 22 25 3 47 180 186 3rd, SHL League folded
TOTALS EHL 1296 658 563 75 1391 5166 4826 4 division titles 3 championships
3 finalists
TOTALS SHL 266 158 93 15 331 1161 875 2 division titles 2 championships
1 finalist

References

  1. ^ a b c "Baltimore Clippers Statistics and History [1954-1955 EHL]". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e Telaar, Tom (2014). "EHL All Star Teams and Awards". TheEHL.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  3. ^ "1954-55 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Mancuso, Jim (2005). Hockey in Charlotte. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 9–10, 75–77. ISBN 0-7385-4230-X.
  5. ^ a b c d Gilligan, Matt (2016-09-15). "Hockey Has a Checkered History in the Queen City". CLTure. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History - Charlotte Checkers Hockey". Gocheckers.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  7. ^ a b c d "Baltimore Clippers / Charlotte Rebels hockey team statistics". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Charlotte Clippers hockey team statistics and history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  9. ^ "1956-57 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  10. ^ "1957-58 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  11. ^ Telaar, Tom (2011-02-21). "Proof: Evel Knievel Tried Out With The Charlotte Clippers". The EHL. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  12. ^ Ferraro, Michael; Veneziano, John (2007), Numbelivable!, Chicago, Illinois: Triumph Books, p. 142, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0 .
  13. ^ "1959-60 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Charlotte Checkers Statistics and History [EHL]". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  15. ^ "1962-63 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  16. ^ "1963-64 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  17. ^ "1964-65 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  18. ^ "1965-66 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  19. ^ "1966-67 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  20. ^ "1967-68 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  21. ^ a b c "Charlotte Checkers [EHL] Parent Team affiliate history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  22. ^ "1968-69 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  23. ^ "1969-70 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  24. ^ "1970-71 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  25. ^ "1971-72 EHL Playoff Results". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  26. ^ a b "Southern Hockey League [1973-1977] history and statistics". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  27. ^ "SHL 1973–74 League Leaders". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  28. ^ a b "Charlotte Checkers [SHL] Parent Team affiliate history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  29. ^ "SHL 1974–75 League Leaders". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  30. ^ "1974-75 Southern Hockey League [SHL] standings". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  31. ^ "1975-76 Southern Hockey League [SHL] standings". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  32. ^ "SHL 1975–76 League Leaders". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  33. ^ "1976-77 Southern Hockey League [SHL] standings". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  34. ^ "Baltimore Clippers / Charlotte Rebels all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  35. ^ "Charlotte Clippers all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  36. ^ "Charlotte Checkers [EHL] all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  37. ^ "Charlotte Checkers [SHL] all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  38. ^ "Charlotte Checkers Statistics and History [SHL]". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-08.

External links

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