Checkers Repeat as AHL's Excellence in Community Service Winner
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Charlotte Checkers received the American Hockey League's Award of Excellence for Community Service at the annual Board of Governors' meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C., this week. Including a win last season, the organization, which has contributed $3.5 million to the Charlotte community since Michael Kahn took ownership in 2006, has now won the award three times in their five AHL seasons (2011, 2014, 2015).
"We are very honored that the AHL has again chosen to recognize us for this prestigious award," said Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black. "The community is and will continue to be at the heart of everything we do, and we would like to thank our staff, players, spouses and fans for helping to make this possible."
The organization's efforts during the most recent season included its traditional Pink in the Rink ($25,000) and Race ($20,000) weekends, each of which generated funds through ticket proceeds and specialty jersey and helmet auctions. Other annual events included the Checkers 5K Run and Walk and Bowling with the Checkers ($6,000) events, which raised money for the Checkers Charitable Foundation, and the Salute to Heroes Game, which raised $22,000 for the families of fallen and injured public service workers.
New events included Hornets Night, which generated more than $21,000 in specialty jersey sales, the Promising Pages Book Drive, which collected over 600 books that went to impoverished children in the greater Charlotte Region, the American Hockey League's first-ever Domestic Violence Prevention Night, which generated $7,500 for the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage, and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Night, which raised awareness and funds for Teal Diva. The team also raised $12,000 for Rescue Ranch through a season-long raffle to win an ATV driven by its mascot, Chubby, and collected 600 pounds of food for Urban Ministry Center through five separate drives involving one of their corporate partners, Salsarita's.
In total, nearly 250 local organizations received donations from the Checkers throughout the season. Checkers players, led by Kyle Hagel, who won the Yanick Dupre award as the AHL's Man of the Year in the community, and staff also made over 150 appearances at schools, hospitals and special events in the Charlotte area, including the in-person donation of stuffed animals to Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital that fans donated through the annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion.
Several educational programs continued in 2014-15, impacting the lives of more than 10,000 area elementary and high school students in more than 400 classrooms. The programs included the Pick up a Book and Read program, which incentivizes elementary school students to meet reading goals, Science of Hockey, which teaches the elements of science in hockey, PowerPLAY, which encourages healthy eating and active living, and the School Assembly Program, which teaches valuable and motivational life skills.
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