I’d never been to a Charlotte Checkers game. But after living in Charlotte for five years and driving by the arena every day on my way home from work, I figured it was time.
So recently I bundled up (way too much by the way, it’s not that cold in the arena) and got ready to meet the oldest mascot in Charlotte, Chubby.
Here are six things I learned from going to my first Charlotte Checkers game:
(1) Tickets are cheap.
Tickets start at $15 but we got pretty good seats for $29 each. The best seats in the house are at high-top tables against the glass and will cost you $88.
The Checkers have 16 more home games, including three more $1 Wednesday beer night games and a postgame skate promotion on Sunday, February 18. Here’s their schedule.
(2) They have a full-service restaurant.
If you’re not into eating at your seat, check out the Red Line Club. You need to make a reservation to get a table, but you can sit at the bar if you get there early enough.
Red Line Club’s most popular items are Southern Fried Pickle Chips and the Chelios Quesadilla Burger, which is literally a burger sandwiched inside a quesadilla. Brilliant. If you’re eating before the game, the players walk through the restaurant to get to the ice. This is the perfect opportunity to pick out the cute ones to watch during the game.
Other food options in the arena include your typical burgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes. Oh, and obviously, Bojangles’.
My highlight of the game was this cookies-and-cream ice cream sandwich from the Nana’s dessert stand. It’ll run you $6.
(3) It’s not great for tailgating.
You can’t grill in the Coliseum parking lot and you can’t take up multiple spaces with lawn chairs and tables, so I think it’s safe to say that this is not a great tailgating spot.
Side note: Bojangles’ Coliseum charges $8 for parking. CASH ONLY so be prepared.
(4) But you can get drunk here.
My favorite drink was the Red Line Club’s Zamboni with Doc Porter’s vodka, strawberry simple syrup, chunks of strawberry puree and lemon juice.
And what’s a hockey game without consuming four to eight beers? You can choose from your run-of-the-mill Bud Light to Sugar Creek to Wicked Weed. Cost is $8.
The shortest beer lines are at the cash-only stands so, again, BRING CASH.
(5) The concession lines can get ridiculous.
Because most people are eating dinner at the game, the concessions lines were even longer than I’ve seen at Panthers games. Be smart and get your food before the game or right before first intermission.
Note: Just try not to leave when there’s a fight. Fights are fun.
(6) You can win money every night.
At the second intermission of every game (yes, they have two intermissions) the Checkers hold their Chuck-A-Puck contest.
Fans can buy fake hockey pucks and throw them onto the ice.
If your puck lands inside the target, you win the pot of the night. If no one hits the target that night, the pot will increase the next night.
Pucks are $1 each and they usually sell out, so buy a couple as soon as you get to the game. It’s not easy to hit the target, but who doesn’t want to try and win $100?
Even if you don’t win money, at least you got to hear the arena’s live organist (a Hammond organ has been in the arena since the 1950’s). How often can you say that?