Snowfall in Charlotte forces AHL's Checkers to host game without fans

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hockey players are at home on ice, however, the same can't always be said of hockey fans.

The AHL's Charlotte Checkers played host Wednesday to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at an empty Bojangles' Coliseum thanks to inclement weather in the area.

"It was a little different, but give [Bridgeport] credit, because they came out flying and outshot us 14-4 in the first period," Checkers coach Mike Vellucci said after Charlotte's 4-3 win. "The game was so important that it doesn't matter how many people [are] in the stands, and I think it just took us a while to realize that the game was that important."

The Charlotte area got up to six inches of snow due to a winter storm, with overnight temperatures in the teens expected to make roads "treacherous," according to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

While the Charlotte Hornets opened their doors to NBA fans on Wednesday for their game against the Washington Wizards across town, the Checkers elected to do their part in keeping fans off the road.

Checkers forward Lucas Wallmark said he's not a fan of the silent treatment, but he was glad his team got the win.

"It's more fun to play with people out there, but we need to do our best no matter what the situation," said Wallmark, who had his first multigoal game of the season on Wednesday. "It was the first time for me playing that type of game, but it's good to learn from that, too."

The Checkers, an affiliate of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, are in the middle of a homestand that continues with a Saturday game against the Rochester Americans.

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