Things get a little weird when there’s not a single fan in sight.
For the second time in two years, the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL took to their home ice with not a single fan in the stands. The team, which averages 6,000 fans per game, told all ticket holders that they wouldn’t be admitted to the game on Wednesday, Jan. 17, under any circumstances.
The local forecast called for 2-4 inches of snow in the hours leading up to the game. Such scant snowfall is hardly cause for concern in areas used to dealing with snowfall, but in Charlotte, it was expected to cause dangerous conditions on the road. Not wanting to compel their fans to take to the roads for something as inessential as a hockey game, the team told fans “Thanks, but no thanks” when it came to attending tonight’s game.
The team, which was squaring off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, did offer fans a brief look inside the haunting and surreal empty arena. Not ones to pass up a good hashtag opportunity, the team slapped #BehindClosedDoors on the Twitter clip.
Unseasonably cold and icy weather caused the Checkers to play before a completely empty house two years ago on January 22, 2016. On that occasion, the team had even sent home its officials, so any person who happened to remain in the arena at game time, seemed to take on a role.
“We sent everybody home,” Checkers COO Tera Black said to Deadspin. “So our immediate staff — all of our executives — ran the game. We had the game officials, because they were in town. We had a few special off-ice officials. We had everybody we needed to run a game and nobody we didn’t. I ran the penalty box.”
In case you don’t believe her, she’s got a picture to prove it:
This time around, the team’s social media managers really made a meal out of the unique backdrop, offering a very lonely, still take on the Kiss Cam:
Awwwwwww! #BehindClosedDoors2 https://t.co/nz9ZGyUOHz— Charlotte Checkers (@Charlotte Checkers) 1516231845
The fans were safe at home, and the Charlotte Checkers get press, yet again, for doing the right thing and keeping their faithful off the roads.
Oh, and the Checkers managed to knock off the Tigers 4-3, so … win-win-win.
Tonight was fun. Thanks for following along and staying safe. #BehindClosedDoors2 https://t.co/XCYaL3UJ52— Charlotte Checkers (@Charlotte Checkers) 1516238585