This past week, the Checkers wrapped up an eventful December which saw a number of community appearances and charitable initiatives, including school and youth hockey appearances, arts and clothing drives, the ever-popular teddy bear toss and an outdoor hockey game against the Jr. Checkers.
Checkers players, along with Chubby, made several school appearances throughout the month of December, including visits to Blythe Elementary (Dec. 6 – Justin Shugg and Cedric McNicoll) as part of Wells Fargo’s Reading First program, Olde Providence Elementary (Dec. 2 – Shugg and Rasmus Rissanen) and Fairview Elementary (Dec. 7 – Rissanen and Justin Krueger).
On Dec. 14, Jon Matsumoto and Matt Pistilli stopped by Morehead STEM Academy to unveil the Checkers’ Science of Hockey program, which incorporates math, science and engineering from the fifth-grade CMS curriculum into the game of hockey.
On Friday, Dec. 2, Justin Soryal, Mathieu Roy and Riley Nash visited a local YWCA to build gingerbread houses with the kids and put on a floor hockey clinic.
Several Checkers staff members visited A Child’s Place, a local non-profit which works with homeless children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg school, on Monday, Dec. 19, and wrapped presents and food for the children.
Checkers mascot Chubby was also a bear about town throughout December and did many community appearances, including the GingerSnap 5k race, playing Chubby Santa at Northlake Mall and participating in the EpiCentre tree lighting.
Checkers defensemen Michal Jordan, Brett Bellemore and Mathieu Roy stopped in at Extreme Ice Center on Dec. 13 to help with practice and talk to the youth hockey players.
On Dec. 14, Justin Soryal, Zac Dalpe, Riley Nash, Chris Murray and Justin Shugg participated in the inaugural Checkers Outdoor Classic at the WBT Holiday On Ice outdoor rink at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Jr. Checkers squirt house selects team, coached by Jim Luce, fell behind early to the Checkers, 3-1, but stormed back for an eventual 9-6 victory. The players then stuck around after the game for a public skating session with fans.
In the spirit of helping others around the holidays, the Checkers held three separate collection drives at December games.
At the game on Saturday, Dec. 3, Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont was on hand as Checkers fans and staff brought like-new clothing to donate. At the game on Friday, Dec. 18, Checkers fans and staff collected arts supplies for Arts for Life.
Sunday, Dec. 4, was the Checkers’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, with more than 3,200 stuffed animals collected for the kids at Presbyterian Hemby Children’s Hospital. Jon Matsumoto scored a first-period goal which triggered the downpour of bears, which Checkers playes will deliver to children after the holidays.
At the Bronko Nagurski Charlotte Touchdown Club awards ceremony Dec. 12, it was announced that team owner Michael Kahn, along with the Checkers, has donated an annual scholarship beginning in 2012. The Michael A. Kahn Community Service Scholastic Scholarship ($10,000 a year for four years) will be awarded annually to a local high school football player who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in areas of academics and community service.
This Community update is brought to you by Goodrich Corporation, who is a proud sponsor of all Checkers community initiatives. Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a global supplier of systems and services to the aerospace, defense and homeland security markets. With 2007 revenues of $6.4 billion, Goodrich is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and employs more than 24,000 people worldwide in approximately 90 facilities across 16 countries.