Hershey Bears To Face Charlotte Checkers In AHL’s Atlantic Division Semifinals

With a first round bye in the 2023 AHL Playoffs, the Hershey Bears have been waiting to find out who their opponent will be in the AHL’s Atlantic Division Semifinals. The Bears did know they would face the higher seed of the first round winners between the (#3) Charlotte Checkers vs (#6) Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the (#4) Springfield Thunderbirds vs. (#5) Hartford Wolf Pack.

With the Checkers 6-0 win over the Phantoms on Friday night, they take their first round series, 2-1. As a result, the Bears will face the Checkers in a best-of-five series in the Atlantic Division Seminfials. The series will begin next Friday in Charlotte.

The Bears had a 3-3-1-1 record against the Checkers in their eight meetings during the 2022-23 regular season.

Tickets for Hershey’s home games will go on sale on Tuesday, April 25 at 10 a.m.  Fans can receive access a day early on Monday, April 24 with an exclusive presale featuring two tickets for $25 in select sections when they sign up for the club’s email list.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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18 Responses to Hershey Bears To Face Charlotte Checkers In AHL’s Atlantic Division Semifinals

  1. grahf2015 says:

    I hate the AHL “home ice advantage” format. Freaking joke.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I miss the days when every series was best of seven and were either 2-3-2 or 2-2-2-1. The better team will usually come out on top with that approach and interest in the local teams kept increasing through the series, instead of the craziness today.

  3. novafyre says:

    Stingrays drop game 1 as Everblades came to play, scoring 3 in first while Rays could only muster 2 sog. Final score 5-0. Tyler Wall faced 28 shots.

  4. novafyre says:

    The Everblades are the ECHL affiliate of the Charlotte Checkers. I hope that is not a bad omen.

    The Rays were without their #2 forward Bears Hughes who has not yet returned from a late season injury. About 6 minutes in, Josh Wilkins, their #1 forward got a 5 minute major and expulsion. It certainly didn’t help losing him for the game but at the time of his penalty, the Rays had 0 shots. This was the story of the whole game. Couldn’t score 5 on 5, couldn’t score on powerplays even when one was a 4 on 3. Their offense was just stifled all game long. By the time there was 27 minutes left, the game was over and both teams just went through the motions while the fans filed out.
    Final tally for the Rays was 35 SOG and 27 PIM.

    I am a big believer in teamwork. The Rays were missing a couple of key players but also had some players back from injuries and loans. So while missing some strong players they had other good players to replace them. But they were not a team. They were disjointed and the Blades took advantage.

    Tyler Wall took the loss. I expect Clay to be in net Monday.

  5. Rich427 says:

    I’ve been a long-time lurker of this site, but just recently subscribed. I have become a big hockey fan over the last 10 years or so. I am from Maryland but live in SW Florida. I watch every Caps game on TV and I am also a season ticket holder to the Florida Everblades. Normally, this doesn’t provide much of a conflict for me, until this time of year. Yes, the Blades are affiliated with the Charlotte Checkers and the Florida Panthers. Because of my Caps upbringing, I have no loyalty to the Checkers or the Panthers, except for what players will be sent to the Blades.

    With the Caps out of the playoffs this year, I only have sites like this to try to keep up with what is going on with the Cap’s front office and the players until we get to training camp again. But, since I also follow our local team, the Everblades, I do hope that they can repeat this year as Kelly Cup champs. As most people know, winning any Cup championship back to back is not easy.

    As far as the game in Charleston the other night, frankly, I was surprised at the jump the Blades had and how little the Rays had in game 1 of this series. This was not typical for this rivalry. Let me assure everyone, the Blades team this year is not as strong as last year’s Kelly Cup champs. Some of it is age, some of it is injuries, and some of it is typical ECHL player moment. So, I will be surprised if the Blades even get to the finals this year. If I am right, then that leaves room for the Rays to pick up their game and get back into this series. That has to start tonight. They don’t want to return to Hertz Arena being down 2 games with 3 games to be played later this week on the Blades ice.

    In my 10 years of holding season tickets down here, this is the first year since 2014 (?) that I didn’t have the Caps to also cheer for in the playoffs. Not enjoying this time of year nearly as much as normal.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Welcome Rich! We always encourage readers to add their own insights, o-unions, news, etc., like you just did above. We all learn from them and it’s always great to engage with our readers.

      PS, I have family in SW Florida (Fort Myers). Hopefully Hurricane Ian wasn’t too damaging for you personally. I know a lot folks lost everything.


      • Rich427 says:

        Jon, thanks for the welcome! I am also in Fort Myers, but not in Fort Myers Beach, which was devastated. We have some roof tile damage that we are in discussions with our insurance company to get resolved. But nothing like the old Beach homes. Thanks again for the welcome.

    • novafyre says:

      Despite the Blades having what I feel is the best name and logo in hockey (and right now my living just north of you near Tampa) I hope that the Rays can pick themselves up and continue on to the Kelly Cup.

      Lavi’s younger son John was a student at FGCU (forward, #24). Did you ever go to any of their games?

      • Rich427 says:

        No, I haven’t. FGCU has a great sports program for a relatively new university. Basketball, baseball and golf are very big there. I thought their hockey program was a “Club” program and not in a conference, but not 100% sure of that.

        Hertz Arena is an unusual facility. It has 3 full sheets of ice (200 x 85). I believe FGCU’s hockey program plays and practices there. The main arena for the Blades seats about 7500 people. Adult hockey leagues, and their Junior Everblades program is very large and starting to produce players to the ECHL level. Plus, they rent skates and have open skating to the public, at least for the public that still have knees! Lol

        Prior to COVID, their used to be an NHL prospects tournament held at Hertz Arena. The Caps, Preds, Canes, and Panthers used to participate in a round robin tournament. Back then the Blades were affiliated with the Canes, but I was able to see some of the Caps young kids too.

        • novafyre says:

          FGCU is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Don’t know anything about them but they do have divisions, conferences, and championships. FGCU does play at Hertz Arena. I looked FGCU up back when it was reported that Lavi attended one of his son’s games.

          I remember the Hertz prospects tournaments. I think the Bolts also attended one year. Weren’t the Blades connected to the Preds one year as well?

          • Rich427 says:

            Thanks for the info on the ACHA, I wasn’t aware of this association.

            Yes, you are correct that the Bolts were part of the prospect tournament at Hertz. A team or two changed periodically, but one of the mainstay’s was the Caps. They didn’t sell tickets, it was free to the public. Just walk in, sit down and enjoy some hockey. I attended this event 1 day of the weekend schedule for 2 or 3 years. It was great! Would love to see it come back.

            With you being in the Tampa area, do you try to see the Caps when they come into town?

            • novafyre says:

              I actually prefer watching all sports on TV. Multiple camera views, zoom, replay, slow motion, play-by-play telling me what I just saw, color guy giving me extra nuggets of info, and pregame, postgame, and intermission analysis. When I have gone to games, I have found that I really miss all that. And, my bathroom and kitchen are really close by at home.

              My sons celebrated their 7th or 8th birthday in the WUSA suite at USAir Arena. Won it in a contest. Now that was the best way to watch hockey.

          • Rich427 says:

            Sorry novafyre, I neglected to answer your other question about whether they had an affiliation with the Preds.

            The Blades are completing their 25th season. They were originally owned by Peter Karmanos who also was the majority owner of the Canes. So, our NHL affiliate was the Canes from their inception to about 2019, I think. When he sold his interest in the Canes, the new Carolina ownership chose to move their ECHL affiliation away from Florida and Karmanos. We then had an affiliation with the Preds up until this year, which we then moved to the Panthers.

            • novafyre says:

              I thought I remembered a Nashville connection. Actually watched quite a few Blades games on FloHockey during COVID. Really liked Mike Kelly the announcer.

          • dwgie26 says:

            FGCU is a really strong program. They play D2 ACHA. Regularly ranked in Top 3 and go to Nationals the last few years. My is a freshman ACHA player and they played FGCU at Nationals in Boston this year. I believe they are scheduled to go down to Hertz next year but not confirmed yet. I may have to fly down for that.

  6. Rich427 says:

    There are direct flights from BWI to SW Florida International (RSW). Not sure about Dulles or National. Hertz Arena is 10 minutes from airport and you have to drive right past FGCU to get there. It will be Wirth the trip!

    I’ll have to look more into the FGCU hockey program.

    • novafyre says:

      Back when I learned Lavi’s kid was there I figured it was just to be close to home (Longboat Key) but now I know that it is a good program as well. Cool.

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