Nick Niedzielski, Checkers Director of Marketing and Communications:This was a tight race between a handful of different candidates, but in the end I don’t think anyone affected this team the way that Zac Dalpe did. Looking at just his off the ice contributions, the veteran took on the role of team captain for a club made up of prospects from two different organizations and brought them together - a feat in and of itself. Then you look at what he was able to do on the ice - leading the team with 30 goals while consistently stepping up in clutch situations, all in his 12th season as a pro. Dalpe had a special season and was a driving force behind everything this team was able to do.
Voting ResultsNick - Zac Dalpe
Paul - Joey Daccord
TJ - Zac Dalpe
Fans - Joey Daccord
Forward of the Year
Paul Branecky, Checkers VP of Marketing and Communications: For those of us that have been around long enough to see both of his stints as a Checker, it was a pleasure watching Zac Dalpe, who we knew could score from his early days with the team, return as an experienced leader who was instrumental in bringing two distinct groups of prospects together into one cohesive unit – a job he took very seriously. Thirty goals in the regular season, seven goals in seven playoff games and a double-overtime-winning hat trick against Bridgeport that was one of the best individual performances in recent memory. Glad to have him back.
Voting ResultsNick - Alexander True
Paul - Zac Dalpe
TJ - Alexander True
Fans - Zac Dalpe
Defenseman of the Year
TJ Chillot, Checkers Broadcaster: With three 30+ point-scorers on the blue line this season, the Checkers enjoyed some great offensive production from their D corps. This year's Defenseman of the Year is Cale Fleury who was instrumental offensively for the Checkers with his 33 points. Fleury also recorded a multi-point game on eight different occasions and had a season-long five-game point streak in January. Fleury was stout defensively as well, logging a plus/minus of +13 - which was tied for highest on the team.
Voting ResultsNick - Connor Carrick
Paul - Cale Fleury
TJ - Cale Fleury
Fans - Cale Fleury
Rookie of the Year
Nick: Cole Schwindt’s junior career was cut short with the OHL canceling its 2020-21 season, and while he got a taste of the pro game in a 10-game stint with Syracuse as a teenager, Schwindt faced his proper introduction to this level of hockey this year and impressed. He was an offensive force for the Checkers, leading team rookies with 40 points. That mark is made even more impressive by the fact that Schwindt didn’t see much of any time on the Charlotte power play - 36 of his points came at five-on-five, while three more came shorthanded. Coming in after a tumultuous year prior, Schwindt established himself as a dependable asset down the middle for Charlotte and a shining piece of Florida’s future.
Voting ResultsNick - Cole Schwindt
Paul - Cole Scwhindt
TJ - Cole Schwindt
Fans - Cole Schwindt
Nick: What can you say about Chubby’s performance this season? He put in a full 60 every night, he sacrificed his body to run up stairs, he dug deep to make sure everyone in the building got a high five. He’s truly elite bear who came to the rink every day ready to work and get better. He mascoted the right way. We’re happy to have him.
Moment of the Year
TJ: The 2021-22 season was unlike any in the history of the Charlotte Checkers and it wasn’t without its fair share of incredible moments. From Serron Noel’s first career hat-trick with all of his goals coming in the opening period, to three straight games won by way of the shootout, to the return of hockey to Charlotte after opting out in 2020-21. It’s not a stretch to say that Checkers games, especially those at Bojangles Coliseum, managed to churn out a great deal of excitement. The pick for Moment of the Year this season goes to the 11-goal game against Rochester on December 14th. A total domination of the Americans, nine different Checkers lit the lamp in the game including Kole Lind and Grigori Denisenko, who each notched a pair. Lind recorded a total of five points in the game as the Checkers rolled. Three goals in the first, seven in the second, and the record-breaker coming off the stick of Scott Wilson in the third.
Performance of the Year
Nick: Game 2 of the Checkers’ second-round series against the Islanders was a pivotal contest and one of the wildest games in recent memory - and another instance of Zac Dalpe elevating his game on the biggest stages. The captain opened the scoring less than a minute in to kickstart a frantic 4-0 run for the visitors, then lit the lamp at the end of the frame to interrupt a surge by the Islanders. The game would eventually require more than 60 minutes to be settled, and after another 23 minutes of deadlocked hockey Dalpe would emerge as the hero - busting through on an odd-man rush and burying a wrister to complete his hat trick and put the Checkers on track for their eventual series win.