The 2017-18 season is creeping closer and closer, and the Checkers’ move to the Eastern Conference means a whole new slate of opponents. For the new few weeks, we’ll take a look at each of Charlotte’s new Atlantic Division rivals!


The perennial power Hershey punched a ticket to the postseason for the third straight year a season ago, falling in the Atlantic Division Final. The Bears’ third-ranked offense looks to have retained much of its pop heading into the new campaign, with each of the top three scorers returning. They could also reunite last season’s tandem of Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek between the pipes, as both young netminders remain under contract.

Key Departures


Paul Carey

28-year-old center tied for team lead in goals last season with Hershey (24), netted 55 points in 55 AHL games while making an NHL appearance for the fourth straight season, now signed with Rangers

Stanislav Galiev

Former third-round pick returned to Russia after ranking third on the Bears in goals (21) last season



Travis Boyd

AHL All Star led Hershey in scoring during his second pro season (63) and tied for third in the league in assists (47)

Chris Bourque

Former league MVP, four-time AHL All Star returns after ranking second on Bears in scoring



Wayne Simpson

After two ECHL seasons, 27-year-old now has two solid AHL seasons under his belt, leading Providence in assists last season (33) and ranking fourth on the team in scoring

John Albert

An established AHL presence in the Winnipeg system, veteran returns to North America after tying for third on Karpat in goals (12) last season in the top Finnish league