The Charlotte Checkers today announced that they have reached a multi-year affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Florida Panthers that will begin with the 2020-21 season.

“We are very fortunate to have found a great partner in the Florida Panthers,” said Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black. “We feel confident that this relationship will allow us to continue producing a high-level product while providing a great environment for player development. We look forward to welcoming their players and staff to Charlotte as soon as possible.”

“We are proud to announce our affiliation with the Charlotte Checkers,” said Florida Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell. “The Checkers organization has found success and constructed a winning culture. We are thrilled for the opportunities that this partnership provides for our young players and the future of our franchise.”

“It’s an exciting day for the Panthers and Checkers organizations,” said Panthers General Manager Bill Zito. “Building success and establishing a strong culture at the American Hockey League level is vital to the development of our young players. The Checkers have built a winning culture, culminating in a 2019 Calder Cup Championship. We feel that with this affiliation, our prospects will be in the right environment to grow and develop into National Hockey League players.”

Moving forward, the Checkers will continue to play at Bojangles’ Coliseum with no major changes to the team’s colors, uniforms or branding. The team will now be comprised of players, coaches and hockey staff from the Panthers’ organization, while the Checkers’ front-office staff will not change due to the affiliation.

The American Hockey League, which announced the cancelation of the remainder of its 2019-20 season in May, has a tentative target date of Dec. 4 to begin play on the 2020-21 campaign.