Tag Archives: Michael Kahn


We’ve had the good pleasure of speaking and working with Michael Kahn, the owner of the Charlotte Checkers, who today became a part-owner of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Mr. Kahn is just an absolute pleasure to deal with and one of the smartest people we’ve ever had the good pleasure to deal with in hockey. I know this was something that was a goal for him and something he really wanted so we wish him all the best.

Here’s the official release:

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Charlotte Checkers

Okay, we admit it…it’s our first lame Hurricanes reference…you can bet that there will be plenty more of them.

The good news from this Checkers’ report is that longtime coach and GM o the Checkers, Derek Wilkinson is remaining on and will have a biggerrole with the organization.

Here’s the official release on the big news coming out of Charlotte today.

Daniels, Kinnear To Coach Canes’ Top Affiliate; Wilkinson Back In Front-Office Role

Charlotte Checkers owner and CEO Michael Kahn announced today the team’s hockey operations staff heading into its inaugural American Hockey League season as the top affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jeff Daniels was named as head coach and general manager, Geordie Kinnear as assistant coach, Brian Maddox as head athletic trainer and Jason McGrath as head equipment manager. In addition, Derek Wilkinson has been named senior vice president of hockey business operations.

Daniels, 41, is entering his 13th season with the Carolina Hurricanes and third year as the head coach and general manager of the team’s AHL affiliate. Prior to his current position, he spent four seasons with the Hurricanes as an assistant coach, helping guide the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006.

Daniels was selected in the sixth round (109th overall) by Pittsburgh in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. In his 15-year professional playing career as a forward, Daniels spent time with Pittsburgh, Florida, Nashville and Carolina. In 425 NHL regular-season games, he scored 17 goals and 26 assists while adding three goals and five assists in 41 playoff games. The Oshawa, Ontario native also won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1992.
Kinnear, 36, is entering his eighth season as an assistant coach in the AHL and his fourth full season working for the Hurricanes. He began his coaching career when he joined the Albany River Rats’ coaching staff in August of 2001 after an eight-year professional playing career.

Kinnear was drafted by New Jersey in the seventh round (162nd overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He skated with Albany for the first six years of his career (1993-94 to 1998-99), helping them reach the playoffs every year. Over that time, he was a member of Albany’s 1995 Calder Cup championship team, was selected to four consecutive AHL All-Star Classics (1996-1999) and served as team captain for three seasons (1996-1999).

Maddox begins his sixth season as head athletic trainer for the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate. He was the head athletic trainer for the Lowell Lock Monsters in 2005-06 before taking the same position with Albany from 2006-2010. He also has AHL experience as a member of the medical staff for the Binghamton Senators during the 2003-2004 season. Maddox graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology and from Villanova University with a Master of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies.

McGrath, 34, has been a member of Albany’s hockey operations staff since 1997-98, when he was hired as assistant equipment manager. He was promoted to head equipment manager in 1999 and held that position through 2009-10. In 2003, McGrath was promoted to the New Jersey Devils as assistant equipment manager for their playoff run and earned a Stanley Cup ring.

Wilkinson, 35, returns to the Checkers after eight seasons behind the bench in the ECHL. The winningest coach in ECHL Checkers history, Wilkinson compiled a record of 237-182-42 (.560) while guiding the team to the playoffs for the last six seasons. The former player was the first ever goaltender drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning (7th round, 145th overall, 1992) and appeared in 22 NHL games from 1995-1999.

Wilkinson will oversee all hockey operations between the Hurricanes and Checkers, including but not limited to managing personnel, the club’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations and responsibilities and hockey operations budget.

Season tickets for the Checkers’ inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/AHL.

(Photo courtesy of gocheckers.com)


Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery In our first item:

According to all the major news organizations that cover the Rangers, both Enver Lisin and veteran Aaron Voros have been put on waivers by the New York Rangers. Lisin will be on display for potential suitors as the Rangers take on the Ottawa Senators tonight. Both are expected though to clear waivers. It is safe to assume that if he does clear waivers, the Rangers will send Voros to the Wolf Pack to finish the season and create cap space.  Voros has another season at $1mm per on his contract. Lisin, who came to the Rangers in a trade for ex-Pack forward Lauri Korpikoski, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and has a $790K salary cap hit. It is unclear whether or not Lisin would be sent to Hartford or not. Our guess is that he would be.

Which leads to our second item:

The Wolf Pack have sent Devin DiDiomete and Kenny Roche back to the Charlotte Checkers. Could this move have something to do with the previous item? It’s possible. It’s also possible that the Pack just got Andres Ambühl back from the Olympics and P.A. Parenteau back from a concussion. Howlings does not believe that the organization is done making moves though. The Pack are a team that is really struggling to make any kind of push for the post season. With 19 games left on the schedule they CLEARLY need help. Voros and Lisin would be a good start. When (IF) Corey Potter comes back from New York and Nigel Williams gets back in the lineup, at least one other defenseman could be sent to Charlotte as well. Julien Brouillette will certainly go back. The question is on the other would it be Jared Nightingale or Dave Urquhart. The third option is that just one would go back and the team would keep an extra person around just in case.

Also affecting who stays and who goes could be affected by the fact that the Canadian Juniors leagues and college hockey seasons are coming to a close soon. It is possible that 2010 World Juniors Champions, Ryan Bourque, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider could all get an Amateur Try Out contract.

Here is the official release:


*           *           *           *

Devin DiDiomete and Kenny Roche Returned to ECHL Charlotte

Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have reassigned forward Devin DiDiomete from the Wolf Pack to the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, and that the Wolf Pack have released forward Kenny Roche from his Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement.

DiDiomete, a second-year pro, has two assists and is +2 in 34 games with the Wolf Pack this season, and has accumulated 119 penalty minutes, third-most on the team.  In 107 career games with the Pack, DiDiomete has totaled four goals and seven assists for 11 points, along with 358 PIM.

In an earlier stint with Charlotte this year, DiDiomete skated in six ECHL games, notching two goals and an assist for three points, along with 46 penalty minutes.

Roche appeared in 14 games for the Wolf Pack after joining the squad January 23, contributing four goals and four assists for eight points and serving eight minutes in penalties.  Prior to signing with the Pack, Roche logged three AHL games with the Providence Bruins, posting one assist, and had 16-11-27 in 33 ECHL games with the Checkers.

Charlotte Checkers In regards to the Charlotte Checkers, we have two pieces of news.

The first you are aware of and that is that they are joining the AHL next season as the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate. They announced today the following:

Team Set To Begin Play In American Hockey League In 2010-11

The Charlotte Checkers have announced today ticket prices and brand coloring for the 2010-11 season when the team will begin play in the American Hockey League as the primary affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

The Checkers have created several new pricing levels to remain the most affordable sports entertainment option in Uptown Charlotte.

The introduction of a new $200 full season ticket package means fans can enjoy watching top Carolina Hurricanes prospects 40 times per season for only $5 per game. Under current pricing, the lowest priced season ticket is $9.25 per game.

Luxury ticket inventories such as Royal Boxes and Terrace Tables have decreased in price by an average of $2.50 per game to become an even more affordable and valuable investment piece for businesses and corporate partners.

The most expensive season ticket package remains the glass section at $1140 per seat or $28.50 per game while front row packages in comparative sports markets can range up to $2400 per seat or $60 per game.

Most season ticket price increases are in the .25 – .75 cents per game range in order to remain competitive in this new era of professional hockey in Charlotte

“It was the promise of Checkers owner Michael Kahn that the team would remain the single best sports entertainment value in Charlotte and our new prices reflect this,” remarked Checkers vice president Shawn Lynch. “The AHL offers a much higher caliber of hockey and we are excited to welcome many new teams to the city of Charlotte while remaining consistent with our current pricing.”

In addition, single-game prices will start at $10 per game with the introduction of a discounted youth ticket for all games while the highest single-game ticket will remain at $35 per game.

The Checkers have also announced that they will change their logo and uniform colors to match those of the Hurricanes. The team went through an entire re-branding before the 2007-08 season and will simply change colors and incorporate the Hurricanes trademark. The details of these changes, as well as the new logo, will be revealed at a later date.

For more information or to purchase season tickets for the 2010-11 season please call 704-342-4423 or visit www.gocheckers.com/ahl.

The second piece of news concerns Howlings.

We are going to continue to cover the Hartford Wolf Pack for our fifth season. There are all kinds of rumors floating around as to where the team is going to be. We will cover them regardless. We will also cover whatever ECHL team the Rangers organization decides to work with.

However, we are VERY proud to announce to our readers now, that we will continue to cover the Charlotte Checkers as they enter the AHL as well. Howlings has a magnificent working relationship with the Checkers organization. We have determined that to throw that simply because they will no longer be associated with the Rangers organization seems awfully petty and would be an awful waste of good material. We also strongly believe that it will invite a lot more readers to the site and also stimulate some good chat as the two teams compete against one another.

So a busy day and a busier one coming tomorrow as the trade deadline is set for 3pm eastern. Keep your eyes peeled here or at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete coverage.


Michael KahnThe biggest Charlotte Checkersnews in the last 48 hours is that the Charlotte Checkers, the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate for the New York Rangers since the 1994-1995, have decided to become the American Hockey League (AHL) and have agreed to become the Carolina Hurricane’s top development team.

Michael Kahn is the owner of the Charlotte Checkers. He is also a governor of the ECHL. Kahn purchased the Checkers in June 2006.

According to his biography, “the Atlanta, Georgia native has been involved in the family-owned wine and spirits business all his life. He is vice president/COO of a company that was started by his grandfather back in 1940, Empire Distributors Inc. In terms of his personal interests, Kahn is a big supporter of the University of Georgia which has an athletic training facility that bears his name and he has funded numerous athletic and academic scholarships. He is a major contributor and serves on the board of directors for The Fletcher School in Charlotte, which has a building named in his honor on its new campus. Kahn, who has been nominated as the Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, resides in Charlotte with his family.”

Kahn spoke with Howlings today and answered a number of Checkers, Rangers and Wolf Pack related questions:

Howlings: “Did you feel over the course of the relationship that you had with the Rangers that you got the most out of it that you could?”

Kahn: “I thought we had a very good relationship with New York. This move has nothing to do with our relationship with the Rangers. I consider it to be an excellent relationship to the extent that they were happy for us. They thought it was a good move on our part.”

Howlings: “Was there ever an opportunity to expand with the Rangers under their umbrella?”

Kahn: “I don’t know if I would have done it. One of the sole reasons that I made this move was the synergy I believe that will exist between, obviously Charlotte, Raleigh and the Carolina Hurricanes. That more than anything precipitated the expediency of this move. If it had been Nashville, Atlanta or even the Rangers, we’d have explored it, probably, but I don’t think that I would have moved on it the way that I moved on it. I mean basically Carolina came to us and presented us and said, ‘Look, this is where we want our AHL affiliate.’ So I knew that I had their support and backing through the whole thing.”

Howlings: “So do you know what’s going to happen with the AHL affiliations. It seems to us that there hasn’t been so much talk of movement in a year like this?”

Kahn: “You know with economic times, honestly I don’t know. I’m new to the AHL. I’ve met some of the guys, but I have no idea how things are going to be changing other than what’s already happened with Edmonton.” (editor’s note: they’re leaving Springfield and moving to Oklahoma City next season)

Howlings: “If you were to make a guess, do you think the Rangers will stick with Hartford?”

Kahn: “Uh, this is a sheer guess, I honestly don’t know, but I would think probably that they don’t know.”

Howlings: “You just brought up the economic times that we’re in right now are pretty tough. It seems that minor league hockey seems to thrive in non-traditional hockey markets while the NHL is struggling to get a hold in the major markets. Why do you think that is?”

Kahn: “I think there are several factors.One of the things obviously that we’ve done down here is, we’re in a professional market. Charlotte with having NBA basketball and NFL football, but we’ve been successful because we consider and continue to market ourselves as the best sports entertainment value in the city. They get a professional type product for well below what you’re going to pay for NBA basketball or NFL football and for families in these economic times I think that means something. I understand from the professional outlet level you can’t necessarily mark down your prices real low, but it’s expensive to take in a professional game no matter what sport your talking about. For a family of four as an example; tickets a drink, popcorn, hot dog, whatever you spend a couple of bills there. At least, you can do the same for a minor league team and spend under a hundred bucks. Hey, sometimes the most expensive things the food and everything, not even the ticket itself.”

Howlings: “One of the things that we’ve noticed over the last couple of years that we’ve been coving the Checkers is that you’re very, very creative and you do very interesting promotions like this midnight game that you have coming up (February 18th at 11:59pm).”

Kahn: “Well, we’re going to find out. (laughs)

(Left to right, Kahn, Jim Rutherford, president & general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jason Karmanos, Assistant GM and son of team owner Peter Karmanos)

Howlings: “Do you think that in the American League you’ll be doing more traditional things or for lack of a better way of saying it, ‘the more outlandish’ or out there kinds of promotions?”

Kahn: “That’s kind of a hard question to answer at this point. We haven’t really wrapped our arms around marketing for the American League yet. We’re still playing to win a (Kelly) Cup here in the ECHL. It just so happened that we had to get this announcement out because of the rumors circulating, the timing and everything. Quite honestly we have everybody focused on us winning a Cup this year.”

Howlings: “The team is playing extremely well right now.”

Kahn: “We are playing well. I actually met with (the team) yesterday (Wednesday) because I wanted them to hear this news before it got out there and we are playing well. We’re playing really well and if we get some of our players back we’ll be playing even better. We’re doing this with eleven people called up right now that started the year here.”

Howlings: “(Vice-President & General Manager/Head Coach) Derek Wilkinson is doing an amazing job and it’s almost like he’s doing it with smoke and mirrors.”

Kahn: “He has never, in this market, for whatever reason, and probably because it’s the length of his tenure, I guess people believe in change for one bad stretch or whatever, never has gotten the full credit for what he does, which is why I’ve kept him the whole time. I have never ever even thought of moving him out. Especially from a recruiting standpoint. His player recruitment, the job he does is outstanding.”

Howlings: “Is Wilky’s future more in the hands of the Rangers organization or more in your hands?”

Kahn: “I believe he likes it here in Charlotte and I believe it’s more in my hands and that’s kind of where I want it. Quite honestly, He enjoys the coaching aspect. Is that long term what he wants to do? He and I have had many conversations and he’s never once expressed a desire to be in coaching long term. So, I see him working with myself, our organization and the Hurricanes organization going forward.”

Howlings: “Has there been any discussion about the coaching staff in terms of controlling it? Will that be your decision or (Carolina General Manager Jim) Rutherford’s?”

Kahn: “The coaching staff will be part of the Hurricanes I’m sure.”

Howlings: “It’ll be their decision?”

Kahn: “Yeah.”

Howlings: “Do you have any idea at this point which division you’ll be playing in? It’s pretty safe to assume it’s going to be the Eastern, no?”

Kahn: “I would think, but we haven’t had any discussions about that. Those discussions will probably take place at the next meetings in May.”

Howlings: “You mentioned in the press release that there will be some other things coming up in the future and that in a couple of weeks there will be another press conference. Is it too soon to tell us what some of those things are? Is that stuff like keeping the name, colors and things like that?”

Kahn: “It will be about the name, about our colors. It’ll be about ticket prices. It’ll be things the fans are more interested in. This was mainly just a business press conference.”

Howlings: “Then this next one will be more ‘fan-centric?’”

Kahn: “Yes. This one was mainly to put to bed all the rumors that were circulating. We had rumors around here that there were going to be two teams playing here; that there was going to be no hockey at all. It was just time to get all this settled and put to bed from that aspect and we’ll follow it up with something that’s going to be a lot more fan friendly. The stuff that’s important to the fans.”

Howlings: “This is kind of a left turn, but we ‘d like to get your view on head injuries against some of these younger players; whether you think there should be some rule changes or things that could be experimented with at the ECHL or AHL level for possible use in the NHL?”

Kahn: “I don’t know if I’m qualified to speak about that. I think there has to be a certain level of responsibility assessed to some of these players that go headhunting. There are definite examples of people headhunting. Those things have to be brought in line and have more severe penalties attached to them. But equipment wise and everything else, I would just like to see something done. Can we ever prevent it completely? Doubtful, but I would hope that we could at least find ways to tone it down some.

Howlings: “Thank-you so much for taking the time to talk with us and the fans today and we wish you continued success moving forward.”

Kahn: “It was my pleasure.”

(photos courtesy of gocheckers.com)

* Note,  Special thanks to Andrew Gross of “The Record (NJ)” for his help preparing for this interview.