For the first time in franchise history, the Charlotte Checkers are champions of the American Hockey League. They made it official by beating the Chicago Wolves 5-3 in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday night in Rosemont, IL. The Checkers won that series 4 games to 1.

While this is the first Calder Cup win in the Checkers’ nine-year tenure with the AHL, it’s actually the seventh championship overall in Charlotte hockey history. The team won Eastern Hockey League titles in 1957, 1971 and 1972, Southern Hockey League championships in 1975 and 1976, and the ECHL title in 1996.

I watched Game 5 at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, which hosted one of the many viewing parties around Charlotte. The cowbells rang loud and proud when the Checkers scored the last empty net goal to seal the deal.

The team will host a public celebration Monday (6/10) at 7:00 PM at Bojangles’ Coliseum. Admission and parking will be free. Season ticket holders will be able to enter at 6:00 PM before doors open to the general public at 6:30 PM.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige