Charlotte, N.C. - After months of watching and waiting, the first phase of renovations at Bojangles’ Coliseum is finally finished. This comes just in time for the Charlotte Checker's opening game this Saturday.
On Wednesday, we got a sneak peek at the 12 million dollar changes and upgrades.
Everything inside to Bojangles’ Coliseum is brand-new, including new seats, new scoreboard, and new sound system.
Charlotte Checkers officials say finally after 10 years the team has a place to both practice and play with a real home ice advantage.
On Wednesday, the team cut into the ice in preparation for this Saturday’s face off against the Manitoba Moose. It will be the Checkers’ first home game at Bojangles’ Coliseum in a decade.
"You're always looking for the edge and for them to feel like they have a home, to practice where they place, to understand how the ice works, the lighting, and the temperature,” said Tera Black, COO of the Charlotte Checkers.
Nearly a year ago, the city approved 16 million dollars go to renovating Bojangles’ Coliseum. A lot has changed since the work began in June. Now, the ice is cold and hockey fever is hot.
"I think it's very exciting. I've been to a few hockey games before. I'm excited about the renovations they did," said Latisha Davis who lives near the Coliseum.
"The building has been here for more than 60 years. The outside of the building is actually landmarked as a historic building. That's why we didn't do a lot of renovations to the exterior, but the interior, we were free to do what we wanted to," said CRVA CEO Tom Murray.
A local business owner who runs the 7-Eleven just blocks away from the coliseum says he hopes to can get in on some of the action.
"This coming Saturday night, I’m going to be in the store observing what the guests will be taking to accommodate what they need and will be asking a lot of questions to make sure I have what they're looking for in the store," said Wayel Alspinati, business owner.
The ice rink isn't just for the team, but also for the community. In fact, there will be a free community skate event this upcoming Tuesday.
Four million dollars are still in the pipeline for back of the house upgrades.
Before the renovations, the coliseum would host about 80 events every year from graduations to concerts and other performances.
Now, that number is set to go up to around 130 events per year.
The Charlotte Checkers will have 38 home games at the coliseum.