Stacking your roster with OHL grads has worked for the Los Angeles Kings – they’ve been a bit successful over the past few NHL seasons. Looking at the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, it would seem that the Carolina Hurricanes might be emulating the Kings. At this moment on their AHL affiliate in Charlotte, the Hurricanes organization has nine Ontario Hockey League alumni in the lineup. And, who better to guide these young players than two OHL alumni behind the bench.
The Plymouth Whalers are well represented with four of the nine players spending at least some time with the Michigan club. In a Cliff Claven twist, two of the players were fourth round, 105th overall picks by the Hurricanes.
Carrick played three years in the OHL from 2011-12 to 2013-14 with the Mississauga Steelheads and Sudbury Wolves. Trevor was a fifth round pick by the Mississauga Majors at the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, 85th overall and was involved in a deadline deal to the Wolves in his third year.
The Hurricanes selected Carrick in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 115th overall. He signed an entry level contract with the club that is good through the 2016-17 season.
Jordan (pictured) also played three years in the OHL from 2007-08 to 2009-10 with the Windsor Spitfires and Plymouth Whalers. Originally, he was the eighth overall pick by the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets at the 2007 CHL Import Draft but never played out west. He was traded from the Spits to the Whalers 22 games into his OHL career.
Michal was an fourth round pick by Carolina at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 105th overall. He has played in 21 games with the Hurricanes to date, five in 2012-13 and 16 this season. Currently, Jordan is the captain of the Checkers and is signed with the organization through the 2014-15 season.
Aleardi played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2008-09 to 2012-13 with the Kitchener Rangers, Belleville Bulls, Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires. Kitchener took Alex in the third round of the 2008 OHL Priority Selection, 43rd overall.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Aleardi has split the past two years between the AHL and ECHL. To date, he has pretty much played an even amount of games with Charlotte and the Florida Everblades. He is signed through 2014-15.
An NHL veteran making a comeback after missing the entire 2013-14 season, Larose played three years with the Plymouth Whalers from 2000-01 to 2002-03. Undrafted to either the OHL or NHL, Larose has been in the Carolina system since 2005-06.
Over 508 NHL regular season games between 2005-06 and 2012-13, Chad scored 85 and assisted on 95 for 180 points. He played another 39 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs, adding 12 points. All his NHL action has been with the Hurricanes.
Fresh off a Memorial Cup appearance, McGinn played four years with the Guelph Storm from 2010-11 to 2013-14. Brock was a third round pick by the Storm at the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, 46th overall. He wore the ‘A’ for Guelph for his last three years.
The Hurricanes selected McGinn in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 47th overall. His first pro action came in 2012-13 after Guelph was eliminated from the Robertson Cup playoffs. He played four regular season and two Calder Cup playoff games with the Checkers that year. McGinn is signed through the 2016-17 season.
Nemisz played four years in the OHL from 2006-07 to 2009-10 with the Windsor Spitfires and was a huge part of the team’s consecutive Memorial Cup championships. Greg was the seventh overall pick by Windsor at the 2006 OHL Priority Selection. He played 246 regular season games in the OHL and totalled 248 points. He added another 35 points in 40 playoff games and 12 more in ten Memorial Cup tournament games.
The Calgary Flames took Nemisz in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 25th overall. He played in 15 games with the Flames over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Greg was traded from the Abbotsford Heat to the Checkers midway through the 2013-14 AHL season.
A five year veteran in the Ontario Hockey League, Sandlak played with the Guelph Storm, Belleville Bulls and Plymouth Whalers between 2009-10 and 2013-14. Undrafted to the NHL, Carter signed an entry level contract with the Hurricanes as a free agent in December, 2013 and is signed through 2015-16.
An updated article on this player can be found here: Justin Shugg
Shugg played four years in the OHL from 2007-08 to 2010-11 with the Oshawa Generals, Windsor Spitfires and Mississauga Majors. He was the tenth overall pick by the Gens in 2007. Justin played in three consecutive Memorial Cup tournaments, two with the Spits and one with the Majors.
Another 4/105er, the Hurricanes selected Shugg at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Justin saw his first NHL action this year, appearing in three games with Carolina.
The third Staal in the Carolina organization, Jared played four years in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves from 2006-07 to 2009-10. The Wolves drafted him in the first round of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, eleventh overall.
Staal was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 49th overall. His first pro action came in 2008-09, appearing in five AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage after Sudbury was eliminated from the playoffs. Jared appeared in his only two NHL games to date with the Hurricanes in 2012-13.
Jeff Daniels – Head Coach
Daniels played four years with the Oshawa Generals form 1984-85 to 1987-88. At the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Jeff was a sixth round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 109th overall. He played pro from 1988-89 to 2002-03 in the IHL, NHL and AHL.
Jeff played in 425 NHL games between 1990-91 and 2002-03 with the Penguins, Florida Panthers, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators. He has been GM and head coach of the Checkers since 2010-11.
Geordie Kinnear – Assistant Coach
Kinnear played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1990-91 to 1992-93 with the Peterborough Petes. He was captain of the Petes in his final year in the OHL. The New Jersey Devils selected him in the seventh round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, 162nd overall.
His only NHL action came in 1999-00 when he played four games for the Atlanta Thrashers. Kinnear’s number four has been retired by the Albany River Rats. Geordie has been assistant coach with Charlotte since 2012-13.
It should be noted that Ryan Murphy is another OHL grad that has spent time with the Checkers in 2014-15 but is currently up with the Hurricanes in the NHL.
Charlotte has been in the AHL since 2010-11. In name, the Charlotte Checkers date back to 1956-57 when an unrelated franchise played in the EHL. There have also been teams in the SHL and ECHL that have carried the Checkers nickname.
The Checkers play home games at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The venue opened in 2005 and seats 14,100.