Snowstorm forces AHL teams to play in empty rink

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WATCH ABOVE: After a major snowstorm hit the Charlotte area, the AHL's Charlotte Checkers and Bridgeport Sound Tigers played their game in an empty arena – Jan 18, 2018

There was a lot of awkward silence at an AHL game between the Charlotte Checkers and Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday night.

The two teams played before an empty rink as a major snowstorm hit the Charlotte, N.C., area.

The teams decided to play the second game of a back-to-back, two hours before it was supposed to be played.

With a snowstorm during the day and a guarantee of icy roads at night, officials decided to close the game to the public.

So the teams played inside an empty rink and though it looked like a practice from afar, the intensity of the game action was noticeable in tweets sent from the official Charlotte Checkers’ account.

The empty rink didn’t stop players and staff from having a little fun. During a stoppage in play, there was dancing to “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

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The popular “kiss-cam” didn’t fare as well as the scoreboard camera panned to empty seats several times.

“It’s more fun to play with people out there, but we need to do our best no matter what the situation,” Checkers centre Lucas Wallmark said on the team’s website.

Charlotte managed to beat Bridgeport 4-3.

The Checkers couldn’t escape friendly ridicule from fellow teams as the Milwaukee Admirals’ and Laval Rockets’ Twitter accounts posted in response to the closed game.

But the weather was no laughing matter as some parts of the state received as much as eight inches of snow, according to the Charlotte Observer.

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Even NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted out a warning of icy road conditions after he was involved in a minor crash.

Though it’s very rare, other professional sports events have taken place in front of vacant stands including a Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles in 2015, that was due to civil unrest in the Baltimore area.