CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2010 class of inductees for the Charlotte Hockey Hall of Fame, presented by American Airlines, was announced today and will include former goaltender Gaye Cooley, former player and coach Fred Creighton and Cliff Mehrtens, the ECHL Checkers’ beat writer since the team’s inception in 1993.
The three will be honored during the second intermission of Friday’s game when the Checkers host the Trenton Devils at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Cooley played five seasons in Charlotte and backstopped the Checkers to three championships – one in the EHL in 1971-72 and back-to-back SHL titles in 1974-75 and 1975-76. The Kirkland Lake, Ontario native was a three-time EHL All-Star and led the league in goals against average in 1971-72 and 1974-75. Cooley recorded 16 shutouts and posted a 2.87 career GAA in 181 games as a Checker.
Prior to joining the pro ranks, Cooley played at Michigan State and led the Spartans to the 1965-66 NCAA National Championship. He ranks sixth in all-time save percentage at Michigan State and held the school record for career save percentage throughout the 60’s and 70’s.
Cooley joins Nick Vitucci as the only two goaltenders in the Charlotte Hockey Hall of Fame.
Creighton played four seasons in a Checkers uniform before stepping behind the bench for seven as the team’s head coach. He compiled 90 points and 389 penalty minutes in 204 games as a player and a 294-178-35 (.614) record as a coach.
As Checkers head coach, the native of Port Arthur, Ontario had six consecutive seasons above .500 and helped the team to back-to-back league championships in 1970-71 and 1971-72.
Creighton went on to become head coach of the NHL’s Atlanta Flames for five seasons and the Boston Bruins for a single season in 1979-80. He was twice named Minor League Hockey Coach of the Year and won four championships in 22 seasons as a head coach. Creighton was also recently inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mehrtens has covered the ECHL Checkers for the Charlotte Observer since the team’s inception in 1993. He has attended hundreds of Checkers games and has not missed a playoff contest. During the 1995-96 playoffs, Mehrtens traveled with the team to Roanoke, Charleston, Tallahassee and Jacksonville as the Checkers went 13-3 en route to their only ECHL championship.
A native of New Orleans, Mehrtens has covered every major event in ECHL Checkers history, including the inaugural 1993-94 season and the move to Time Warner Cable Arena. Mehrtens has won several journalism awards throughout his career and has covered high school and pro sports for 25 years.
The Checkers (36-20-7) will travel to Reading tonight before returning on Friday to host Trenton. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.