As most people know by now, Monday’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings was canceled because the ice was unplayable because of an issue with the arena’s ice cooling system. When you couple this with the Hurricanes wild 8-6 win last Tuesday, this makes 2 entries in the past 6 days that would garner consider for any top 10 list of most bizarre games, or non-games in today’s case, in Hurricanes’ history.
To this day, I still think the most bizarre game in Hurricanes’ history occurred on January 27, 2000. In a place where 3-5 inches of snow can significantly slow activity, a massive blizzard dumped 20.6 inches of snow at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on January 25, 2000. The snow storm postponed the Hurricanes game that night.
The Phoenix (before they became Arizona) Coyotes had arrived in Raleigh on January 24 for the January 25 match up and more or less got snowed in with everyone else.
Because the Coyotes could not get out with the airport closed, the game was hastily rescheduled for an afternoon game on January 27 at 1pm. The game was open to anyone who could get there with no need for a ticket or to pay for parking. With some back roads reasonably clear and others not so much and many patches where the road had been cleared but iced over the night before getting from Cary to the then Entertainment and Sports Arena was an event in itself. My wife, sister and brother-in-law left western Cary at roughly 11:45 figuring that was plenty of time and meandered our way into the parking lot a few minutes before the puck dropped.
We were not the only ones. A box score shows attendance of 9,675, but that was the paid number. They only opened the lower bowl and actual ‘butts in seats’ attendance was similar to the Red-White scrimmage with a good spattering of fans spread out around the lower bowl with a mix of people who were just trying to get to somewhere that had electricity for the afternoon, some who were hockey crazy, some who were stir crazy from being cooped up for 2 days and others who were just crazy.
The game itself was surreal. I no longer remember specifics but just remember the game being bare bones as if it was a scrimmage. Entering the game did not require a ticket and there was probably some minimum number of ushers and other people there to help. Seating was first come, first serve. And if I remember right, most of in-game stuff was non-existent.
The Hurricanes lost that game 4-2, but bigger than the outcome of the game was easily 1 of the top 10 most bizarre Canes games in history, and something that I remember almost 16 years later far more than any other individual game from that time period that was not the playoffs.
Did anyone else attend that game?
How long was your journey to get there?
What other memories of the specifics of the situation in the arena am I leaving out?
What can the Hurricanes do next week to continue their current string of a bizarre game per week?