Happy Thanksgiving Caniacs!
What a difference a year makes in terms of having things to be thankful for. Much of my list holds true through thick and thin, but the upward trajectory of our hockey team that started well after Thanksgiving last year has significantly boosted the Thanksgiving goodness for this year.
In no particular order, below is a quick list of Canes things that I am thankful for.
1) Just having an NHL team here in Raleigh
I try never to take this for granted. There was no NHL team here when I arrived in 1992, and it is not as if there was some kind of push to add one. The team more or less just fell out of the sky and for that I will be forever thankful.
2) The ownership transition to Tom Dundon
Though I never thought anything negative was imminent, the uncertainty over the long-term ownership of the team had become a significant drag on optimism and increasingly a cause for concern. The trajectory of the team has changed significantly for the better with Tom Dundon as the owner. We could quibble over some specifics, but I think the team has become more fun, fan-focused and competitive at the same time. I have always said that I could live with any amounts of ups and downs but that it would crush me if the team ever moved. Nothing is guaranteed for forever in professional sports, but with the ownership transition the team is on much firmer ground.
3) The playoff runs
The 2006 Stanley Cup Championship obviously takes top billing, but what has been incredible about this franchise is how each and every playoff berth since the team arrived in Raleigh has had magical results. The 2001 playoffs were the only first-round loss, but game 5 in that series is still easily a top 10 Canes game for me, and I think that season was the foundation of the culture. The 2002 run to the Finals is what put hockey on the map in North Carolina and made many new fans including myself Caniacs for life. Brind’Amour hoistingt the Stanley Cup in 2006 speaks for itself. The utterly wild pair of game 7 road wins in 2009 were among the most exhilarating wins in Canes history. And then after a long delay, the team again provided sheer magic again in 2019 with the series win over the Capitals staking a good claim to being the best playoff series in franchise history.
4) Rod Brind’Amour
He has played an integral role in each and every one of the team’s five magical playoff series since arriving in Raleigh first as a player and now as a coach. He has grown to become the single most important person in franchise history and is also a pillar for what Hurricanes hockey stands for.
What say you Canes fans?
What are you most thankful for as a Carolina Hurricanes fan?