Readers’ week authors
A few weeks back, I declared the week of August 22-26 to be “Reader’s Week” at Canes and Coffee with reader posts to be featured all week. You can find the most recent and also links to the previous reader articles HERE.
The five writers illustrate the diversity of paths taken to become part of the Caniac Nation. One writer has Hurricanes memories as a young child and truly grew up Caniac. Two writers are transplants from northern hockey markets who have wholeheartedly adopted the Hurricanes as their team. And there are writers currently in South Carolina and the DC area who represent the pull of the Hurricanes outside of the Raleigh area.
Uniqueness compared to established sports cities
I grew up in Northwest Indiana (more or less Chicago area). There, the professional sports teams all date back to before anyone can remember. Even in a sports town like Chicago there are people who grow up not caring about much of it, and there are even people who are fans of out of area teams. But the majority of people rooted for the Chicago teams, and in many cases I am not sure there is so much a story behind it except that it was kind of the norm. With the Hurricanes tenure in Raleigh nearing 20 years, we are just beginning to reach the point in time where fans just grew up rooting for the local team like in other markets. That in itself is a cool thing and a positive for growing attendance.
Varied paths to becoming part of the Caniac Nation
But maybe even cooler and unique is the varied mix of people’s paths to becoming Canes fans. It runs the gamut. There are fans who grew up rooting for another hockey team but caught the Hurricanes fever during 1 of the big playoff runs. There are people who grew up locally or somewhere else in the South and never really followed hockey until it arrived in Raleigh. We have people who went for hte tailgating with friends initially and only later fell in love with the hockey. They too caught the fever. We have fans with immovable allegiances to their childhood team but who have adopted the Hurricanes as their #2 team. Even better is when these people are sitting with their school age children who have the Hurricanes as their only team. We have young adults who moved here for college, took advantage of the discounted student rush tickets and became a lifelong fan along the way. And because of the distance to other nearby NHL teams especially after the Thrashers’ departure, the Hurricanes territory stretches north into southern Virginia and south at least as far if not farther.
The varied paths that individuals took to make Hurricanes hockey a part of their life is truly unique and part of our hockey community of which I am proud to be a member.