If you missed while filling out brackets for the basketball version of March Madness, our Carolina Hurricanes tourney of sorts kicked off yesterday with bracket #1 entitled, “The Good Old Days.” Please go HERE to cast your votes on great games in Canes history to decide which ones advance.
Bracket #2 offers an eclectic set of match ups of things that are part of our Carolina Hurricanes hockey heritage.
Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response.
Doing NHL hockey our own way
From the very beginning, Caniacs added their own twists to NHL hockey. Capitalizing on friendly outdoor weather and leveraging a tradition from many years of local college sports, it only made sense to add tailgating to Carolina Hurricanes hockey. To borrow a John Forslundism, the late spring playoff version of it is “like none other.” Another unique tradition that started early was meeting the team at the airport after road playoff games. For those who never thought to tally it up, the team’s first four playoff series wins (all three in 2002 and the first one in 2006) were on the road, so it only made sense to celebrate often in the wee hours of the night at RDU. The tradition also fit incredibly well with the team’s mid-afternoon returns from Edmonton during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.
Longstanding and storied broadcast team
Sewed into the fabric of the team is the set of broadcasters who were part of Carolina Hurricanes hockey from the outset and remain an integral part of it today. Chuck Kaiton is already a Hall of Famer and holds a special place in the heart of Hurricanes hockey fans who adopted the team from the outset. In the early going, only about two-thirds of the team’s games were broadcast on television, so Chuck Kaiton was a staple for fans who wanted to catch every game. On the television side, John Forslund and Tripp Tracy have also been part of the Hurricanes experience throughout. Forslund’s patented phrases like “Hey! Hey! Whaddya say!” and “That’s hockey baby!” are a familiar part of Hurricanes hockey lore. All three broadcasters deserve a ton of credit for being friendly ambassadors for the team and the game in the early days and helping build the culture of the team’s community.
Summer fun and traditions – The Caniac Carnival and Prospect Camp
The offseason boasts two great events that help fill the time until the start of the next season. The open practices and Summerfest finale for the prospect camp in late June or early July in the heat of the summer provide a low key opportunity to see the future of the organization in Hurricanes uniforms. And the Caniac Carnival and Red-White Scrimmage at the beginning preseason represent another fun day for the hockey community in addition to signaling that the new season is just around the corner.
Hosting the NHL
Twice the Hurricanes have hosted the broader hockey world for the Stanley Cup Finals. In addition to earning the right to play hockey in June, the team has also been awarded the chance to host two other league-wide events. In 2004, the team hosted the NHL Draft. That event put the city of Raleigh and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey community in the spotlight. Then in 2010, the team hosted the All-Star Game. The game which included Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner received accolades from the league and out of town guests alike and again presented the Carolina Hurricanes hockey community in a favorable light.
What say you Canes fans?
1) If you had to pick one thing from this list or otherwise, what single thing is your favorite piece of Carolina Hurricanes hockey heritage?
2) Who has other things that should be added to this short list of eight items?