The Wizard became a Hurricane in the 2005-2006 season where he set his career high in points in a season with 83. He was beloved by fans and was an integral member of the Stanley Cup Championship team. Whitney was resigned to the team in 2007 for three additional years, but alas when 2010 rolled around, the Hurricanes’ organization decided they did not want to pay top dollar for an aging player they thought would be on the decline. Much to the disappointment of the fans in Raleigh, Whitney signed on with the Phoenix Coyotes and headed for the desert.
Whitney is still a member of the Coyotes where he led the team in points in the regular season with 77. He scored 24 goals and had 53 assists putting him six in the league with helpers. But that’s the kind of player Ray Whitney is, a “glue guy” that can always be counted on by his teammates, a guy that wore the “A” on his sweater in Raleigh. And on March 31, 2012, Whitney hit a huge milestone, the 1000 point mark. He is only the 79th player in the history of the league to do so. I know there were a lot of excited fans not only in the Coyote contingent but here in the heart of North Carolina as well. I could quote statistics about Ray Whitney all day. But I will instead point you in the direction of the wonderful article written after his 1000 point achievement.
Whitney is not only known for his play but for his playfulness. That’s right. He’s a pretty funny guy. While here in NC, he became known for his “Where’s Whitney” antics as he would make his way into camera view during on-ice interviews. Forget the term “Keslurking.” Ryan Kesler’s way was paved by the Wizard. Not familiar with “Where’s Whitney?” It’s time to catch up!
Last night the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 ending a 5 game series in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs to advance to their first conference final. The hot glove of Mike Smith has led the team, but Ray Whitney has certainly done his share to advance them notably scoring the overtime winner in game one. Although it’s bittersweet, John Forslund was calling the game and got to proclaim “Ray Whitney is the hero!”
I could show you some scoring highlights like a grainy video of Whitney scoring a natural hat trick. But I want to show you the Ray Whitney I love, the guy that makes amazing plays on the ice but even better, makes me laugh. This is a radio commercial outtake from 2008-2009. Sadly, Eric Staal and Cam Ward are the only ones in the video that still wear Hurricanes red.
I know for sure that if Ray Whitney decides to come back to North Carolina for work or play, he will be welcomed with open arms. Happy 40th Birthday Ray Whitney, a man that will be a Hurricane in our hearts forever.
To follow the Coyotes on their quest for the cup, check out our friends at Howlin’ Hockey.
Have a favorite Ray Whitney memory you would like to share? Leave us a comment! You can find us on Facebook at CardiacCane or talk with us on Twitter:@Esbee92, @CardiacCaneFS, @caniac176, @CaniacCaz and @peacelovepuck