Although the Hurricanes haven’t been rooted in Carolina for over 100 years like some of the older teams in the league, there is plenty of tradition that goes along with being a Caniac. In the dog days of summer, with a lockout looming, what better way to reaffirm our love for our team than examining some of the things that define us as a fan base.
Standing for entire games – It doesn’t happen often, but we are the only fan base that has been credited with the feat. The only confirmed case of it was during Game 7 of the SCF in ’06. But it’s like a fine aged wine, we know we have it, we know it’s great, but we’ll wait for the right moment to use it. Although it’s not a tradition that we use very often, it is unique in it’s Caniacness and because of that, must make the list.
Tailgating – This was another tradition that was looked down upon by outsiders. It was used as a talking point to show how ignorant and unknowledgeable our fan base was. Because everyone knew that real hockey fans didn’t tailgate. That was the general mind frame until all of those doubters came to RDU to see their team play on the road. Outsiders that have been fully immersed in the pregame festivities at PNC leave with a new appreciation and respect for our tailgating prowess (except for Sabres fans, they respect very little while at our games). Now, tailgating is what we have come to be known for across the league.
Katherine “KK” Fritsch – Raleigh’s REAL American Idol! For six years, young KK sang the National Anthem to kick off most Hurricanes games. Since her first performance on the ice, she has had the collective heart of Caniac Nation and in reciprocation, she allowed us to watch her grow into a wonderful young lady (It takes a hockey crowd to raise a child?). Sadly, last season was her last with the team as Anthem singer as she has chosen to move on to bigger and brighter things. She’s Caniac family royalty and thus, makes the list.
Cool Bars at the Ale House – When I lived in Wilmington, I remember being so amped when we finally got a Carolina Ale House because I knew I’d finally get the chance to attend a Cool Bars event! Away games are a bummer, but when you live hours away from Raleigh, every game seems like an away game. Making it up to home games to enjoy the electric atmosphere of the arena usually included having to pay for a hotel room and two tanks of gas, meals, etc, which along with the gate price becomes a bit expensive. But when the team hit the road, I could always count on a good crowd down at the Ale House to recreate the feel of PNC, right there at the beach.
Stupid commercials – Ever since Ray Whitney left, the acting skill on the team has bottomed out (here comes the hate mail). Nowhere is this more prevalent than on the cheesy team commercials seen on Fox Sports Carolinas. There are some pretty good commercials, but those are usually the ones where there isn’t a script for the players to read. Athletes in general aren’t known for their acting chops, nor should they be. There are some rare occasions of double threats(?) like Peyton Manning, Burt Reynolds and OJ Simpson. Couple this with the fact that for most of these players, English isn’t a first language and double trouble is more like it! Even though they’re ridiculous and hard to understand Canes fans eagerly anticipate the new commercials every off season.
Storm Squad – Another thing our organization and fan base was mocked for! Now almost every team has some version of the Storm Squad. Trailblazing is never easy! Is there anyone that doesn’t like the Storm Squad (except my wife)? They’re easy on the eyes, bubbly, they spread goodwill and they have some understanding of hockey. What’s not to like? The Storm Squad was introduced during the Hurricanes Inaugural season in Raleigh ’99 and have been a staple of the franchise and the league ever since.
Theme Songs – Some teams don’t even have good theme songs. We’re blessed to have two great ones, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Brass Bonanza“. Although Brass Bonanza was a carry over from the Hartford days, it can still be heard throughout the PNC parking lot on game nights. The only song you hear more is the classic Scorpions rock anthem (although if I had my say, Brad Benson would be right up there with them both). No further explanation needed. Just click the links, turn up the speakers and rock out with your caulk out.