If you want to talk about overlooked, counted out, under appreciated, forgotten, dismissed, and ignored all together; look no further than the Carolina Hurricanes fanbase. We, the Caniacs, have given our fandom to this team, and the raucous crowd that floods PNC arena this year is the proof of that dedication.
For ten years this club was absent from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. More so than their absence was their clear lacking as a franchise. There was little direction, there was little raw talent, and there was little upside; the often talked about “rebuild” was moving at a rate that would make a snail jealous.
We watched every game, we watched every draft lottery, we watched every preseason; our fandom was taken for granted, until it barely existed. Attendance was down, and the league began to view the Carolina Hurricanes fans with the same disdain they viewed their beloved sport being taken to Carolina.
Last season the fandom was restored. A trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, a roster that had displayed growth and chemistry, a management group that made great decisions which paid dividends for the team, and a coaching staff that had proven to be reliable decision makers and excellent motivators.
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PNC Arena went from being a below average turn out, to being one of the toughest places to play in the NHL. A fanbase that was seemingly nonexistent has found their voice again. Their place as one of hockeys loudest houses has returned. The same crowd that cheered this team to victory in 2006, has returned with a vengeance.
What makes this season great, what makes this year the best story in sports, is how these things have all come together. The owner, the management, the coaches, the players, and the fans have created the perfect storm. This logo means something once again, and knowing the recent history makes this team a truly engrossing sports chronicle.
This story is far from over, and there is no telling how history will remember 2020’s greatest sports story.