Carolina Hurricanes Set an Example With the Team Photo

The Carolina Hurricanes sat for a very unique team photograph.

The Carolina Hurricanes team photo sets an important example for their fans and the rest of the league to follow.

Fans, myself included, have been anxious for news from the Carolina Hurricanes. Information has trickled in from the Carolina Hurricanes website, and the always-excellent Canes’ social media team has kept the Twitter feed compelling.  This is partially why I was thrilled to see the Canes’ team photo posted on Twitter.

Team photos have come and gone over the years, most with little fanfare or discussion. This is simply because there has always been an enormous amount of topics to discuss outside of the team picture. This year, Caniacs receive a team picture unlike any other. If a picture is worth many words, let’s break this one down.

First, a little background. I applaud the NHL’s implementation of the plan to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within the league. Testing has been thorough and league-wide, and the very good news is that the last statement made by the NHL on July 20 revealed that only two positive tests were received out of 2,618 administered.

Certainly, this is not an easy time for any sports league.  However, I think the league has done the best with the circumstances that they have been given and are setting a precedent both for next season and other leagues that have yet to return to play.

The defining story of this photo is the face masks that each member of the organization is wearing. Face masks are not only NHL protocol, but also an integral part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ response to Covid-19.  I view this photo as a precedent-setting moment and an example for the rest of the league to follow.

Sara Civian recently tweeted a statement from Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour about face masks: “This whole wear one don’t wear one makes no sense to me. If someone tells me something is going to help I’m going to do it. I’ve never heard a good argument against it.”

Civian also captured a delightful quote for The Athletic (paywall) from Alternate Captain Jordan Martinook involving wearing masks: “I have a board game, it’s called Super Tock, fun little four-person board game. We’ll just make sure we’re sitting six feet apart playing the game, wash your hands, sanitize, do all that stuff, wear a mask.”

Chip Alexander, writing for the News and Observer, calls the photo “a PSA and a team statement”.  He also mentions that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has not only worn a Carolina Hurricanes face mask during his Covid-19 press conferences, but also tweeted his support for the team after the team photo was released.

The Carolina Hurricanes face masks are not only a snazzy piece of merchandise, but they are also precedent-setting for the rest of the league. Teams that wear face masks will not only promote merchandise, they’ll also encourage fans to also wear face masks. What young hockey fan wouldn’t want to wear a mask to look like their favorite team?

An interesting tidbit to note about the photo comes from Mike Sundheim, the Vice President of Communications and Team Services for the Canes.  “Obviously a lot fewer people — we are maxed at 20 staff for player access in Phase 3. But, nothing a couple stand-ins and a little photoshop couldn’t solve.” In light of the circumstances, I think the team produced a great result.

Living in such uncertain times, I must say it is nice to see something as simple as the Carolina Hurricanes team photo. As we approach playoff hockey, be kind to each other, wear a mask, and know your W’s.

Next: Carolina Hurricanes: Jaccob Slavin Shunned of Lady Byng
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