- Carolina Hurricanes
team_name = Carolina Hurricanes
bg_color = #E13A3E
text_color = white
conference = Eastern
division = Southeast
founded = 1972
history = New England Whalers
1972 - 1979 (WHA)
1979 - 1997 (NHL)
1997 - present (NHL)
city = Raleigh,
team_colors = Red, Black, White, Silver
media_affiliates = FSN South
WCMC (99.9 FM)
free_label = mascot
free_text = Stormy the ice hog
owner = flagicon|USA Peter Karmanos
general_manager = flagicon|CAN
head_coach = flagicon|USA
captain = flagicon|CAN
Albany River Rats(AHL) Florida Everblades( ECHL)
stanley_cups = 2005–06
conf_titles = 2001–02, 2005–06
division_titles = 1998–99, 2001–02, 2005–06The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional
ice hockeyteam based in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League(NHL), and play home games at the 18,680 capacity RBC Center.
The team was formed in 1971 as the New England Whalers of the
World Hockey Association, and moved into the NHL in 1979 as the Hartford Whalers, relocating to North Carolina in 1997. They won their first Stanley Cupduring the 2005–06 season, beating the Edmonton Oilersfour games to three.
In New England
The New England Whalers were born in November 1971 when the
World Hockey Associationawarded a franchise to begin play in Boston, Massachusetts. For the first two-and-a-half years of their existence, the club played their home games at the Boston Arena, Boston Garden, and The Big E Coliseumin West Springfield. However, sagging attendance forced the team to Connecticut. On January 11, 1975, the team played its first game in front of a sellout crowd at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum. With the exception of a period in the late 1970s when the Whalers played at the Springfield Civic Centerwhile their Hartford home was being renovated (due to a portion of the roof collapsing after a blizzard), the franchise was largely located in Hartford.
As one of the most stable WHA teams, the Whalers, along with the
Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, and Winnipeg Jets, were admitted to the NHL when the rival leagues merged in 1979. Because the NHL already had a team in the New Englandarea, the Boston Bruins, the former WHA team was renamed the Hartford Whalers. Unfortunately, the team was never as successful in the NHL as they had been in the WHA, recording only three winning seasons. They peaked with their only playoff series victory in 1986 over the Quebec Nordiquesand extended the Montreal Canadiensto overtime of the seventh game in the second round, followed by a regular season division title in 1986–87. 1992 was the last time the Hartford Whalers made the playoffs.
In March 1997, Whalers owner
Peter Karmanosannounced that the team would leave Connecticutafter the 1996–97 season because of the team's inability to negotiate a satisfactory construction and lease package for a new arena in Hartford. In July, Karmanos announced that the Whalers would move to the Research Trianglearea of North Carolinaand the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh, become the Carolina Hurricanes, and change their team colors to red and black. Due to the relatively short time frame for the move, Karmanos himself thought of and decided upon the new name for the club, rather than holding a contest as is sometimes done.
Unfortunately, the ESA would not be complete for two more years, and the only other hockey building in the Triangle was
Dorton Arena, a 5,100-seat, 45-year-old building which was totally unsuitable for NHL hockey. The Hurricanes were thus forced to play home games in Greensboro, ninety minutes away from Raleigh, for their first two seasons after the move. This choice was disastrous for the franchise's attendance and reputation. With a capacity of over 21,000 people for hockey, the Greensboro Coliseumbecame the highest-capacity arena in the NHL, but Triangle-area fans proved unwilling to make the drive down I-40 to Greensboro, and fans from the Piedmont Triadmostly refused to support a lame-duck team that had displaced the longtime Greensboro/Carolina Monarchs minor-league franchise. Furthermore, only 29 out of 82 games were televised, and radio play-by-play coverage was often pre-empted by ACC basketball, leaving these games totally unavailable to those who did not have a ticket. With attendance routinely well below the league average, Sports Illustratedran a story titled "Natural Disaster," and ESPNanchors mocked the " Green Acres" of empty seats; in a 2006 interview, Karmanos admitted that "as it turns out, Greensboro was probably a mistake."
For 1998–99 the Hurricanes curtained off most of the upper deck, lowering the Coliseum's stated capacity to about 12,000, but attendance continued to lag. On the ice, however, the 'Canes were now out of the doldrums; led by the return of longtime Whalers captain
Ron Francis, Keith Primeau's 30 goals, and Gary Roberts' 178 penalty minutes, they won the new Southeast Division by eight points and made the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Tragedy struck hours after their first-round loss to the Bruins when defenceman Steve Chiassonwas thrown from his pickup truck and killed in a single-vehicle drunk-driving accident.
Despite their move to the brand-new ESA, the Hurricanes played lackluster hockey in 1999–2000, failing to make the playoffs. In 2000–01, though, they claimed the eighth seed, which nosed out Boston, and landed a first-round date with the defending champs, the
New Jersey Devils. Although the Hurricanes were bounced by the Devils in six games, the series is seen as the real "arrival" of hockey in the Triangle. Down 3–0 in the series, the 'Canes extended it to a sixth game, thereby becoming only the tenth team in NHL history to do so. Game 6 in Raleigh featured their best playoff crowd that year, as well as its noisiest. [ESPN.com, [http://espn.go.com/nhl/2001/20010422/recap/njdcar.html New Jersey Devils/Carolina Hurricanes NHL recap on ESPN] ] Despite the 5–1 loss, Carolina was given a standing ovation by their home crowd as the game ended, erasing many of the doubts that the city would not warm up to the team. [SportsIllustrated.com, [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/nhl/2001/features/preview/hurricanes/ SI's 2001-02 NHL Team Previews: Hurricanes] ]
The 'Canes made national waves for the first time in the 2002 playoffs. They survived a late charge from the
Washington Capitalsto win the division, but expectations were low entering the first round against the defending Eastern Conference champion Devils. However, Arturs Irbeand Kevin Weekeswere solid in goal, and the Hurricanes won two games in overtime as they put away the Devils in six games. The second-round matchup was against the Montreal Canadiens, who were riding a wave of emotion after their captain Saku Koivu's return from cancertreatment. In the third period of Game 4 in Montreal, down 2–1 in games and 3–0 in score, Carolina would tie the game and then win on Niclas Wallin's overtime goal. The game became known to Hurricanes fans as the "Miracle at Molson"; Carolina won the next two games by a combined 13–3 margin over a dejected Habs club to take the series.
In the Eastern Conference finals, Carolina met the heavily-favored
Toronto Maple Leafs. In Game 6 in Toronto, the Leafs' Mats Sundintied the game with 22 seconds remaining to send it to overtime, where Carolina's Martin Gelinas would score to send the franchise to their first Stanley Cupfinals. During this series, several Hurricanes fan traditions drew hockey-wide media attention for the first time: fans met the team at the airport on the return from every road trip, and echoed football-season habits honed for games across the parking lot by hosting massive tailgate parties before each home game, a relative novelty in the cold-weather-centric NHL. Inside the building, CBC's Don Cherry lauded the RBC Center as "the loudest building in the NHL"Fact|date=September 2008, praise that would be echoed in 2006 [Fayetteville Online, [http://www.fayettevillenc.com/article?id=235349 Hurricanes fans bring the noise] ] .
In the Stanley Cup finals, Carolina would face the
Detroit Red Wings, thought to be the prohibitive favorite all year. Though the Canes stunned the Wings in Game 1, when Francis scored in the first minute of overtime, Detroit stormed back to win the next four games. Game 3 in Raleigh featured a triple-overtime thriller (won by Detroit's Igor Larionov, the eldest player to score a last-round goal), which sportscasters called one of the best finals games in historyFact|date=September 2008. Despite the 4–1 series loss, it had been by far the most successful season in franchise history.
The momentum from the Cup Finals appearance did not last, however, and the next two seasons saw the 'Canes drop into the cellar of the NHL rankings; many of the new fans attracted to the team (and to hockey itself) during the 2002 playoff run lost interest and attendance declined. One of the few positive results of these losing years was the team's drafting of future star
Eric Staalin 2003. In December 2003, the team fired Paul Maurice, who had been their coach since their next-to-last season in Hartford, replacing him with former New York Islandersbench boss Peter Laviolette. Weekes remained tough, but the offense was suspect; center Josef Vasicekled the team with a mere 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points.
2005–06 Stanley Cup Champions
The outcome of the
2004–05 NHL lockoutled to the shrinking of the payroll to $26 million. The 'Canes, however, turned out to be one of the NHL's biggest surprises, turning in the best season in the franchise's 34-year history. They finished with a 52–22–8 record and 112 points, shattering the previous franchise record set by the 1986–87 Whalers. It was the first time ever that the franchise had passed the 50-win and 100-point plateaus. The 112-point figure was one point behind the Ottawa Senatorsfor the best record in the East, and secured their third Southeast Division title, finishing 20 points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Attendance increased from 2003–04, averaging just under 15,600 per game, and the team made a profit for the first time since the move from Hartford. [ESPN.com, [http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/attendance?year=2006 NHL Attendance] ]
In the playoffs, after losing the first two games of the conference quarterfinal series against the
Montreal Canadiens, Laviolette lifted goalkeeper Martin Gerberin favor of rookie Cam Ward. The Hurricanes went on to win both games in Montreal, tying up the playoff series and turning the momentum around, winning the series on a Game Six overtime goal by Cory Stillman. Carolina faced the New Jersey Devilsin the conference semifinals, which proved surprisingly one-sided, as the Hurricanes beat the Devils in five games. Stillman struck again, once again scoring the series-winning goal.
In the Eastern Conference finals, the Hurricanes faced the
Buffalo Sabres, who had finished just one spot behind the Canes in the overall standings. The Sabres were devastated by injuries, at one point playing without their top four defensemen. The contentious series saw both coaches — Lindy Ruffand Laviolette — taking public verbal shots at each other's team, but in the deciding Game Seven, the Hurricanes rallied with three goals in the third to win by a score of 4–2. Rod Brind'Amourscored the game winner as the Hurricanes reached the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in team history.
The Cup finals were against the
Edmonton Oilers, the first time in NHL history that two former WHA franchises had played against one another in the finals. The Canes rallied from a 3–0 deficit in Game 1 to win 5–4 after Rod Brind'Amour scored with 30 seconds left. In Game 2, the 'Canes shelled the Oilers 5–0 to take a two-game lead.
The Oilers won Game 3 in Edmonton, 2–1, as
Ryan Smythscored the game-winning goal with 2:47 left to play. Carolina rebounded in Game 4 with a 2–1 victory, and came home with a chance to win the Cup on home ice. However, game five saw the Oilers come back with a stunning 4–3 overtime win on a shorthanded breakaway by Fernando Pisani. Suddenly the momentum started to turn the Oilers' way. In Game 6 in Edmonton, Carolina was soundly defeated 4–0.
In Game 7, before the second-largest home crowd in franchise history (18,978), the Hurricanes won 3-1, sealing the Hurricanes' first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. Ward was honored with the
Conn Smythe Trophyfor the playoffs' most valuable player, becoming just the fourth rookie to be honored with the award. Several Canes raised the Cup for the first time in long NHL careers; Rod Brind'Amour and Bret Hedican had both played over 15 years without winning the Cup, while Glen Wesley— the last remaining Hartford Whaler on the Hurricanes' roster — had waited 18 seasons.
The Hurricanes' Stanley Cup championship marked the first professional major league sports title for a team from
the Carolinas. As well, they were the only NHL team in history to lose nine or more games in a year's playoffs, yet still win the Stanley Cup.
After the Cup
The Hurricanes were not able to follow up their success. In 2006-07, the Hurricanes finished third in the Southeast and eleventh overall in the Eastern Conference. This finish made them the first champions since the 1938–39 Chicago Blackhawks to have failed to qualify for the playoffs both the seasons before and after their championship season. In 2007-08, Carolina again missed out as Washington stormed back to take the division title on the last day of the season, leaving the Hurricanes second in the division and ninth overall in the conference, and making the Canes only the second club in NHL history to miss the playoffs for two seasons running after a Cup triumph
The last player remaining from the Hartford days, defenseman
Glen Wesley, announced his retirement after the 2007-08 season. As of Wesley's retirement, the only remaining legacies of the Hurricanes' Hartford days are broadcasters Chuck Kaiton, John Forslundand Tripp Tracy, equipment managers Wally Tatomir, Skip Cunningham and Bob Gorman, and the goal horn sound from the Hartford Civic Center that remains in use at the RBC Center.
"This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Hurricanes. For the full season-by-season history, see
Carolina Hurricanes seasons"
"Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes"
Records as of August 2008. [Hockeydb.com, [http://hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/teamseasons.php?tid=979 Carolina Hurricanes season statistics and records] ]
NHL awards and trophies
Conn Smythe Trophy
Cam Ward: 2005–06 King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Ron Francis: 2001–02 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Ron Francis: 2001–02 Lester Patrick Trophy
Peter Karmanos: 1997–98
*Most goals in a season:
Blaine Stoughton, 56 (1979–80)
*Most assists in a season:
Ron Francis, 69 (1989–90)
*Most points in a season: Mike Rogers, 105 (1979–80 & 1980–81)
*Most penalty minutes in a season:
Torrie Robertson, 358 (1985–86)
*Most points in a season, defenceman:
Mark Howe, 80 (1979–80)
*Most points in a season, rookie:
Sylvain Turgeon, 72 (1983–84)
*Most wins in a season:
Martin Gerber, 38 (2005–06)
*Most shutouts in a season:
Arturs Irbe; Kevin Weekes, 6 (1998–99 & 2000–01; 2003–04)
*Most points in one postseason:
Eric Staal, 28 (2006)
*Most shutouts in one postseason:
Kevin Weekes; Cam Ward, 2 (2002; 2006)
*Fastest hat trick: Ray Whitney, 1 minute 40 seconds, 8 February 2007 vs.
*Most wins in a season: 52 (2005–06)
*Most points in a season: 112 (2005–06)
List of NHL players
List of NHL seasons
List of Stanley Cup champions
* [http://carolinahurricanes.com/ Official website of the Carolina Hurricanes]
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