The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional ice hockey team based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL), and play their home games at the 18,680-seat RBC Center. They are the only major professional sports team to play in Raleigh; North Carolina's other two major franchises, the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, are located in Charlotte.
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 Cup during the 2005–06 season, beating the Edmonton Oilers four games to three. On April 8, 2010 NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the Hurricanes as the hosts of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at the RBC Center.
In New EnglandEdit
- Main article: Hartford Whalers
The New England Whalers were established in November 1971 when the World Hockey Association awarded a franchise to begin play in Boston, Massachusetts. For the first two years of their existence, the club played their home games at the Boston Arena and Boston Garden. With increasing difficulty scheduling games at Boston Garden (owned by the rival NHL Bruins), the owners decided to move the team to Hartford, Connecticut beginning with the 1974-75 season. While waiting for the completion of a new arena in Hartford, the Whalers played the first part of the season at The Big E Coliseum in West Springfield. On January 11, 1975, the team played its first game in front of a sellout crowd at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum. Including the period in the late 1970s, when the Whalers played at the nearby Springfield Civic Center while their Hartford arena was being rebuilt after heavy snow followed by heavy rain compounded engineering and construction shortcomings, causing the roof to collapse, the franchise remained 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 England area, 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 Nordiques and extended the Montreal Canadiens to overtime of the seventh game in the second round, followed by a regular season division title in 1987. 1992 was the last time the Hartford Whalers made the playoffs.
In North CarolinaEdit
Despite assurances made when he purchased the team in 1994 that the Whalers would remain in Hartford at least through 1998, in March 1997 owner Peter Karmanos announced that the team would move elsewhere after 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 Triangle area of North Carolina and 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 Coliseum became 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 Triad mostly 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 on WPTF was often pre-empted by North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball (for whose broadcasts WPTF was the flagship station), leaving these games totally unavailable to those who did not have a ticket. With attendance routinely well below the league average, Sports Illustrated ran a story titled "Natural Disaster," and ESPN anchors 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. However, tragedy struck hours after the team's first-round loss to the Bruins, when defenceman Steve Chiasson was 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 Devils bounced the Hurricanes 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 their noisiest. Despite the 5–1 loss, Carolina was given a standing ovation by their home crowd as the game ended, erasing some of the doubts that the city would not warm up to the team.
The 'Canes made national waves for the first time in the 2002 playoffs. They survived a late charge from the Washington Capitals to win the division, but expectations were low entering the first round against the defending Eastern Conference champion Devils (witnessed by a number of empty seats). However, Arturs Irbe and Kevin Weekes were solid in goal, and the Hurricanes won two games in overtime as they put away the Devils in six games. Their second-round matchup was against the Montreal Canadiens, who were riding a wave of emotion after their captain Saku Koivu's return from cancer treatment. 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 Sundin tied the game with 22 seconds remaining to send it to overtime, where Carolina's Martin Gélinas would score to send the franchise to their first Stanley Cup Finals. 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, the CBC's Don Cherry lauded the RBC Center as "the loudest building in the NHL", praise that would be echoed in 2006.
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 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 Staal in 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 Islanders bench boss Peter Laviolette. Weekes remained tough, but the offense was suspect; center Josef Vasicek led the team with a mere 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points.
2005–06 Stanley Cup ChampionsEdit
- Main article: 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs
The outcome of the 2004–05 NHL lockout led 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 the regular season with a 52–22–8 record and 112 points, shattering the previous franchise records of 94 points (in the WHA) set by the 1972-73 Whalers and 93 points (in the NHL) set in 1986–87. It was the first time ever that the franchise had passed the 50-win and 100-point plateaus. The 112-point figure was good for fourth overall in the league, easily their highest overall finish as an NHL team (tied with third-overall Dallas on points, but with one fewer win than the Stars) and second in the East (one point behind the Ottawa Senators). The Hurricanes also ran away with 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.
In the playoffs, after losing the first two games of the conference quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens, Laviolette lifted goalkeeper Martin Gerber - who had been struggling to regain his form after playing through a bout of intestinal flu - in 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 Devils in 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 Hurricanes 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 Ruff and 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'Amour scored 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 Smyth scored 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; the only bright point for the Hurricanes was the return of forward Erik Cole from a broken neck that had sidelined him since March.
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 Trophy for 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 North Carolina. 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 CupEdit
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.
- Main article: 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs
After a slow start to the 2008-09 season, Cup-winning coach Peter Laviolette was fired in early December and replaced by his own predecessor, Paul Maurice. Teetering on the edge of the playoff picture again, the club, on February 7, acquired utility forward Jussi Jokinen from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Wade Brookbank, Josef Melichar and Carolina’s fourth-round draft pick in 2009 (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto was forced to forfeit the pick as punishment for a violation of Jonas Frogren's contract) and reacquired winger Erik Cole from Edmonton at the March trade deadline and proceeded on a 12-3-2 run to close out the season. The stretch run included nine straight wins, matching a franchise record from the 2005-06 season, and capped off a streak of 12 straight home wins, which set a new franchise mark. The team finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with 97 points, the second-most points in franchise history. They earned a first-round matchup with the New Jersey Devils.
Carolina lost Game 1 4-1 in New Jersey before winning Game 2 in overtime. Tim Gleason scored the winner after not scoring a single goal during the entire regular season. Game 3 was once again played in overtime but Carolina lost this game falling behind 2-1 in the series. Game 4 saw Stanley Cup History when Jokinen scored with .2 seconds left in regulation to win the game. Jokinen's goal is the latest game winning goal in a regulation game in Stanley Cup History. Game 5 returned to New Jersey and saw Martin Brodeur save all 44 shots on him recording his NHL playoff record tying 23rd playoff shut out (tied with Patrick Roy). Cam Ward saved 41 shots on the other end but the Canes lost 1-0. The combined 85 saves is an NHL record for combined saves in a regulation playoff game. Game 6 saw the Canes dominate the Devils as they shut them out 4-0. Game 7, like the series, went back and forth. The Devils had the lead 3-2 in the last few minutes of the game before the Canes struck. Tim Gleason saved a puck on his knees from leaving the offensive zone, passed it to Joni Pitkanen who then saw Game 4 hero Jussi Jokinen wide open and Jokinen tied the game up with 1:20 to play. Just 48 seconds later, Eric Staal scored to give the Canes the 4-3 win and also the win the series. Staal's goal is the latest regulation Game 7 winning goal in playoff history.
The second round had the Canes matched up with the top seeded Boston Bruins. Carolina defeated the Bruins in seven games, winning the seventh game in OT. In the Conference Finals, the Canes lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to zero.
The organization retains many Whaler connections among its off-ice personnel; in addition to executive management and the coaching staff, of whom only goaltenders coach Tom Barrasso was never involved with the franchise in Hartford, broadcasters Chuck Kaiton, John Forslund and Tripp Tracy (at the time a minor-league player), and equipment managers Wally Tatomir, Skip Cunningham and Bob Gorman all made the move to North Carolina with the team. Finally, the old goal horn from the Hartford Civic Center remains in use at RBC Center.
This is a partial list of the last six seasons completed by the Hurricanes. For the full season-by-season history, see List of 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
|2005–06||82||52||22||8||112||294||260||1107||1st, Southeast||Stanley Cup Champions, 4–3 (Oilers)|
|2006–07||82||40||34||8||88||241||253||1007||3rd, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||82||43||33||6||92||252||249||1183||2nd, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2008–09||82||45||30||7||97||236||218||757||2nd, Southeast||Lost in Conference Finals, 0-4 (Penguins)|
|2009–10||82||35||37||10||80||230||256||966||3rd, Southeast||Did not qualify|
- Kevin Dineen, 1997–98
- Keith Primeau, 1998–99
- Ron Francis, 1999–2004
- Rod Brind'Amour, 2005–10
- Eric Staal, 2010 - present
Officially retired numbers:
- #2 - Glen Wesley, D, 1994–2003, 2003-2008, number retired February 17, 2009
- #10 - Ron Francis, C, 1981-1991 (with Hartford), 1998–2004, number retired January 28, 2006
- #17 - Rod Brind'Amour, C, 2000–2010, number to be retired February 18, 2011
Out of circulation
- #3 - Steve Chiasson, D, 1997–1999, following his death
- #9 - Gordie Howe, LW, 1976-1980 (with the New England/Hartford Whalers)
- #99 - Wayne Gretzky, C, retired throughout the NHL
When the Whalers moved to Carolina to begin the 1997-98 NHL season, the previously retired #2 for Rick Ley (D, 1972–1981) and #19 for John McKenzie (RW, 1977–79 for the New England Whalers) were returned to circulation, while Gordie Howe's #9 has never been issued by the Hurricanes. #2 was issued only once, to Wesley for two different stints, before being re-retired for Wesley in 2009, but #19 has been issued to several players since the move, currently Jiri Tlusty.
Hall of Famers: Ron Francis, who captained the team in both Hartford and Carolina and spent 15 years with the franchise overall as a player before joining its staff in 2006, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the third Hall of Famer to have earned his credentials primarily with the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise. The only other Hall member to have played in a Hurricanes jersey is Paul Coffey, who spent one and a half seasons in Carolina near the end of his career (as well as, two seasons prior, twenty games in Hartford). In the franchise's history, WHA and NHL Whalers Gordie Howe and Dave Keon are both members, as is Bobby Hull, although he only played nine games in Hartford. In addition, longtime franchise radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Kaiton received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2004, an honor granted by the Hall of Fame.
First-round draft picksEdit
Note: This list does not include selections of the Hartford Whalers.
- 1997: Nikos Tselios (22nd overall)
- 1998: Jeff Heerema (11th overall)
- 1999: David Tanabe (16th overall)
- 2000: none
- 2001: Igor Knyazev (15th overall)
- 2002: Cam Ward (25th overall)
- 2003: Eric Staal (2nd overall)
- 2004: Andrew Ladd (4th overall)
- 2005: Jack Johnson (3rd overall)
- 2006: none
- 2007: Brandon Sutter (11th overall)
- 2008: Zach Boychuk (14th overall)
- 2009: Philippe Paradis (27th overall)
- 2010: Jeff Skinner (7th overall)
Franchise scoring leadersEdit
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise (Hartford and Carolina) history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Hurricanes player
NHL awards and trophiesEdit
(Note: these records include those from the Hartford Whalers)
- 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)
- Fastest hat trick: Ray Whitney, 1 minute 40 seconds, 8 February 2007 vs. Boston Bruins
- Most hat tricks in a season: Eric Staal, 4 (2008–09)
- Most wins in a season: Cam Ward, 39 (2008–09)
- Most shutouts in a season: Arturs Irbe; Kevin Weekes; Cam Ward, 6 (1998–99 & 2000–01; 2003–04; 2008–09)
- Most career postseason goals: Eric Staal, 18
- Most career postseason points: Eric Staal, 40
- Most points in one postseason: Eric Staal, 28 (2006)
- Most shutouts in one postseason: Kevin Weekes; Cam Ward, 2 (2002; 2006 & 2009)
- Most wins in a season: 52 (2005–06)
- Most points in a season: 112 (2005–06)
- Most consecutive wins: 9 (2005-06 (twice), 2008–09)
- Most consecutive home wins: 12 (2008–09)
- Best shot differential in a game: 45 (57-12), 7 April 2009 vs. New York Islanders
- ↑ Callaghan, Gerry. "Natural Disaster." Sports Illustrated, October 27, 1997; Web article retrieved November 19, 2008.
- ↑ Burnside, Scott. "Karmanos: Hard-nosed owner, die-hard hockey fan." ESPN.com, June 6, 2008; Web article retrieved February 14, 2009.
- ↑ ESPN.com, New Jersey Devils/Carolina Hurricanes NHL recap on ESPN
- ↑ SportsIllustrated.com, SI's 2001-02 NHL Team Previews: Hurricanes
- ↑ Fayetteville Online, Hurricanes fans bring the noise
- ↑ ESPN.com, NHL Attendance
- ↑ Hockeydb.com, Carolina Hurricanes season statistics and records
- ↑ Associated Press (2009). "Hurricanes honor Wesley, retire No. 2". NHL.com. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=409756. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- ↑ "Canes to retire Brind'Amour's jersey". WRAL.com. 2010. http://www.wralsportsfan.com/hurricanes/story/7969002/. Retrieved 2010-07-15.