While they experienced a lengthy history as the Hartford Whalers, this club needed to find a new home due to Hartford’s small market and average performances. In 1997, the team found a great place to call home in the Southeast, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team was renamed the Carolina Hurricanes and have now managed to become one of the more exciting clubs of the entire NHL.
However, the early years in NC weren’t without their issues. Before PNC Arena was constructed, the team had to play 80 miles to the west in Greensboro, which greatly restricted the team’s reach. Raleigh fans didn’t want to make the trip for each game while Greensboro residents weren’t excited about supporting a team destined to move so soon. Their first year was poor and saw the team finish outside of the playoffs, but in 1999 the club did manage to take that next step. Ron Francis and Keith Primeau had good seasons but the Hurricanes fell in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Another first round playoffs loss followed in 2001.
However, in 2002, Carolina turned a corner in a serious way. A tremendous playoff run took them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Sami Kapanen, Jeff O’Neill, and Sean Hill played tremendously to give the franchise their first shot at a title. While the Hurricanes would lose to the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games, they had made a statement and the future was boding well!
After a couple down years, Carolina became one of the NHL’s toughest teams for the 2005-2006 season. Top contributors included Eric Staal, Rod Brind’Amour, Justin Williams, Cory Stillman, and the brilliant goalkeeper Cam Ward, who seized the starting job in the playoffs and never looked back! The decision to go with Ward proved to be a shrewd one as the keeper played out of his mind, leading the Hurricanes to their first and only Stanley Cup title! A memorable playoff series concluded with a victory over the Edmonton Oilers, and the Hurricanes had made their announcement to the world, becoming the first major team from the state to win a title!
Since then, the Hurricanes haven’t had much to celebrate for. They had a strong NHL playoff run in 2009 all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, though they lost to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a sweep. Other than that they haven’t reached the playoffs since, showcasing the difficulty in maintaining a strong team in professional ice hockey, a game seemingly full of turnover.
But the team won’t stand for poor performances, especially having had a taste of the big time with their 2006 Stanley Cup championship. New coach Bill Peters will look to make contenders out of the Carolina Hurricanes again with the talented cast of Cam Ward, Tim Gleason, and the exciting and promising youngster Jeff Skinner. For a team that has achieved so much in their short time in the Triangle area of North Carolina, the Hurricanes have been a delight to watch and have an exciting potential for the future!
Visiting our Carolina Hurricanes autographed sports memorabilia section often is best if you are looking for that next valuable Carolina Hurricanes collectible to add to your collection. We have even more autographed Carolina Hurricanes memorabilia in stock then what is on our website, so if you can’t find that collectible that you really want on our site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we have it in stock.