Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional ice hockey team based in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Hurricanes play their home games at the 18,680-seat PNC Arena. Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina. It’s known for its universities, including North Carolina State University. The number of technology and scholarly institutions around Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham make the area known as the Research Triangle. The North Carolina State Capitol is a 19th-century Greek Revival–style building with a statue of George Washington dressed as a Roman general in its rotunda.

The franchise was formed in 1971 as the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association (WHA), and joined the NHL in 1979 as part of the NHL–WHA merger, renaming themselves the Hartford Whalers. The team relocated to North Carolina in 1997 and won its first Stanley Cup during the 2005–06 season, beating the Edmonton Oilers, four games to three. On May 6, 1997, Karmanos announced that the Whalers would move to the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and the new Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) in Raleigh. Due to the relatively short time frame for the move, Karmanos himself thought of and decided upon the new name for the club, the Carolina Hurricanes, rather than holding a contest as is sometimes done. Later that summer, the team dropped the Whalers' colors of blue, green and silver for a new black-and-red scheme, matching the colors of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, with whose men's basketball team they would share the arena in Raleigh. The Hurricanes inherited the Whalers' place in the Northeast Division.

Unfortunately for the team, the ESA would not be complete for two more years. The only arena in the Triangle area with an ice plant was 45-year-old Dorton Arena; at 5,100 seats, it was completely inadequate even for temporary use. The Hurricanes were thus forced to play home games in Greensboro, 90 minutes west of Raleigh, for their first two seasons after the move. However, the team would be based in Raleigh and practice in nearby Hillsborough effectively saddling the Hurricanes with 82 road games for the next two years. This choice was disastrous for the franchise's attendance and reputation. With a capacity of over 21,000 people for hockey, the Greensboro Coliseum was the highest-capacity arena in the NHL.

The Hurricanes 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 New Jersey Devils. However, Artūrs Irbe and Kevin Weekes were solid in goal, and the Hurricanes won two games in overtime as they defeated 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 the series and 3–0 in the game, 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.

The Hurricanes were the 2006 NHL Champions. The Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley cup 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 Hurricanes raised the Cup for the first time in their long NHL careers; where players like 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. On the managerial side, general manager Jim Rutherford finally won the Cup in his twelfth year with the franchise since joining the Whalers in 1994.

The Hurricanes Stanley Cup championship marked the first professional major league sports title for a team from North Carolina. As well, they were the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup despite losing at least nine playoff games in that year; the 2011 Boston Bruins, the 2014 Los Angeles Kings, and the 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins are the only other teams to have accomplished the feat.

For the 2018-19 season what does it look like for the Carolina Hurricanes? Well, the Metropolitan Division has officially become the toughest division in the NHL. Sure, the Central Division boasts two of the top teams in the league and the Atlantic Division has a meat grinder of a top-three, but the fact remains that the Metro has produced the last three Stanley Cup Champions and houses some of the biggest stars in the league in the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Artemi Panarin, and Mathew Barzal.

This season, the Carolina Hurricanes, therefore, will find themselves in a very competitive environment come October. But there is reason to believe that they can and will be one of the best teams in the Metro by next spring, if not the best. This means that the Hurricanes are poised to make a significant leap ahead in their own performance both in general and against their divisional counterparts. And this can be attributed mainly to the new additional key players that have been added to the roster, to an already very competitive team that was already one of the favorites to carry on in the post-season playoffs.

What new players did they acquire during the off season to improve the team? Carolina was able to add two top four defensemen in Calvin de Haan and Dougie Hamilton, a winger who could easily win the Calder Trophy in Andrei Svechnikov, some sandpaper guys that fill a desperate need in Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook, and a backup goalie that has previously shown incredible potential in Petr Mrazek. And on May 8, 2018, the Hurricanes announced the hiring of former Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell as team president and general manager. Waddell had previously been serving as the team's interim general manager since the promotion of Francis. At the same time, it was announced that former team captain Rod Brind'Amour had been named head coach, after having served on the team's coaching staff as an assistant coach since 2011. Let's see how well they do this season with all the new players and general manager.