I’ll go on record by saying the RBC Center is the loudest building in the NHL – until I’m proven otherwise. When the Hurricanes players were introduced, it was deafening in the arena… and they weren’t ALL Caniacs in the stands. That wasn’t my only experience like that in that building. I made my way to the city during the 2009 playoffs and it was even louder! The structure has something to do with it, but those Caniacs sure like to use their vocal chords.
Hockey works in the Sun Belt (contrary to popular belief) and this weekend further proved it. ‘Canes fans came out in droves for every event, dominating the spotlight. There weren’t as many fans from other NHL fan bases at the game as I had expected, because of the rowdy Caniacs.
For some media making their first trip to the city, they were amazed with all of the pre-game tailgating going on in the parking lot yesterday, along with the passion the fans constantly showed. The fans really brought it at RBC as they cheered on Team Staal and gave them a distinct home-ice advantage (despite the loss).
Also, for people like me, food is important; and holy cow did they ever bring their A-game at RBC! Pork, pasta, chicken, ice cream, hot dogs… you name it. From now on when I attend a game in any other city, it just won’t be the same. The Hurricanes set the bar too high in this spectrum!
Because of nearby college sports in the Triangle, I don’t know if Raleigh is necessarily a ‘hockey town’ year-round. However, it definitely lived up to the billing of a hockey town this weekend. The buzz in downtown and around the arena was top-notch and the event itself was what it’s supposed to be: fun.
Before the weekend, I would have said that Raleigh was one of the more under-appreciated hockey cities from a league-wide point of view. Not anymore. They put themselves on the map over the last three days, making everyone realize that Raleigh loves their hockey.
Photo credit: Ryan Porth
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