It’s hard to be a Canes fan in Charlotte

It’s hard to be a Canes fan in Charlotte

The Carolina Hurricanes play the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo: Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

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I grew up right outside Raleigh, so I can say this: Charlotte is the superior city.

  • I even left both cities to live and work in Wilmington for a bit before coming back to Charlotte. My credentials are strong.
  • But jeez, during hockey season, especially this year, y’all are testing me. Because where are my Caniacs?

Why it matters: The Carolina Hurricanes have been on fire this year. See that first word? Carolina. As in, where Charlotte is.

  • It just seems like people in Charlotte aren’t pulling their weight in hyping up our team for the Stanley Cup.
  • You don’t see sports bars here packed with fans in Jordan Staal jerseys and with multiple TVs blaring the game. It’s hard to even know where to watch a Canes game with other fans in Charlotte.

State of play: The Hurricanes have a 3-2 series lead against the New York Islanders. They would have to win 16 games, overcoming three more teams, to win the Stanley Cup.

  • Let’s not forget in 2006 the Hurricanes won our state’s only major professional sports championship to date.
  • The Panthers, on the other hand, haven’t made the playoffs since 2017.

Of note: The Charlotte Checkers are in the playoffs for the Calder Cup.

Disclaimer: I’m no sports expert, but if I’m going to watch a sport, it’s going to be the one with non-stop action. Here’s what I know to be true:

  • Hockey is cool. In the playoffs, teams play the best of seven games against the same team before moving to the next round.
  • After a while, the refs put their whistles away. Punches get thrown — because either they’re trying to rile each other up to get a penalty or the other team’s mad that this young man from Finland named Aho keeps scoring on them. It’s sick.
  • There are also a lot of “PLAY-THAT-BACK” and “WHAT-A-SAVE” moments.
  • Even Roy Cooper is a huge fan.

Now that I’ve caught you up to speed, here’s what we are going to do to make up for this lackluster support coming out of Charlotte.

  • To the sports bars: I no longer want to walk in and see only one dusty TV in the corner playing the most important sporting event happening in North Carolina. And I definitely don’t want to guess if you’re even going to have it on.
  • To my fellow Charlotteans: The bandwagon is open for jumpin’. I want to see people walking down Tryon in red and black. I want to see Hurricanes flags swaying in the wind. I want to hear you honk “Let’s. Go. Canes.” on I-77.
  • To the boys: Let’s win this Cup.
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