Since my last blog, I left off where I became a Hurricanes fan rather than just a general hockey fan.
Soon after, I started college a little ways down the road at NC state. A few years later I went to work for the RBC center selling concessions in the stands part time. There were a few games where I made a few bucks, but it was mostly so I could see the games for free. Sure I was only allowed to sell in the upper bowl, but it was free game watching here...After the season everyone got laid off in preparation for the lockout and the job was permanently eliminated. I had to find another way to get my hockey fix, so I ended up buying a mini plan. 10 games was enough for me to get started. That first year with the mini plan was the year. I could see from every game that something was different.
Everyone else knows the rest of the story from there..
But before that ever happened.. one of the first things that people say about the Raleigh area is "hey you guys have great college sports" and yes, that is true. But considering there are 4 ACC schools within 100 miles of each other, it can get pretty interesting. You never really know who your neighbor roots for unless you've seen him or her in their choice of college garb. So the water coolers get pretty interesting with opposing fans meeting all the time and picking on each other. Its all harmless fun. But when the Hurricanes came to town, it gave the whole area 1 team that they all can pull for. Its a kind of situation where you and your friend could have your differences with college sports, but both go see the Canes play and have everyone in the building wanting them to win for a change. I really think the Canes have been a uniting factor in the community.
Back in the mid 1990's when the Hurricanes first moved here there were probably 2 public ice rinks if I remember correctly. Today there are at least 8 or 9. There is now an official inline hockey league within the public school system (middle schools only right now). Local ACC colleges are starting to form a legitimate ice hockey league (NC state plans to hopefully call Dorton arena home, where the Raleigh IceCaps used to play) Even junior hockey is starting to become noticable. It has taken off considerably in the last couple of years.
There's one person who has been working quietly behind the scenes helping to coordinate this infrastructure that is going on. Everyone that is reading this knows who he is. He's currently working for the Hurricanes as the Director of Player Development. Yes, Ron Francis. I don't think all this would have happened as quickly without the work he has done here. I'm going to end with a few links to see for yourself