With last night’s 3-1 defeat of the New Jersey Devils and Montreal’s 2-1 loss against the Washington Capitals, the Carolina Hurricanes have officially CLINCHED a spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I wrote a couple of days ago about what the last ten years have been like (you can read that here), but today I want to talk about what the team means to me.
The last time the Hurricanes made the playoffs, I was nine years old. Nine. I vaguely remember that playoff run. The one thing that I remember is after one of our home wins against Boston during that playoffs, as we left car horns honked three or four times, saying “Let’s go Canes!” or “Let’s go Hurricanes!” And yeah, we heard that a lot last night too. Since then, my passion and dedication to the Hurricanes has skyrocketed. Over the couple of years after the Canes’ last playoff berth in 2009, my desire to become more involved as a fan kept growing.
In August of 2014, I started an Instagram page that was called “nhlcanesnews.” I used this as my first step into being a bigger part of the fan base. I used this page as a casual way to post updates and talk about my favorite team. Then, in November of 2014, I started up a Twitter page, with a handle that most of you originally know me by, “nhlcanesfans.” I wasn’t really good at coming up with unique names, as you can probably tell by now.
Starting that Twitter page has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. By 2016, I started to come across my passion for writing. I remember searching for a long time for a way for me to write and be able to express myself in my writing about the Hurricanes. In May of 2016, I found a way. I started up a blog on medium.com (if you want to see my earliest articles, you can find them here).
Around August of 2016 is when I joined Canes Chatter. I’m not going to really say anything else on that time, but if you want to know what happened there you can read my article that mentioned it here. By the end of 2016, I made the decision to leave Canes Chatter. At first, I was pretty upset because I didn’t know what I was going to do about my writing. I loved doing it, and I didn’t want to let this stop me from continuing that. Luckily, early on in 2017, the Calm Before The Storm (CBTS) team was born. And ever since then, I have had a home and a consistent place for me to write for the first time ever.
Over my years with the CBTS team, I’ve learned a lot about myself and others. Over the last ten years, the Hurricanes haven’t had much of anything go right for them. And that showed on social media. Fans were frustrated. It was an ugly time. Myself and the rest of the CBTS team have always strived to be a source of optimism for the fan base. For a fan base that has had so much go wrong, it was refreshing being able to be a bright light for some people. Through all of the losing, all of the hate that this fan base received, all of the relocation rumors and jokes, we stayed positive. And it feels good knowing that the whole fan base is able to do the same thing right now.
For me personally, the Hurricanes have done a lot for me. I never would have thought that I would be a writer. It never really seemed possible. But as my love for hockey and the Hurricanes grew, so did my desire to write. And now, writing is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m now nearly two years away from graduating from East Carolina University, and next year I begin worrying about where I am going to get an internship. In the sports journalism field. Without the Hurricanes, I never would have found my love for writing.
For that, I am extremely grateful. Grateful for a team that feels like home. And over the years I am lucky to have been able to meet many wonderful Canes fans along the way. The Section 328 crew was awesome in supporting us throughout the development of CBTS, and they’re an awesome group of people. I am lucky to be a part of an amazing fan base. If there is one thing that I know, it’s that we needed this. And we deserved this. The pure emotion felt after the game last night was truly special. And I can’t wait for us to experience it again throughout the playoffs and for years to come.
Want to relive some of that emotion from last night? Here you go, and amazing video taken by Jillian Fisher: