This is probably going to ramble a bit, but OK.
As a lot of folks are aware, the majority interest of Carolina Hurricanes NHL team has been purchased by Texas billionaire Tom Dundon.
A lot of folks have been talking about this and what it means to the organization. So I have been putting together a ‘wish list’ of sorts, based upon my non-hockey expert opinion and the view from Section 330.
As a hockey fan, I like to think I am a little different than many. I did not grow up with hockey, having never seen a game prior to 07 October 2005. That night Cam Ward mad his first NHL start and the Hurricanes beat the Penguins in a shootout. I was hooked by the end of the game.
I attended a lot of games in the ensuing years before my wife and I bought season tickets for the 2011-2012 season. We skipped the 2014-2015 season, and resumed for the 2016-2017 seasons.
We’ve seen ups and downs. The ups have been pretty good (Canes beating the Pens in consecutive games this year, sounding the siren in 2013) and the lows have been, well, low (Pens beating 7-1, Rangers beating us twice this year, the Caps seeming to always beat us, etc.).
So, for that part, please, we need a couple of big name scorers. Pull the trigger, get out the check book, and get us a couple of scorers. And while you are at it, we need some help on defense. Too many times our defense leaves our goalies out to dry, and well, we have seen the results.
As to the goalies, Cam has served us well and I think there is still a little gas left. But is he a starter? And I have seen flashes of brilliance from Scott Darling, but it seems that there are times that the team has not supported Scott, leaving him hanging too many times. Let Scott play. He needs to gain confidence and the team needs to learn to play in front of him.
OK, so much for my hockey team on-the-ice management expertise.
So now, about that in-game experience.
As I said above, my wife and I sit in the 300 section, 330 to be exact. And lets just say that the in-game experience has been, well, lacking of late.
First, let me go outside the arena and talk about parking. $20.00? Really? Sad to say, I know plenty of folks that view the $20.00 parking charge as a deal breaker. Period.
OK, back inside. When we first started going to games, Ron the Ref was a staple. Since then, well, it has dropped off. I am not saying Ron the Ref should come back, but something has to come back that has energy.
And the Storm Squad…well…needs work. As it is, during the game, they had out gift bags in the mostly 100 sections, and wave flags, and clap occasionally. How about energizing the Storm Squad beyond a Spring Shower Squad?
And speaking of the giveaways in the 100 sections, once upon a time, the Storm Squad came up in to the 300 sections on a regular basis for Harris Teeter giveaways. Over the last few years, it is rare for the Stormers to come up in to the 300 sections.
They ‘toss’ t-shirts during some games, but again, they rarely, very rarely, arrive into the 300 sections. Then there is the PNC Parachute Drop. Yep- mostly to the 100s, sometimes in to the 200s, never in to the 300s.
You need to engage the fans, including those of us in the 300 sections.
There has been stuff said about places to sit and eat. I applaud that idea. I would also like to see some variety and some ‘home town staples’. If Bojangles sponsors the Power Play ‘Biscuit in the Basket’, how about some Bojangles in the arena? I mean, they have a restaurant in the Charlotte Airport, and our Checkers’ arena is the Bojangles Coliseum. A chicken filet biscuit combo with fries and a large tea? Yes, please.
Speaking of Bojangles and the Checkers, a few years ago the Checkers played a game at PNC. How about getting the Checkers back to PNC for a couple of games.
And about hot dogs, how come we cannot get chili for our hot dogs? You know, chili without beans. And maybe on red hot dogs. Like the ones made in Smithfield just outside of Raleigh.
I really like the Homegrown Series, so please continue it, and maybe even expand it. Not necessarily more dates, but more stuff.
Expansion of The Eye? Yes. And maybe it is due to some NHL rule, but there are a lot of things that would work really well, I think, here in NC, but do not seem to be available in The Eye. I can go online and buy Hurricanes stuff for my vehicle, but there is very little ‘truck/car/Jeep stuff’ in The Eye.
Like many others, I would like to see the Hurricanes really get involved in kids’ hockey. When I was growing up, I was stuck with Little League baseball, and well, I didn’t like baseball. I was too small for basketball and football, so… But if you get the kids hooked, so go the parents.
Maybe some more events where fans can meet the players. We have an event where we can meet some of the palyers, and maybe get autographs, but in the times allotted, one cannot get all of the players’ autographs. How about expanding the availability? If I or any fan comes out for a day to spend with the team like the Season Ticket Member day, we should be able to get to meet all of the team, not just 6-10 team members.
And speaking of the Season Ticket Member folks, years ago, we got ‘stuff’. I have a duffel back that is emblazoned with the Hurricanes logo and the letters STH. How about more of that? You know, duffels, back packs, t-shirts, that kind of stuff.
And there were ‘at-the-door’ giveaways. So far this year, well, there have been trading cards and a rather cheap hat. In years past I have gotten t-shirts, nice hats, and Bobble Heads.
Bring back the Bobble Heads.
OK, I’ll stop now. I do not want this to sound like a bitch-fest or the like, but, well, I want to sound off a bit.
My wife and I really enjoy the games. We enjoy watching the team on TV as well as at the PNC. Our dog even howls at home when the Canes score (well, he is encouraged by be yelling out “GOAL!!!”, but he does howl.
I’d like to see PNC packed. I want to experience "The Loudest House in the NHL" again.
And lets get an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium, which is right next door to PNC. Outdoor games do not always have to be 'up north'. Maybe a Canes-Preds or Canes-Caps match-up.
Welcome to NC and to Caniac Nation, Mr. Dundon. Looking forward to all you/we get done at PNC.