The Carolina Hurricanes are an NHL franchise in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes came into existence in 1971 in the World Hockey Association as the New England Whalers. When the Whalers were admitted to the NHL in 1979, they permanently moved to Hartford. The Hartford Whalers were a perennial doormat in the NHL, having only three winning seasons and winning only one playoff series in 1986. When disagreements over a new arena and lease agreements culminated in 1997, the Whalers moved to Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Hurricanes struggled early upon their arrival in Carolina, due in part to the fact that the state of the art arena in Raleigh where they play now was still under construction and they were forced to play in Greensboro, over 90 miles away. This drove attendance into completely abysmal numbers and made the Canes a laughing stock in the league for their first season (1997-98). The next year however, Carolina proved themselves to be a legitimate franchise in the NHL, winning the Southeast Division and making the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Unfortunately, they lost to Boston in the first round. After another disappointing season in ’99-00, the Canes made themselves consistent competitors, making the playoffs in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, the Canes upset a number of teams on the way to their first Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings. Unfortunately, after this incredible season, the Canes drifted into obscurity in the seasons before the lockout. The only real incidents of any importance before the lockout were the firing of coach Paul Maurice and the drafting of superstar Eric Staal.
After the lockout, the Hurricanes came back flying, winning 52 games in the best season in franchise history. After replacing starter Martin Gerber with Cam Ward in net, the Hurricanes coasted through the Eastern Conference Playoffs until the Conference Finals, where they beat Buffalo in seven games. Carolina played Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Finals, and in a thrilling seven game series, the Hurricanes won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The next two seasons, the Hurricanes failed to make the playoffs, as Washington and Atlanta were able to beat them out for the division title.
The Hurricanes currently play out of the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC. The arena holds 18,680 fans for hockey, and is also home to the NC State basketball team.
Stanley Cups won: 2005 -06
Notable Players: Rod Brind’amour, Andrew Cassels, Steve Chiasson, Erik Cole, Ray Ferraro, Ron Francis, Mark Howe, Arturs Irbe, Sami Kapanen, Jeff O’Neill, Keith Primeau, Geoff Sanderson, Brendan Shanahan, Eric Staal, Pat Verbeek, Cam Ward, Glen Wesley