Redneck Hockey Fans: The Fad That Is Carolina Hurricane Fans In North Carolina

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: June 22, 2006

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Congratulations goes out to the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes (the former Hartford Whalers) for winning their first ever Stanley Cup championship and the first professional sport championship for the state of North Carolina.

As a native of Connecticut, I have warm feelings, emotions and admiration for my native state champions and i’m sure friends and fans from the “Nutmeg State” here and abroad will concur!

With apologies to the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Bobcats and even the Charlotte Sting, the Canes are “Kings Of The Hill” after beating the Edmonton Oilers in a hard fought series 4 games to 3 .

Thousands of fans crowded the RBC Center in Raleigh for Game 7 and celebrated in the streets, in businesses and in offices around the state for their new champion “red-neck hockey team”.

The Mayor of Raleigh honored the team with a parade in the city and even the Governor of North Carolina attended. That’s right this “New England born and bred” hockey team is now the toast of the state of North Carolina and southerners abroad.

But for how long? In my opinion, not for very long. Here is why:

1. People love football here: The game of football is another adoration of the natives here in North Carolina. With the Washington Redskins and the reappearance of a team in Baltimore (Ravens), gives the state regional choices to cheer every Sunday in the fall and winter.

The NFL has entrenched themselves as “america’s past time”, surpassing baseball which is engulfed in a quagmire of scandal and controversy. Football is universal now and North Carolina doesn’t take a backseat to any other fans in terms of their amorousness, fervor and infatuation for the game.

2. The Panthers are the only pro team North Carolinians are truely loyal to: The Carolina Panthers can quintessentially lose every game or have losing seasons for six consecutive years and still have a fan based that would amass more than my beloved Carolina Hurricanes and the inadequate Charlotte Bobcats and Sting combined especially with the success the Panthers have had over the last three seasons and the success of their young franchise in previous seasons.

3. Football is football: With respect to Duke basketball, the Duke football team does not exactly have a storied past and a winning tradition, but most of the teams in the ACC are very competitive and are usually among the elite football programs in this country.

ACC schools like Clemson, Virginia and Georgia Tech are teams that have winning traditions and new comers like Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami add instant credibility and exposure for the conference on the coast.

Add Appalachian State (which is the first college football team to win a college football championship in the state on North Carolina), the loyal alumni following of HBCU’S like North Carolina Central, North Carolina A&T and Winston Salem State University (A Division I-A school now) to the mix and you have an ingredient for college football mania!

4. This is a basketball state: North Carolinians feel if you are a child who was inherent in this great state you were somehow enjoined by the God’s in Heaven with a basketball in one hand and a championship in the other with attainment from Duke University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and other schools further affirms this is a college basketball state.

The masses here also conclude that no other locality in the country can stake such a claim in championships or innate ability. You noticed I didn’t mention pro basketball.

5. The Carolina Hurricanes franchise is originally from the north: I’ve lived in the south for over 8 years and North Carolina for six of those years and the one thing that southerners and Carolinians will remind you of is that you are a northerner or “Yankee” and you are essentially on borrowed time here in their dwelling.

In a way, I feel like being called a yankee in the lexicon of the word is a microcosm of the consanguinity that southerners have with northerners both politically, socially and economically. The reality is this state will never accept people from the North for whatever reasons you want to affix to it. I really can’t fathom the idea of the animosity and the antipathy other than the approximation that some in the South are still seething about losing the Civil War.

Lastly, the hypocracy with commonality here is a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. You are accepted when is commodious for the masses. I do not appreciate the “yankee” comments or any comments to make me feel like I am a interloper on U.S. soil.

I’m sure the most of the other “members of the union” here would agree with me as well. I also see a direct interconnection with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have a mixture of veterans and youngsters on this team, so winning the title this year was imperative to the Canes organization based on the age of the team and the reality of a “win now” mentality that the people of North Carolina have especially when it comes to those who they deem antipodal.

The authenticity of ” red neck hockey fans” is evident in the previous statements made in regards to the segregated or disembodied disposition that some have here when it comes from a northmost genesis. If the Canes are winning, they are “The Tarheel States Gem” and everyone loves hockey here. If they are losing, then they get the proverbial, “Go Back To The North” ostracism.

Again, congratulations to the 2005-2006 Carolina Hurricanes/ Hartford Whalers. and let’s hope the winning and captivating ways continue so they can stay in good standing with eminence.

Otherwise, we could see an imminent move for the Canes back to the Conneticut or some other septentrional metropolitan which would be just enjoyable and exceptional for the inhabitants and their “Confederate Army”.