The Carolina Hurricanes were originally known as The New England Whalers. They were a team established in 1971 when the World Hockey Association (WHA) awarded a franchise to play in Boston, Massachusetts. The team played their home games out of the Boston Arena and Boston Garden. But the team had difficulty scheduling games because they shared Boston Garden with the Boston Bruins, so they relocated to Hartford Connecticut starting in the 1974-75 season.
While waiting for their new arena to be completed, the team played their home games out of The Big E Coliseum in West Springfield. And they played their first game on January 11, 1975 to a sold out crowd at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum.
The Whalers were one of the most stable WHA teams, so when the WHA and NHL merged in 1979, the Whalers were invited to join alongside the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets. However, the team faced pressure to rename their team, primarily due to the existing New England team, the Boston Bruins. So the team became the Hartford Whalers.
Early on, the team suffered, as they were never quite as successful as they were in the WHA, with only three winning seasons. They peaked in the mid-to-late 1980s and won their only playoff series in 1986. The team then took the division title in 1987 only to fall to the Nordiques in six games in the first round of the playoffs. FInally, the team made the playoffs for the final time in 1992, but were beaten in the first round in seven games by the Canadiens.
Despite these challenges, the team has gone on to success even after rebranding as the Carolina Hurricanes when they moved. For example, the 2021 season saw many players departing making the way for an overhauled roster that fans hoped would find success. And their hopes were realized in the 2021-22 season that concluded with the Hurricanes winning the Metropolitan Division for the first time in franchise history. The season also saw the team with a 54 win record, which was the most in franchise history.
The team went on to defeat the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the New York Rangers in seven games.
The Hurricanes are a rugged team that works hard to play incredible hockey. And with the revamped roster, we can only wait and see how far the team will go.
About PNC Arena
PNC Arena is an indoor arena located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a multipurpose venue with room for 18,680 attendees for hockey games and around 19,722 for basketball games. It was once known as Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena and formerly the RBC Center. It features 61 suites, 13 loge boxes, 2,000 club seats, three concourses, and a 300-seat restaurant.
The arena is home to the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL and the NC State Wolfpack men’s basketball team of NCAA Division I. Besides the Hurricanes, the stadium also hosted the Carolina Cobras of the AFL from 2000-2002. The arena is adjacent to Carter-Finley Stadium and Dorton Arena (on the fairgrounds).
To date, it is the fourth-largest arena in the ACC (after the Carrier Dome, KFC Yum! Center and the Dean Smith Center) and the eighth-largest arena in the NCAA.
The idea for PNC Arena came when it was decided that the Wolfpack’s longtime home, Reynolds Coliseum, hd to be replaced. The NCSU Trustees approved plans to build a 23,000 seat arena in 1989. The Centennial Authority was then created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1995 as the governing entity of the arena.
Then it was financed by state appropriation, local contributions, and university fundraising. The Authority then refocused the project into a multi-use arena, leading to its 1997 relocation agreement of the then-Hartford Whalers. This team would become the Carolina Hurricanes and would call the new arena home.
Construction began taht year and was completed in 1999. The Hurricanes assumed operational control of the arena, which was then known as the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (or ESA) from 1999 to 2002, It was then renamed the RBC Center after an extended search for corporate sponsorship. RBC Bank, the US division of the Royal Bank of CAnada, acquired a 20-year naming rights deal for a reported $80 million.
But then, on June 19 2011, PNC Financial Services bought US assets of RBC Bank, which led to them acquiring the naming rights deal. Soon after, the arena was named PNC Arena.
Since then, the arena has been used for a variety of events including hockey, basketball, and concerts. But it has also been used in fictional media.
For example, it was used in season four of The CW series “One Tree Hill” as well as for a College Jeopardy episode in 2005.
As for hockey, the first NHL game in Raleigh was on October 29, 1999, when the Hurricanes hosted the New Jersey Devils on the building’s opening night. And two years later, the arena saw its first playoff series when the Hurricanes hosted the Devils in games 3, 4, and 6 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hockey Team Summary
The Carolina Hurricanes, known locally as the Canes, are Raleigh, North Carolina’s professional ice hockey team. The team plays in the NHL as a member of the Metropolitan division in the Eastern Conference and play their home games out of PNC Arena.
The team was originally formed in 1971 when they were known as the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association (WHA). The Whalers found early success winning the Eastern Division in the WHA’s first three seasons and becoming the inaugural Avco World Trophy Champions in the 1972-73 season. The Whalers again competed for the World Trophy in 1978, but fell short as the Winnipeg Jets defeated them in a rematch of the 1973 finals.
The team later joined the NHL in 1979 as part of the NHL-WHA merger. They renamed themselves the Hartford Whalers. They then relocated to North Carolina and renamed themselves the Hurricanes in 1997. The team went on to advance to the STanley Cup Finals in 2002 where they just fell short of victory when the Detroit Red Wings defeated them. But they came back in force in 2006 with a major Stanley Cup victory ofver the Edmonton Oilers. Which was also the first major professional sports championships North Carolina had only receive and its only major championship as of 2022.
Today, fans are looking to the Canes to see where the team ends up. But one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a fantastic season.