Carolina Hurricanes Voted 2nd Best Franchise By ESPN

Cindy BowlingContributor IJuly 11, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 19: Carolina Hurricanes fan Douglas S. Stager from Raleigh waves his team flag outside of RBC Center before the start of game seven of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 19, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Canes take quite a bit of flack about being a hockey team from the south where many northerners believe hockey shouldn't be. Tampa Bay winning the cup in '04 and the Canes in '06 beg to differ.
We are passionate about our team here in Raleigh. Many welcome the team home win or lose at the airport during the playoffs. Caniacs show up as early as they will open the gates for hours of intense tailgating.
Just attending 1 game at the RBC Center is many times enough to win over a new fan. Personally I was hooked after attending 2 games in Greensboro when the Canes first came to Carolina. Once the team moved into their new arena in Raleigh the experience has gotten better every year win or lose.
I have fond memories of buying a ticket in the parking lot years ago so I could watch Mario Lemieux play against us the year he came out of retirement. It was well worth the inflated price I paid!
I also remember enjoying tailgating during '02 playoffs and meeting many nice Montreal fans in the parking lot and inside the arena. They really appreciated the tailgating experience.