First – I must credit the anonymous sign holder in Raleigh today who came up with the title of this post. It makes me laugh every time I say Norfolking Way.
I thought about doing a true, journalistic post about the game… you know, recap who scored the goals (#Terryiffic!), bad calls (Sutter game misconduct), and post some of the great quotes I got at the post-game media scrum, but honestly, it’s after 11 p.m. and I left my house at 8:30 this morning, so I’d rather talk about how awesome it was to be a fan of the Checkers today, and I’ll let the pro’s stories recap the on-ice action.
There were 10,256 lucky fans in Raleigh today (ok, I suppose the Norfolk Admirals booster club who roadtripped didn’t feel as lucky, but I am glad they came down for a historic event!). Checkers and Hurricanes fans alike saw a great match-up with Charlotte’s original AHL rival, the only other AHL team in the REAL South (Sorry, Texas, you aren’t the South!).
Today’s game made me incredibly proud of the Checkers organization, the fans, and the people of both North Carolina hockey communities who came together for a great event. As someone who takes traveling shows from venue to venue for a living, I know how tough it is to move a big production to a new place, and the Checkers staff did this so well, and merged the two environments seamlessly. From the way Ron the Ref and Wilson co-hosted the in-game activities, the use of both mascots, and the blending of Hurricanes organ music (I WANT MORE ORGAN!) and the Checkers videos, both the Hurricanes and Checkers should be commended for a job well done.
I had a lot of favorite moments today, so here’s a recap of a few of them:
- Whenever the pool of Admirals fans from their booster club would try to start a “Let’s Go Admirals” chant, Carolina hockey fans promptly responded with the roar of “LET’S GO CHECKERS!” It was great to see that just happen naturally.
- Holy cow, y’all. The lockout is over! I mean, tentatively…. it was exciting to know that today’s game was the FIRST of the 2012-13 season in Raleigh, but it’s not going to be the last. I’m first and foremost a fan of the AHL, but I’m glad the fans of the NHL will no longer have to suffer, because I truly believe they were the biggest losers in the lockout.
- I loved how electric the atmosphere was from the second I walked into PNC Arena. How responsive a full house of hockey fans can be. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 10K fan nights in Charlotte, but there’s a very different vibe between the Boy Scout nights and NASCAR night fans and the ones who were at the game today that are true, passionate hockey fans of both the Checkers and the game in general.
- The fantastic twitter conversations I had on the way home from Raleigh. Thanks to the nimble fingers of my car pooling friends, we kept the conversations going for most of the three hour drive home to Charlotte. Considering I’m kind of a social media scholar, I know I don’t use the medium as well as I should, and it was fun to converse with you all tonight!
- Not at all Hockey related, but a trip to Raleigh means a trip to LUSH. Hands down, they have the best beauty products in the world, and a visit to the only store in North Carolina makes my wallet a little more empty, but my skin and hair thank me for it.
So… the obligatory question about the end of the lockout:
- Who gets invited to Hurricanes camp?
- From that invite list, who actually makes the final Canes roster? By my estimation, there is room for one goalie (assuming Boucher is still out, and maybe even if he IS healthy again), two defensemen (including Justin Faulk), and three forwards (including Drayson Bowman, who is only with the Checkers right now on an AHL contract, but is obligated to the Hurricanes when their season starts, unless they choose to subject him to waivers and return him to Charlotte.)
- How is the departure of some of the young talent in Charlotte going to affect the team? Will the team take a dive in the standings, or do you think with other teams losing guys as well, it’ll all balance out?
So… thanks for staying up so late and reading my disjointed thoughts. It’s been a long, and exciting day! Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Additionally, for my Canes fans reading, I’m looking for a Hurricanes corespondent. Is anyone anxious to contribute to Chasing Checkers from time to time? Drop me a line if you are!
As always, Let’s Go Checkers!