Why I am a Fan of the Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes


It’s time for sports Wednesday! My son told me that Wednesday is the only day of the week he reads my blog because all he cares about is sports. Today I am going to share my story about why I love the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Carolina Hurricanes.

How could someone from Toronto, with no connection to Raleigh-Durham or any part of North Carolina, be a fan of the hockey team that plays there?  It’s simple – they’re good people.

My personal connection to the Canes goes back to the fall of 2001, when I worked as a producer in my first job at the Team 1050 sports radio station. I was young, inexperienced and had few connections in the industry. I did not produce my own show as I was more of a floater, producing the evening and weekend shows and filling in for producers during the day. I didn’t have a black book full of phone numbers of players, coaches and management in sports. I want to thank my colleagues at that radio station once again for giving me names and phone numbers so that I could build my own black book.

By late in the fall I started to produce a regular Saturday hockey talk radio show and found it challenging to book players, coaches and management from Canadian hockey clubs. Every journalist wanted to interview them. But I had to fill my show. So, I looked south of the border and decided to contact hockey personalities in American markets where hockey was not so popular.

That’s when I found the Carolina Hurricanes.  This team was having a good but not great season and somehow, I felt they were going somewhere. And nobody noticed them or gave them really any attention. I contacted the team’s public relations department and asked if the captain, Ron Francis, could be on my show. They were thrilled to help me out and Ron was booked.

That Saturday Ron Francis was the featured interview on the show. He was knowledgeable, polite, friendly and really everything a great guest should be on a radio show. I had a chance to speak with him after the interview, and he actually thanked me for booking him! He told me that they don’t get too many interview requests in Carolina and that he and other players would be happy to come on my show again.

For the rest of the NHL season I regularly booked various people connected with the Carolina Hurricanes on my hockey show and other shows, and I saw for myself that this was a first-class organization. When they won their division and made the playoffs I was excited to keep the relationship going and to continue to feature them on my shows.

Because of my loyalty to the Canes all season the public relations staff thanked me by giving me great access to interviews during the team’s incredible playoff run.  I remember that I got one of the first interviews with their General Manager, Jim Rutherford, when they won the first round of the playoffs. Even though it was 15 years ago I clearly remember our conversation after his on-air interview. He told me that he appreciated my support for the Canes all season and that I would get some of the first interviews with him, the head coach Paul Maurice and the various players each time they advanced to the next round.

At that moment I knew I had become a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes and I told Jim as much. I told him they were going to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and that I would be there to support them all the way. They didn’t win the Stanley Cup that year, but they did make it to the Finals! Jim Rutherford, Paul Maurice, Ron Francis and so many of the team’s players were guests on my shows during that incredible playoff run. I told them all that because of them I had become a fan for life of the Carolina Hurricanes.

I can’t even begin to explain the excitement I felt a few years later, in 2006, when my Canes actually WON the Stanley Cup. I wasn’t working in sports media anymore, but it didn’t stop me from cheering my team on and wearing my Carolina Hurricanes baseball cap proudly.


I will always be a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes and the players, coaches and management associated with the team during the 2001-02 season. Thank you to all of them for making my time as a hockey producer so memorable.

Sportsmanlike Conduct

Matthew is happiest at the ballpark


My son is a huge sports fan. I’m talking about living, breathing, touching, feeling and every other sense and emotion out there. Matthew starts his day checking the scores from the previous evening, spends much of his free time shooting hoops or throwing a baseball in our backyard and likes to watch his favourite teams play well into the night, every night.

I guess you can say that my dream came true. I have loved playing, following and watching sports since I was a child. I grew up on a quiet street and played ball hockey and baseball with the boys, I collected and traded baseball cards and I religiously listened to Tom and Jerry on CJCL AM 1430 radio (today the Jays can be heard on Sportsnet the Fan 590) as I did my homework every night.

I had my aha moment in grade 11 chemistry (yes the same class though not the same day that I created Kinetic Man) when I suddenly realized that I wasn’t bright or ambitious enough to go to medical school but instead wanted to be a journalist. Oh and not just a journalist but a sports journalist. Everyone, and I mean everyone, laughed at me.

It took me a few years to get back on track, but I took the first step in graduate school when I interned at ABC Sports Radio, in my final semester of journalism school at New York University. With a small production staff I had a quick learning curve, and it all culminated in the fall of 2000 when New York City hosted the famous Subway World Series – Yankees vs Mets. ABC handed me the ball one night and I handled the reporting duties, on the field at Shea stadium!

When I returned to Toronto the following year some great people took a chance on me and hired me to be a producer at the short-lived Team Sports Radio Network. Then I got an opportunity to join the Assignment Desk at Rogers Sportsnet, working with some of the greatest names in sports media. Many of those talented journalists are still at Sportsnet today or have moved on to other careers in sports media in Canada, and I want to thank all of them for teaching me so much about sports and sportsmanlike conduct.

So it thrills me that my son loves sports. Matthew loves baseball and basketball most and can’t bear to miss a game. Hockey is close behind. He lives for the Blue Jays, Raptors and Leafs (I’m a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes but that story is for another day) and he will support really any team if it’s home base is in Canada. Sometimes he takes the term “fan” to the level of “fanatic,” like when he insists that he watch the last quarter of the Raptor game in the car on my phone or he must watch the Jays game in full at 10:00 pm when they are on the west coast.

A child looking at the baseball diamond in awe
Matthew looks on in awe at the ballpark
Mom and son selfies at the Jays game
Selfie at the Jays game last year

Matthew loves sports so much that if none of his preferred sports are on TV he will choose almost anything, just to get his sports fix in. Maybe some of you love it, but I can’t bear to watch darts, poker or bowling. I draw the line at entertainment that involves throwing sharp objects at a board with people cheering them on.

Sporting the number 17 jersey playing basketball
Note his jersey number – that’s right, 17!
Defending on the basketball court
He takes pride in his basketball defensive skills on his school team

My husband doesn’t care much for sports, so it brings me a smile every day that I found my sports partner in life in my son. Matthew loves my encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and its many rules, and we literally can sit together for hours discussing the many nuances of the game.

showing off his baseball bat
Matthew has joined his school’s softball team
getting ready to swing the bat
Matthew’s first at bat of the season with his school’s baseball team

Matthew asked for one thing for his birthday this year – a trip with me, his mother, to Chicago this summer, to watch his beloved Blue Jays play the Cubs. Our flight has been booked, the hotel is reserved and we have a pair of tickets to the Jays at Cubs game on Friday afternoon, August 18. As a bonus, Toronto’s MLS soccer club is in Chicago that same weekend and we have scored a pair of tickets to the Toronto FC at Chicago Fire game on Saturday night, August 19. Now that’s a perfect mother and son weekend.