Hope for a Hurricanes Fan

While often I write about writing here, I also write about life in general. A decent chunk of my life is being a Carolina Hurricanes fan. As of late, being a Canes fan hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world…

Being a Carolina Hurricanes fan, as any Canes fan will tell you, is difficult.

Right now, we’ve got the longest playoff drought of any team in the NHL.

I became a casual Canes fan around 2010, when I met my husband who was into hockey.

I grew up watching some sports—though not hockey. So I was happy to watch hockey and learn the game. Our first game, for his birthday, was the Canes vs. Toronto. The Canes tied it with 8 seconds to go, and won in overtime. Not bad.

Of course, it was going to get bad.

In the lockout year, when the teams finally came back, we got our first Season Tickets (8 games). Since then, we’ve been Season Ticket holders. We spend a lot of money, time, and emotional energy on the team.

We are, according to (now former) GM Ron Francis and (as of March 8) Head Coach Bill Peters, in the 4th year of a 5-year rebuild. Next year, they tell us, we make the playoffs.

But every year, in October, we seem better. We think we have a chance. Even though we play in the tough Metropolitan division, as of March 8, we are only four points out of a Wild Card playoff spot.

And yet, we have eleven overtime losses. If we’d won five of those, we’d be in the playoffs right now. Our point total, our W/L and OTL records, are almost identical to last year when we had fifteen OTLs last year. We’re on schedule.

This is how the Canes break my heart.

They go out with a whimper, not a bang.

They are mediocre.

Every year we do this. We almost make it. We almost have the talent, the drive, the luck, the whatever.

Every year since Ron Francis took over as GM and Bill Peters then came on as Head Coach, we’ve improved in almost every way—we’ve added better players and we’ve drafted well. We’ve made some trades that have worked out well for us.

Every year, we start slow and ugly.

Every year, we have a crappy November followed by an amazing December.

Every year, someone breaks out and does some amazing stuff.

Every year, there are pleasant surprises.

We have hope.

Last year, “mathematically possible” playoff chances didn’t die until the second-to-last-game of the season. The last home game.

Eighty-one games of hope.

I have heard tell that for NFL players, the best day of the year is the Monday after the Super Bowl. Why? Because everyone is 0-0. Everyone has hope.

I love my team.

But I don’t know how much longer I can hope.

My heart, and my will, are breaking.

The recent 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild, in which our former captain Eric Staal, scored the first goal and almost had a hat trick, was too much for me.The Canes followed it up with a nice 3-2 win over Chicago, keeping us “in the playoff hunt.” The rollercoaster continues.

Now that new owner Tom Dundon has “rearranged” management and “shifted” Ron Francis’s duties to President of Hockey Operations, a lot of folks on social media, from what I can see, are brimming with hope.

Hope is cruel.

Hope breaks my heart every single year.

I love my Carolina Hurricanes, but I can’t hope anymore.

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