NHL Stadium Series Raleigh—Years in the Making, the Timing Feels Meant to Be

The Stadium Series game is more than a game—it’s a weeklong unprecedented event that promises to rock you like a Hurricane. Here: Know how to go.

Take warning—the Canes are set to host the long-anticipated NHL Stadium Series game at Carter-Finley this month—and with that comes all the fanfare you’d expect… to the tune of a weeklong celebration, kicking off Thursday, Feb. 16, with a Canes home game where its Stanley Cup team star goalie Cam Ward will be inducted as the inaugural member of the Carolina Hurricanes Hall of Fame, and culminating in NC State honoring the 40th Anniversary of the 1983 Championship Team as the Pack plays host to Wake Forest.

Building a star-studded cast of events around the Stadium Series game was intentional. With the exception of Saturday’s free Truly Hard Seltzer NHL PreGame tailgate party and sold-out Stadium Series game—which are official NHL events—the entire week was planned, orchestrated and produced by the Carolina Hurricanes in conjunction with key community funding partners, including the City of Raleigh, Wake County, the State of North Carolina, Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB), and the Centennial Authority.

“Part of our pitch to the league in terms of securing the Stadium Series game was that we’d work with all of our partners and entities to make a big weekend out of it,” says Carolina Hurricanes Chief Marketing Officer Mike Forman. “It wouldn’t just be a one-off game where the NHL’s coming to town just for that and that’s a wrap.”

To wit, Friday’s free Carolina Hurricanes Fan Fest Presented by UNC Health. Carrying a huge footprint, the daylong Fan Fest will fete the Canes’ 25 years in NC with a slew of fam-friendly programming, music, activities, food trucks and vendors. It’s like NHL All Star Weekend Fan Fair meets the best feats of every Raleigh street fest to date—on steroids. Read: You’re gonna wanna play hooky in the name of hockey. 

“The commitment from the Carolina Hurricanes and area partners to make this event happen is making this the event of 2023,” says Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh and producer of Fan Fest. A big part of that commitment is that it’s free and open to the public. “That’s one thing we want to stress because there are so many events going on that have paid components,” adds Forman. 

The master plans also included working with the NHL for a Thursday night home game; helping to deliver a big-time Friday concert (hey, Hootie & the Blowfish!); and working with NC State to get a big ACC matchup against UNC scheduled for the weekend, explains Forman. “To host these games is pretty competitive,” he adds, “and most NHL clubs—if not all—would love to host either the Winter Classic or Stadium Series once or multiple times.”

Now, between the anticipation and the Canes vying for their fifth consecutive playoff trip, the vibes will be high. “People have been in a waiting game for almost three years,” says Forman. “Now, it’s getting real. … And it’s pretty special to be able to host this game during our 25th Anniversary Season in North Carolina. Our fan base has never been larger or more passionate than it is right now. We have the second-best record in all of hockey right now*. It feels like it was meant to be. … I wish it could’ve come even earlier, but the fact that it’s all kind of coming together this year makes it feel pretty special.” Puck, yeah. hurricanes.com

Source link

About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.