Hurricanes’ Storm Surge Washed Away

The Carolina Hurricanes’ now well-known “Storm Surge” has come to an end, for now. Team captain Justin Williams announced that Thursday night’s game against the Washington Capitals would mark the end of the Hurricanes’ post-game celebration.

The storm surge without question has fired up Hurricanes fans. At the same time, it has also flared up some of hockey’s old school advocates. In either case, it has brought needed attention to a franchise in need of an injection of enthusiasm after nine consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs.

After Williams’ tweet, Hemal Jhaveri wrote at about the end of the storm surge:

With very little going for them, the Hurricanes embraced and celebrated each win with a sense of fun and personality that’s rarely seen in the NHL.

Interestingly enough, a team with little going for it seemed to get stronger from January on, and the storm surge became a real part of the Hurricanes’ identity. It was a statement that was given merit because it only happened when they won a game at home, and they were doing that a lot.

Carolina Hurricanes players celebrate
Carolina Hurricanes players celebrate a win at PNC Arena. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Storm Surge Unwrapped

It seems routine now but the storm surge has not been around for very long. However, celebrations in hockey are not new. The Hockey Writers’ Bill Schoeninger wrote in 2015 about the “Top 10 Hockey Celebrations of All Time.”

But these are goal celebrations, not full-team celebrations after a home victory. Some teams in Europe have been doing similar post-game celebrations, but there were some in the NHL who were not sure how to handle this disrespect of the game.

Brian Burke was one of the first old-school hockey guys to give voice to his disdain for the storm surge. Back in November, he called the storm surge amateurish and “pee-wee garbage stuff.” Clearly, Burke has not had much fun in his life of late, at least where hockey is concerned.

Those Jerks

Burke’s blast was just the beginning of even more targeted disapproval aimed at the Hurricanes and their storm surge. The Athletic transcribed Cherry’s blast: “This is the National Hockey League. These guys, to me, are jerks. They’re still not drawing (fans). I’ll tell you one thing, they better not do this in the playoffs,” he said. “That is absolutely ridiculous. I know all the broadcasters are afraid to say something … I know what I’m talking about. You never do anything like that. They’re still not drawing. They’re still a bunch of jerks, as far as I’m concerned.” (From “A worthy cause, a bunch of jerks and a welcome reminder that the hockey world has your back,” – Sara Civian – The Athletic – 2/18/19).

Those who Cherry called “jerks” responded with massive t-shirt marketing and an embrace of the opportunity to be called a “jerk.” The Hurricanes and their fans wore the label proudly.

With the season winding down and the Hurricanes hanging on by a thread to a one-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the first wild-card playoff position, one might question the timing of shutting down what has obviously been a big emotional boost to the fans and the team alike. Given the intense pressure of trying to make the playoffs, perhaps that is all Williams and the team feel they need to focus on at this time.

Williams did backtrack a bit on Friday, though, when pushed for an answer as to if the storm surges are really done. Chip Alexander wrote in the Raleigh News & Observer that Williams said,

You never know when they’re going to come. They’re unpredictable, aren’t they? Isn’t that what meteorologists say? We’re proud of it. We had fun with it. I don’t know where it goes from here but as I said in the tweet it was fun muddying up the waters a little bit.”

(From “The Canes’ postgame ‘Storm Surge’ is gone. Or is it?” – Chip Alexander – The News & Observer – 3/29/19).

Who knows if the “jerks” will give their fans another taste if this kind of creativity:

One thing is for certain, and that is this has been a season that will not soon be forgotten. If the Hurricanes can make the playoffs, the storm surge may return. One wherein the team – led by Williams – carries Lord Stanley’s Cup around their home ice. What a jerk move that would be, eh Cherry?