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Diane-1

Canes franchise one of NHL's fastest growing team brands

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I live in the Winston-Salem area. My brother is a long time STH who lives in Raleigh and I get to a bunch of games each year (including the entire current playoff run). We are long time transplanted Yankees (moved in '77) and played youth hockey while growing up.

Anyway, I remember commenting during the '06 run how great it was that the Canes' have been embraced by the Triangle area and how amazing it was that even the native Raleighites were so into it (including a bunch of our southern friends). But even then, during the finals the local paper here (Winston-Salem Journal) would only have a 2 paragraph AP article buried on the 5th or 6th page of the sports section. There was little interest or support for the Canes here in W-S.

This year I notice a difference - More cars flying their flags on my trips to the RBC and the paper has had the Canes on the front page of the sports section after every win. The local columnist even ran a feature story after beating the Devils.

I tell all my friends how playoff hockey is the best of any sporting event and several are watching and attending games. Support is certainly growing! Go Canes!

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I live in the Winston-Salem area. My brother is a long time STH who lives in Raleigh and I get to a bunch of games each year (including the entire current playoff run). We are long time transplanted Yankees (moved in '77) and played youth hockey while growing up.

Anyway, I remember commenting during the '06 run how great it was that the Canes' have been embraced by the Triangle area and how amazing it was that even the native Raleighites were so into it (including a bunch of our southern friends). But even then, during the finals the local paper here (Winston-Salem Journal) would only have a 2 paragraph AP article buried on the 5th or 6th page of the sports section. There was little interest or support for the Canes here in W-S.

This year I notice a difference - More cars flying their flags on my trips to the RBC and the paper has had the Canes on the front page of the sports section after every win. The local columnist even ran a feature story after beating the Devils.

I tell all my friends how playoff hockey is the best of any sporting event and several are watching and attending games. Support is certainly growing! Go Canes!

It's the same over here east of Raleigh in Greenville. Media coverage is getting much, much better. Back during the 06 Cup run we were lucky to improve to having an article in the paper on game day or at least the day after about the game the night before (only AP stories, though), and the local TV news only had a short recap about the games. This year the paper is running articles about the playoffs every day (still just AP stories), but they also are including recaps on the other playoff series, too. Plus the local TV news shows much better recaps including every goal scored and the flow of the game, and now even interviews after the game, and the newscasters are all chatting about the Canes afterward much like what you've seen from WRAL for some time now. I see the sportscaster out every once in awhile, and I'm hoping to see him and give him a big thumbs up for the increased Canes coverage so they know it's appreciated.

Then there's also the fact that every single time I go out I see cars with Canes flags and license plates, or people wearing hats or shirts. (And that's not including me with my Canes license plate and wearing a Canes hat and sometimes shirt every time I go out - doing what I can to increase exposure.)

It seems the media has finally caught on that the Canes are something more than a small fringe market, and that the popularity is growing. The added coverage should only help grow it more, which has really been needed from the beginning.

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I am glad to see some old school original six teams on there as well as some older teams and some newer teams. I think the latest CBA and salary cap has been tremendous for the sport.

I am also not shocked to see the Penguins at the top of that list. Crosby seems to have come to town with the whole nation of Canada and a whole generation of kids in his pocket. In the best of times in the 90's there were constant sellouts but now there is waiting lists for season tickets and one of the top internet presences of any team in the league. I have been following the Pens for well over 20 years and the culture change is pretty drastic.

I think the Canes will continue to grow their brand with their current and future successes. Once the kids are playing roller hockey in the streets and junior ice hockey leagues it is all over. They get hooked for life.

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Once the kids are playing roller hockey in the streets and junior ice hockey leagues it is all over. They get hooked for life.

It's already happened, in a significant way.

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