It’s been 10 years since Rod Brind’Amour led the Carolina Hurricanes in capturing hockey’s ultimate prize, bringing North Carolina its first and only professional sports championship. The image of Brind’Amour lifting the Stanley Cup high above his head after the Game 7 victory has become iconic and is a representation of his incomparable work ethic.
His achievements and commitment to the sport of hockey are being recognized by the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. Brind’Amour is one of nine athletes being inducted into the Hall of Fame’s 53rd class and just the second hockey player to be honored.
“It means a lot to me. More importantly, it means the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is recognizing hockey,” Brind’Amour said. “Hockey is a big, big part of this community and the Carolina Hurricanes are a big part of this community. I’m just proud to kind of represent them and all the fans that we have.”
The Hall of Fame aims to “commemorate and memorialize exceptional accomplishments in sports for the inspiration and enjoyment of all North Carolinians.” Brind’Amour and the Hall’s first hockey inductee, Ron Francis, have certainly inspired and entertained North Carolinians as they became pioneers for growing the sport of hockey in our community.
“He is one of the most important figures in this team’s history. He was named captain prior to the 2006 season and was a key figure in the team’s Stanley Cup victory,” said Don Fish, the executive director of the Hall of Fame. “He has remained a member of the Hurricanes organization and has done so much for this area.”
Brind’Amour’s renowned career included 21 NHL seasons with St. Louis, Philadelphia and Carolina. He ranks second in career points (473), second in assists (299), second in shorthanded goals (10), third in goals (174) and third in power-play goals (60) in the team’s North Carolina history.
Throughout his career, Brind’Amour played in 159 Stanley Cup playoff games, totaling 111 points (51 goals, 60 assists) and reached the Stanley Cup finals three times. Most notable to the state of North Carolina was his Stanley Cup run with the Hurricanes during the 2005-06 season.
As captain that season, Brind’Amour netted 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists), lead the team to a franchise-record 52 regular-season wins and the team’s first Stanley Cup Championship.
The 2006 Stanley Cup Championship was the first piece of hockey history to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. The Championship team was honored in the Class of 2012 as one of the Great Moments in state sports history and was described by Dave Fish as the greatest achievement in the state of North Carolina. It also laid the foundation for the future of hockey in North Carolina as the community rallied around the team and the sport.
The Hurricanes celebrated the 10th anniversary of winning the Stanley Cup this past February and reunited the championship team in Raleigh. The reunion was one of several special moments for Brind’Amour this year. He was also inducted to the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame in November.
“It was a pretty good year for me. Those are kind of great things that happened. You don’t play the game to have those things, but when you get older all you have is your memories and your moments,” he said. “It’s great to look back on and reflect because life is about memories and you want to create as many good ones as you can. I’ve been fortunate with this sport to create a lot of good ones.”
His name and accomplishments will likely sit in record books for years to come, but now his contributions to growing the game of hockey in the state of North Carolina will be recognized and forever enshrined in the state’s Hall of Fame.
“The fact that we’re getting recognized shows that it’s growing and that it’s important. Hockey is carving out its own little niche and I think it’s a really important part of this community, Brind’Amour said. “It’s a team that everyone can get behind - if you’re an NC State fan, a Carolina fan, a Duke fan - that’s the one time they can kind of come together and cheer for a team that is local.”
Looking back to when he was originally traded to the Hurricanes from Philadelphia in January 2000 made this moment even more special for Brind’Amour.
“I always think back, never thinking I was going to live in North Carolina, play hockey in North Carolina, and make my home here,” he said. “I never would’ve thought that was possible. Obviously, it’s my home and I love it here. Now to be a part of the sports culture and the history of it is pretty neat.”
Like so many former Hurricanes players, Brind’Amour decided to plant his roots in Raleigh after his retirement in 2010. His dedication to the Hurricanes and the growth of hockey in North Carolina has transitioned from player to coach, which he joked is not an easy job.
“It’s tough, it’s a real job. I tell everyone, I was kind of shocked, I thought when I played I knew it all and coaching would be easy,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s got its ups and downs, obviously it’s been trying here the last few years, but I love the direction we’re headed. We’re the sleeping giant and the way Ronnie’s got this poised to move forward in the future, I think it’s going to be great to be a part of.”
is the Marketing Coordinator for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email