When Justin Williams sat down for a postgame interview after being named the first star in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg on Jan. 21, a giddy crowd inside PNC Arena chanted his name.
"Just-in Will-iams! Just-in Will-iams!"
In his second game back in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup, the veteran forward netted two goals to propel the Canes into an extended All-Star break.
Williams tried to answer the first question of the interview but was cut off mid-word by the crowd's billowing chants. He laughed and paused, letting the emotion of the moment breathe.
He was eventually able to sneak a few words out to the exuberant delight of the fans.
"This is pretty special," Williams said. "This is a special place to play hockey."
Video: Postgame Quotes: Justin Williams
Fueled by a long-awaited return to the playoffs, a run to the Eastern Conference Final and a Storm Surge that captured the hearts and minds of a passionate fanbase, The Loudest House in the NHL has lived up to billing in the 2019-20 season.
The Canes added 4,500 new Season Ticket Members and have seen their average per game attendance jump 20% from last season and over 40% from three seasons ago to 16,624 fans through 30 games in 2019-20.
A capacity crowd packed PNC Arena on Sunday, the Canes' second consecutive sellout and 10th of the season, their most since the 2008-09 campaign (10). The Canes have welcomed crowds larger than 18,000 fans in 14 of their 30 home games this season; to put that number in perspective, the team totaled crowds larger than 18,000 fans just 12 times over the last six seasons combined.
Season Ticket Memberships for the 2020-21 season were made available this week. Canes Season Ticket Members receive a variety of enticing benefits and gain access to exclusive events and experiences throughout the year, including guaranteed presale access to the 2021 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™.
"Our fans deserve something like this," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said earlier this week. "They've been supporting us so well here, especially in the last year and a half. It puts us on the map a little bit as an organization, and it's about the fans. I hope they come out and enjoy it."