The Carolina Hurricanes 10th Anniversary Stanley Cup Celebration was capped with the fifth annual Alumni Game on Sunday afternoon. The weekend was a family reunion of sorts, with members of the 2005-06 team returning to Raleigh to participate in the celebration.
Several members of the 2005-06 team made their Alumni Game debut at PNC Arena, including recently retired Craig Adams.
“It was fun. It's obviously been a long time since I've been on the ice with those guys. The one shift we got to play against each other was pretty fun. It's good that it ended when it did because we were getting pretty tired,” Adams said. “It was a great weekend. Everyone is really thankful that the organization set this up.”
Adams sported a white Canes sweater during Sunday’s Alumni Game and found himself on the losing end of the friendly tilt, but the weekend was about much more than winning and losing.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. Time flies by. You have to appreciate it because it’s hard to do. It’s hard to win. It doesn’t happen for a lot of guys,” Adams said. “It’s big for me. It’s helped me move on, knowing that I was able to win twice. It just makes everything a lot easier.”
On January 26, Adams retired from the NHL after 14 seasons and just 19 days later he returned to the same ice where he made his NHL debut.
“So many great memories. Obviously the playoffs are a really long run - there was a lot of big wins, a lot of tough losses. The playoff journey as a whole was pretty special,” he said.
Adams played in 67 games with the Canes during the 2005-06 season, including all 25 playoff games. When asked what made that team so special, Adams recalled two things - practices and the 20-something guys that he sat next to in the locker room.
“We were a pretty good practice team and Peter Lavi ran pretty tough practices - high tempo. That’s the way he wanted us to play the game,” he said. “I remember a specific practice, maybe in March, where it was a really, really good practice. Everyone was right on their game, and guys didn’t want to let each other down even in practice. I realized that we did have a pretty special thing going.”
Less than one month after announcing his retirement, Adams was able to reunite with the group of guys he won his first Stanley Cup with. This coupled with his first alumni game experience was somewhat of a representation of his career coming full-circle, a career that included 951 games, 106 playoff games and two Stanley Cups.
“To be able to have these memories, to be a part of this and the other Cup, it kind of gives you closure. It lets you move on to what’s next,” Adams said. “It’s nice to know that I’ll always have that, to be able to come back and hang out with the guys and talk about the glory days.”
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