When you talk about history and tradition in sports you tend to think about vintage photos of players that were your parents' heroes. The Hurricanes run in the Tar Heel state is just entering its teenage years, yet we already think our team and our fans have helped establish history and tradition that would rival some of those teams that showcase those grainy helmet-less photos.
When discussing what the major part of our marketing campaign would look like for this season, we were encouraged to look at our history. When this year’s team takes the ice, there will be only five players on the roster that were engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the 2006 season (Staal, Ward, LaRose, Cole and Babchuk). Though this is a “transition” year, it is not viewed as a rebuilding year as many think that we have a team that can make noise in the playoffs. And as our history showcases, it is times when we are “under the radar” that our team tends to be the most boisterous.
For those of us in the organization, taking that trip down memory lane helped solidify what we thought would be a powerful showcase of our history and tradition. When I sat down at a table with Ben Aycock, Pete Soto and Jon Chase, there was nearly 40 years of Hurricanes memories around the table. We began thinking about things like the 2001 playoffs where Canes fans gave a standing ovation to a battered Canes team that forced Game 6 against the Devils, or things like Jeff O’Neill’s black eye, Battaglia’s kicking OT winner celebration, Gelinas’ tip-in, Irbe’s decking of Patrick Elias, and of course “The Franchise’s” Game 1 OT winner. As we progressed, we easily got caught-up in Brind’Amour’s gritty Game 3 goal in Montreal, Wallin’s leap in the boards after beating Brodeur…you get the picture.
The best part is that we got excited about the 2008-09 run and the way the team finished last season (Staal’s Game 7 snipe, the Jussi “shake”, Walker’s gloves on fire…McBain’s OT winner, Corvo’s dissection of the Panthers, etc). After our brainstorming, we couldn’t wait for our newest edition of the Hurricanes to take the ice. Who will be the Erik Cole of 2002? What veteran player will have a career year like Gerber or Whitney or Cullen of years past?
All the while, we were trying to pinpoint things that we felt were the foundation of our organization and our fanbase. As we talked about these moments, it was easy to find three words that we feel help define our brand.
Those three words are Pride, Passion and Community. The first two of those words are somewhat self explanatory. The third word, “Community”, plays off of several things.
This is not only our team’s commitment to our community through cash donations and in-kind services, but also the sense of community that is built through our fan base. When many of us think of the Canes, not only do we think about great captains like Francis, Brind’Amour and Staal, but we think about things like tailgating, ball hockey in the driveway and the fact that fans of any shade of red or blue can come together for one team in the Triangle.
We will air the first of this season’s ads at tonight’s pre-season game against Nashville (it can also be seen below). You will see it on various channels starting Monday and running all the way to opening night. As the season progresses, the make-up of the commercial will remain the same, but we will change the different moments in history and update to include this year’s memorable moments. Hope you have as much fun traveling down memory lane as we did.
Big props to Trailblazer Studios and Blazing Sound Design for perfectly “scoring” the highlights into the perfect montage. Also big props to Ben Aycock and CanesDesign for their work on creation and implementation and Pete Soto and Canesvision for not only pulling all the highlights, but incorporating the same feel into this season’s opening videos (to debut with our North American home opener on Oct. 27).