The 16th annual Skate with the Canes fundraiser was held on Dec. 18, 2013. A sell-out, this year’s event raised just under $40,000 for the Kids ‘N Community Foundation.
|Sarah Sessoms |
Each year, fans attending the event cycle through three sessions: an autograph session, a skating session and a photograph session held in conjunction with a tour of the locker room. Every fan who attended the event had the opportunity to meet each player on the Hurricanes’ roster, whether it was skating with Eric Staal, getting an autograph with Jeff Skinner or taking a photograph with Nathan Gerbe.
This year featured a few special guests from the broadcast team, including Hall of Fame radio voice Chuck Kaiton, who joined the fun and had the opportunity to take photographs, sign autographs and interact with patrons as they moved through PNC Arena. In addition, television personalities John Forslund, Tripp Tracy and Chantel McCabe were on-hand to interact with fans. The four of them added so much to the event, and we appreciate the time they took out of their busy schedules to support the fundraiser.
After interacting with the broadcasting team, fans headed over to sign autographs with members of the team. One guest who I spoke to was thrilled to meet the guys, and she even had autographs all across her arms.
Fans who skated on the ice not only had the opportunity to skate with another group of players, but also got to hang out with Stormy and in-game co-hosts Amber Jaye and Ron the Ref. Some skaters even ran through some hockey drills on the ice with Brett Bellemore and a few other players.
After skating, fans moved on to their next session: the locker room tour and holiday-themed photograph session. Right outside of the main entrance to the locker room, fans were greeted with another new surprise: three Hurricanes Alumni were there to sign autographs. Shane Willis, Bates Battaglia and Jesse Boulerice were great additions to this year’s event, and so many fans were thrilled to meet these players from years past.
Once in the locker room, fans could take pictures with the players in their stalls. Down the hall, a holiday feast with turkey and all the trimmings was set up for a seasonal photo-op. It was like eating Christmas dinner with the team!
The day was filled with many more fun guests and entertainment. A new addition this year was Caniac Bingo: Skate with the Canes Edition for fans to play along while they toured the arena. The Eye Care Associates Storm Squad was on-hand to talk with fans and sign their 2014 calendar. Fans could visit The Eye to buy some last-minute presents before the holiday, or visit the Kids ‘N Community silent auction table to bid on a game-worn Jeff Skinner jersey and other special Hurricanes items. One lucky fan won $705 in the 50/50 raffle, and two other fans won signed memorabilia from the raffle.
A very big thank you to the Carolina Hurricanes players and staff and the volunteers who helped make this event a success. A bigger thank you to the Caniacs who attended this year’s sold-out Skate with the Canes. All of the funds raised will help the Kids ‘N Community Foundation support and fill grants for charities across the state. With your help, Caniacs, the Canes are making a difference in the community.
Check out our Kids ‘N Community Foundation microsite for more information on upcoming events, including the 9th Annual Casino Night and Wine Tasting, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1.