On the Road with the Hurricanes, presented by Advance Auto Parts.
One of Tom Dundon's first official deeds as the Carolina Hurricanes' new majority owner was a random act of kindness.
He met Alain and Monica Taylor and learned their story - and then offered them a trip with the team to Philadelphia, a dream seven-year wedding anniversary gift.
Just as Dundon did on his first day as acting owner, let's meet the Taylors.
There's no mistaking Alain and Monica's fandom. A red, black, white and silver beaded necklace featuring the Hurricanes primary logo dangles around Monica's neck. A hockey-themed charm bracelet with a similar color scheme adorns her right wrist. Her first tattoo, acquired in May 2009, is the Hurricanes primary logo on her ankle. Alain's wedding band is dotted with black diamonds and red rubies in a warning flag-type pattern.
Oh, and about that wedding. Alain and Monica said their "I do's" at center ice of what was then known as the RBC Center on Jan. 15, 2011, before the Hurricanes topped the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-4. Ron the Ref presided over the ceremony. Stormy was the ring bearer. A mini goalie helmet signed by the team at Skate with the Canes served as the wedding cake topper. In addition to vowing to be with one another through good times and bad, through sickness and in health, the two also promised to never go to a Canes game or event without the other. A traditional Hurricanes goal celebration, complete with Ric Flair's signature "Woo!" ensued as they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
"That was our dream wedding," Monica recalled. "It would have been like we had a wedding that cost $10 million and it was the wedding of a lifetime. That was our wedding."
They didn't go on a honeymoon - Raleigh hosted All-Star Weekend shortly after their wedding, and they weren't going to miss those festivities - and haven't since; their discretionary spending goes to full Season Ticket Memberships, which they've had since 2010.
But for their seven-year wedding anniversary, Dundon offered the honeymoon they've never had: the opportunity to experience a road trip with the Hurricanes.
Alain and Monica flew to Philadelphia on Wednesday (and happened to be on the same flight as Jordan Staal) to join the Canes on the trip. They stayed at the same hotel as the team. They rode the team bus to soak in Thursday's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center, something that was broadcast live via Monica's Facebook. That evening, they rode with the team back to the rink and sat in on the FOX production meeting. Aside from spending the second period in the television booth with John and Tripp, Alain and Monica's seats were just 10 rows behind the Hurricanes' bench, and they cheered the team on to a 4-1 victory in hostile territory. Then they flew back to Raleigh on the team plane.
A honeymoon worth waiting for, indeed.
"This is an experience above all experiences. I know not many people get to do this, but we're honored to be on this trip and have this opportunity," Alain said. "It's not something we asked for. We weren't looking for Tom to give us something. We were just telling him who we were. His generosity is amazing."
"This trip is the top thing on our bucket list. When Tom gave that to us, he made our dream come true. It was like winning the lottery for us," Monica said. "This is just the biggest dream, besides our wedding. The Canes made that dream come true, and now they've given us this dream."