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How the World Searched for the Canes in 2020

Ayres dominates 'Year in Search' for Canes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Google released its annual "Year in Search" summary, accompanied by a video essay that always seems to perfectly encapsulate the mood of a year in a few short, yet impactful minutes.

The driving search term for 2020 was "why," as we all wrestled to find meaning amidst a tumultuous and trying year.

"Bubble" was a popular search term, too, as the sports world came to a sudden halt in March before select leagues returned later in the year with tournaments and postseasons staged in bubbles. The NHL, of course, completed its 2019-20 season with an expanded playoff tournament in two hub cities and administered 33,394 COVID-19 tests with zero positive results over a two-month timeframe.

As 2020's "Year in Search" was encapsulated by "why," the Carolina Hurricanes' "Year in Search" can be summed up with "Ayres."

The top 10 breakout search queries related to the Canes in 2020 all led back to that one historic night in Toronto:

  • ayres hurricanes
  • ayres carolina hurricanes
  • david ayres
  • hurricanes zamboni driver
  • carolina emergency goalie
  • hurricanes emergency goalie
  • emergency goalie carolina
  • carolina hurricanes emergency goalie
  • carolina hurricanes zamboni
  • david ayers

Top related search queries included game-specific match-ups - the Boston Bruins, the Canes' First Round opponent, being the top one - tickets, schedule, league information and, of course, the Maple Leafs.

Rising related topics searched - those that saw the biggest increase from the year prior - included "David Ayres," "Ice resurfacer," "Morgan Geekie," "James Reimer," "Trade," "Goaltender" and "Dougie Hamilton" in the top 10. The top six related topics searched included "North Carolina," "National Hockey League," "Ice hockey," "Boston Bruins," "Toronto Maple Leafs" and "Goaltender."

Search interest in the Canes peaked the week of Feb. 23-29, as Ayres mania swept across the globe and a busy trade deadline brought three new faces to Raleigh. Search interest increased again in late July as the league geared up for its 24-team postseason tournament. The week of Aug. 9-15 - after the Qualifying Round sweep of the Rangers and heading into the proper First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs - saw the high point of search interest in the Canes in the latter half of the year.

Search interest in the Canes was international, from Thailand to Kazakhstan and South Africa and Vietnam and Australia to the United States and Canada and Finland and Sweden and Russia and the Czech Republic.

Within the United States, the Triangle was, as expected, most plugged into the Canes, followed by Greensboro, Charlotte and New York City. In Canada, the Canes attracted search interest from Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and more.

What will guide Canes-related searches in 2021? Maybe it will be "Stanley Cup."

Search on, Canes fans.

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