When the Carolina Hurricanes sent out information about Season Ticket Membership renewals and their 30 prize giveaway, something caught Janna’s eye.
The trip with the team was the first prize in the near month-long sweepstakes. She didn’t think long before renewing her full Season Ticket Membership: row A in section 304, seats 23 and 24.
“I was hoping I would win this trip,” she said.
Janna’s Hurricanes ticket representative reached out to her over the phone shortly after.
“She was just thanking me for renewing, which is all I thought the phone call was,” Janna recalled. “Then she goes, ‘Well, what are you doing next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. Whatcha got?’”
It was the trip with the team – Janna and her husband Shayne had won the trip for two to Columbus, flying charter with the team to and from, staying in the team’s hotel and getting to experience a Canes gameday on the road.
“I was like, ‘Woo hoo!’ I was having a fit,” she said. “’Is that a problem?’ I’m like, ‘Oh no. I’ll be there.’”
Janna called Shayne.
“We were overwhelmed at work. She called me and it didn’t sink in,” Shayne said. “Then it finally sunk in and I was like, ‘Forget work, we’re doing this trip.’”
A week later, Janna and Shayne packed their bags, threw on their Canes gear and climbed aboard the charter flight bound for Columbus with the team.
As full Season Ticket Members, Janna and Shayne have called the mezzanine row of section 304 home since the 2008-09 season. For five years before that, they were part of a group in the same row, same section.
“Those, for the money, are the best seats in the house. Nobody in front of you, nobody behind you,” Shayne said, like he was pitching their seats to a prospective client. “You’re still close to the ice that you can see everything and hear the team.”
I asked Janna and Shayne what their favorite parts of being Season Ticket Members were. The hockey and the people topped their list, with Shayne also adding that, “You’re always a part of it.”
“We love this sport. We love watching it. We love going to the away games,” Shayne said, before Janna added, “and watching the away games on TV.”
They even were among the group of Hurricanes fans that traveled to Helsinki, Finland, to see the team face off with the Minnesota Wild in two games to open the 2010-11 regular season.
“That was our first trip overseas for any reason,” Shayne said. “It was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.”
“It was different to see the different culture. It was an awakening to me,” Janna said. “To have Canes stuff on with our other 200-some people we had there, we were very loud.”
Back in Raleigh, Janna and Shayne share a friendship with a number of their fellow Season Ticket Members.
“We enjoy tailgating. We tailgate, even if we just bring something, me and him will get there early in the parking lot and just enjoy being there,” Janna said. “Sometimes we have bigger groups when we grill out, and that’s a big tailgating thing. I enjoy that.”
“It’s the atmosphere,” Shayne said. “We’ve got a lot of friends who are Season Ticket Members, so it’s nice to see them for the six months out of the year, mingle and be a part of it.”
In addition to the trip to Helsinki, Janna and Shayne had traveled to see the Hurricanes play in five other cities: Toronto, Tampa Bay, Glendale, Denver and Atlanta. Columbus would be a new stop – and unlike any of their other trips in that they would not only be making it as fans but as part of the team.
As they sat on the plane on Wednesday prior to the Canes’ 3 p.m. flight to Columbus, suited players passed them by, bags in hand. General Manager Ron Francis stopped for a quick chat. Coaches said hello.
After a night exploring the city, Janna and Shayne got to take in the Hurricanes’ morning skate at Nationwide Arena on Thursday. They gabbed with John Forslund and Tripp Tracy as the Blue Jackets wrapped up their optional skate and snapped pictures with their phones once the red, white and black sweaters took to the ice.
Following lunch and more time in and around the city in the afternoon, Janna and Shayne, each clad in a Canes sweater, were back at Nationwide Arena ready for puck drop.
“It’s just a very nice downtown. You can tell the arena was built and everything else has kind of thrived around it,” Shayne said. “It’s a very nice atmosphere. You can tell that the city has a passionate fan base of this team, and that adds to the atmosphere. I really don’t want to hear the cannon tonight, but it’s a very nice area. I’m impressed.”
Janna and Shayne had seats no more than a handful of rows behind the glass near the Canes’ bench, as they saw the team scored three goals in a span of 98 seconds in the third period to bring home two points in a 3-2 victory.
As the media bus made its way to the airport after the game, they were glowing.
“It was a lot of fun,” Shayne said. “I think we caught Columbus off-guard a little bit in the third and put a little shock into them.”
It would be back to reality once they landed in Raleigh – Shayne said he would need to catch up on some work the next day – but they would take with them a story, another city crossed off the list, a trip with the team.
“It’s been fun to see this side of the business. That’s been interesting for me,” Shayne said. “It’s been a very full trip for two days.
A very appreciative Janna summed it up in three simple words: “That was awesome.”
To learn more about Carolina Hurricanes Season Ticket Memberships, please click here or call 1-866-NHL-CANES (1-866-645-2263).
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email