Jordan Martinook could probably count on one hand the number of times he had been to Raleigh, but later this summer, he'll come to call it home.
Already on the East Coast for a wedding, Martinook and his wife, Courtney, dropped by the City of Oaks over the weekend to scout out a place to live and get acclimated to their new surroundings.
Finding a place to live, somewhere that can also accommodate Gus, the French bulldog? Check.
"That's a bit of a relief. We don't have to worry too much when we arrive," he said. "We can have everything situated and show up, and then I just have to worry about the hockey part."
In a move across the country, the first big sojourn Martinook has made in his NHL career, peace of mind was important.
"It makes it easier on me and my wife, too. This is the first time she's really ever done this," he said. "The stress of moving to a whole new place - at least I have the guys, but she doesn't really have anyone until she meets the other wives and girlfriends. To be able to have a place to go and start calling home is something we're excited about."
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Getting a feel for Raleigh? Check.
"It was really cool. We went downtown on Sunday. A lot of the restaurants are local. Really cool," Martinook said. "We got a really good vibe from the city. Everybody we met was super nice. We got a really good feeling about the city."
Hopping on an electric scooter downtown? Well, almost.
"People were scootering around," he said. "We were planning on doing that, but it was a little toasty on Sunday."
Tasting some local flavors, specifically the mac and cheese at Poole's Diner? Check, of course.
"We had to have it," he said. "That's what they're known for."
Meeting head coach Rod Brind'Amour? Check.
"We got to get to know each other a little bit. He met with me and my wife. It was awesome to hear his side of what he thinks of the city," Martinook said. "He's been here a long time and married someone from here, so to hear his perspective on the city and his idea of how our team is going to play and how it's going to shape out is nice to have going into camp."
Martinook formed some initial impressions of the first-year head coach after a conversation over coffee.
"He likes the gym," Martinook laughed. "First impressions were that he's a really nice guy, really down to earth. I feel like he's a good communicator, too, which is always good to have in a coach. Just the way he was very personable with me and my wife was awesome to see."
Excitement for the moves the team has made in the offseason? Check plus.
"It's definitely looking really good," he said. "You look at the defense, and it's crazy to see how that's shaping out."
Having played in the Western Conference since 2014, Martinook is no stranger to squaring off against Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland.
"I've competed with Dougie a lot over the last couple of years. To see the type of player he is and see the caliber he plays at, that's something you always want on your team," he said. "Ferland, I've played against him since junior, and I know exactly what he brings to the table. The toughness, that little added muscle. That's another type of player you want on your team."
Ready for October? Check. Emphasis. Exclamation point.
"It's what Rod was saying: Excitement in the city is ramping up, which is good to see," he said. "It's really exciting."