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Promotions: Play with the Canes 2009

by Kaitlin Szulik / Carolina Hurricanes
Kaitlin Szulik

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When their day to spend playing street hockey with Hurricanes players gets rained out, most kids would be heartbroken, but this year’s Play with the Canes winner was not about to let freezing rain and cold temperatures stop her from spending an afternoon with players Michael Ryan and Tim Conboy.

Seven-year-old Colby Summers was randomly chosen as this year’s lucky Caniac to win Play with the Canes, an event where the Hurricanes promotions team and select Hurricanes players come out to the winner’s house for street hockey, autographs, photos and a pizza lunch.

This year’s event took place on Sunday, March 1, and due to adverse weather conditions, Colby got a slightly different Play with the Canes experience than past years.  Instead of playing out in the street, she, along with her her older siblings and close friends, took countless shots on Stormy in goal (and one of the members of the promotions team) in her garage, and was soon surprised by Ryan and Conboy as they walked into her house out of the rain. She was star struck!

They all made their way inside for a relaxed question and answer session in her living room, where Colby squeezed right between the two players on the ottoman. She immediately put her hands up behind the players heads to make bunny ears – she clearly had lost all nerves of meeting NHL players by this point. Some of the questions ranged from the serious, “Do you really get enough time to catch your breath between line changes?” to the humorous, “What is it like to be famous?” which caused many of the kids in the room to laugh.

Lots of autographs by the players and Stormy, including a few pictures here and there, made the kids forget that it was sleeting outside, but how could they be upset when posing for the camera beside an NHL player? The big smiles on their faces could not be mistaken for anything other than pure joy. From hats to jerseys to picture frames, Ryan and Conboy happily signed everything the kids put in front of them.

Following a pizza lunch, Colby, her brothers and her friends made their way to the rec room to take on Ryan and Conboy in NHL 09 on the Wii. (She left the Wii-playing up to her siblings, much to their enjoyment). It took some time for the kids to decide which pro team Ryan and Conboy would play for on the video game, since the kids wanted to be Carolina, but once the decision was made the kids certainly did not hold back their video game skills. I believe the kids actually beat the professional players in one of the games.

What started out as a wet, chilly day turned into one of warmth and happiness as a child’s wish came true by spending the day with Hurricanes players in her very own home. Colby made do without playing street hockey; she was just as content sitting on the lap of her hockey heroes.

Stay tuned for next year’s Play with the Canes!

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