Regan Smith is originally from the Syracuse, N.Y. area where he grew up an unabashed hockey fanatic. Regan drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Since moving to North Carolina for his racing commitments, Regan has grown to become a passionate Carolina Hurricanes fan. When he isn’t racing, Regan can often be seen at the RBC Center cheering on the Canes.
Follow Regan on Twitter and Facebook. One of the highlights for me each year as the racing season winds down is that hockey is getting into full swing. The only time that I can truly enjoy sporting events is during the winter, and it would seem that playing ice hockey is the ideal winter sport. This works out well for me.
It’s usually around the Kansas race weekend that I have to be sure the motor coach (where I spend an average of four nights a week) and my home are both up-to-date with the NHL Center Ice package. Since I’m now living in Denver, satellite TV seems to be the best way to keep up with the Canes, with the exception of seeing a few games in person each year.
As a new season begins I’m excited to see the new faces added to the roster we have all come to know. As an outsider, I always wonder what the guys are like in the locker room. Who are the comedians? Who are the serious guys? Who are the quiet ones who keep to themselves?
Admittedly, the closest that I have ever come to understanding the dynamics of what goes on in a hockey locker room is the 24/7 HBO series last year, but I can only imagine that there are some similarities in the antics that take place in a NASCAR hauler on a race weekend and those that take place at a hockey arena.
Another question that I have: will this be the year that the Canes win another Stanley Cup? Perhaps the better question is whether they make the playoffs.
It seems that as the NHL becomes a more even playing field, nail-biting for fans becomes more excessive in March and April. Last year was a tough pill to swallow on the final night of the season, and we can only hope that a playoff spot is clinched sooner than game No. 82 this year.
I will say that while playing in Vinny Lecavalier’s poker tournament a few weeks ago I was secretly trying to get into the heads of all the Lightning players for what they did to the Canes at the end of last season. Based on the start of their season, I’m feeling pretty good about my efforts! In all seriousness, the poker tournament was for a great cause and it was cool to take part in what Vinny does for the city of Tampa and its surrounding communities.
While I felt like a traitor being there, I was quick to point out to each of the Lightning players that I was an avid Canes fan and wished them the best of luck with the exception of games when they faced the Canes. Oh yeah, and as for the tourney, I outlasted every Tampa player except for Victor Hedman. Rest assured, Caniacs. I did us proud.
As for whether or not this is the Canes’ year to win the Cup, I might be optimistic, but of course it is! I’m a fan! What do you expect? I’m sure it’s the way fans of the Red Wings, Kings, Canucks, Penguins, Bruins and every other NHL team feel this way at the start of every season. The fact that we all start out equal in the win column keeps me watching every game intently, and my fiancé nagging constantly about having games on every TV along with my fantasy team live on the computer.
Well, hopefully it won’t be as long until the next time I touch base as the offseason is approaching rapidly for me. This particular offseason might be a little busier than race season though. My aforementioned fiancé is going to become my wife the weekend following our season finale in Miami. If what my married friends tell me is true, my free time will no longer be mine (but I’ll always sneak in a Canes game).