The people have spoken.
After more than 2 million votes were cast in the 2019 NHL Fan Choice Awards, the Carolina Hurricanes' Storm Surge was crowned Best Celly. The Surge, which garnered nearly 61,000 total votes and 60% of the category, was the second most popular winner behind Gritty, who took home the Fan Choice Award for Best Mascot.
The brainchild of captain Justin Williams, the yet-unnamed victory celebration debuted after the Hurricanes' wild 8-5 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 7. The Canes, outfitted in their black third jerseys for the first time in 2018-19, lined up along the blue line and clapped over their heads before racing down the ice and leaping into the end boards.
"It was planned," Jordan Martinook said after the game. "I don't know if we're going to do that one for the whole year. We'll keep the fans on their toes and keep them guessing on what we're going to do next."
That they did.
Video: 2018-19 Best of the Storm Surge
After the team cycled through a number of variations of jumping into the boards, the celebration, christened as the Storm Surge, became more intricate as the Canes continued to pile up wins, especially in the second half of the season.
There was a Tiger Williams stick ride tribute. There were dominoes in the shape of a "W." There was Brock McGinn's best Thor impression. There was bowling, curling, a walk-off homerun and an on-ice dunk. There was limbo and Duck Hunt and fishing. And, of course, there was Evander Holyfield delivering a one-shot KO to Martinook.
And, to think some fuddy-duddies in the hockey universe chastised the Hurricanes for embracing fun.
"Instead of the traditional salute to the fans, which nobody cares about, they're just trying to do something a little different. We really don't care what other people think about it. It's been pretty positive around here. I haven't had one fan here say they didn't like it," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said in February, amid flamboyant criticism of the Storm Surge lobbed from afar. "I don't think the players are going to change what they're doing. They're enjoying it. The fans are enjoying it. You've got to remember that's what we're here to do. … It's fun, people."
What was your favorite Storm Surge from this season? And would you like to see it return in 2019-20?
After all, it's now an award-winning celebration.