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Hamilton the pig becoming Hurricanes good luck charm

While not allowed inside PNC Arena, hog is hit at fan tailgate parties

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

Hamilton the Pig with Canes fans

Hamilton the Pig with Hurricanes fans before Game 4

Hamilton the Pig hangs out with Hurricanes fans while they get excited as their team hosts the Capitals in Game 4 at PNC Arena

  • 00:49 •

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Hamilton the Pig likes carrots, his chicken sisters and, of course, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

After being a good luck charm for the Hurricanes for their 5-0 home win against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Monday, Hamilton returned to hang out with tailgaters prior to Game 4 at PNC Arena on Thursday.

Sure enough, the Hurricanes produced another win, 2-1.

"This is great," said Kyle Eckenrode, who identifies himself as Hamilton's dad. "We bring him around and people get excited about seeing him and take a bunch of pictures of him."

Hamilton even has some famous friends as Stormy, the Hurricanes mascot, posted a picture with him earlier this week.

Tweet from @NHLStormy: going ham with the #playoffpig #surgetogether

Eckenrode and his fiancé, Karoline Briggs, adopted Hamilton two years ago from a farm in Laurinburg, North Carolina and he lives with them and their nine chickens on a small farm in Raleigh, about a mile from PNC Arena. 

Although Eckenrode's brother has Hurricanes season tickets and he sometimes goes to games with him, he can't bring Hamilton into PNC Arena. So, for Games 3 and 4, he brought Hamilton to mingle and take some photos with the tailgaters before the game, then went home to watch on television.

"He's great," Eckenrode said. "He sleeps inside. He likes to lay on the couch, so we put him on the couch when we watch the Canes games now and it's been our good luck charm."

Eckenrode said Hamilton hasn't shown much interest in the game itself.

"He watches the snacks I feed him," Eckenrode said. "But he does enjoy laying on the couch."

Hamilton the Pig is not named for Dougie Hamilton. Eckenrode and Briggs named him before Hamilton was traded to the Hurricanes by the Calgary Flames on June 23, 2018. Eckenrode said the name is, "a play on words, HAM-ilton."

"That's not why is he's named Hamilton but that is why we like Dougie Hamilton," Eckenrode said. "We call him Hammy. That's his nickname."

When Eckenrode and Briggs got Hamilton, he was a 3-pound piglet who fit in the hood of Briggs' hooded sweatshirt. Now Hamilton weighs about 90 pounds and Eckenrode pulls him around in his red Radio Flyer wagon with a nameplate on the side. 

Hamilton has his own Instagram account - HamiltonDTR - where he met the Hurricanes Storm Squad and, of course, Stormy, who is also a pig.

"We call them distant cousins," Eckenrode said.

Hamilton has yet to meet his namesake on the Hurricanes, but Eckenrode is hopeful that it will happen.

"I've had a lot people tag Dougie (on Instragram) and his pictures," Eckenrode said. "I'm trying to get him into the locker room one day so we can round up the guys with him."

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