I'm not sure what to make of this article. It's a bit odd that they would highlight the fan discussing making it a 'new tradition' when, well, it isn't. They aren't the first to do it. It's not unique, it isn't even their tradition.http://www.newsobser...ory/452990.html
30,000 fans celebrate the red-hot team in Carolina style
David Bracken, Toby Coleman and Rachel Carter, Staff Writers
RALEIGH - An estimated 30,000 Carolina Hurricanes fans gathered under a scorching sun Tuesday for a Stanley Cup victory parade that had the trappings of a Southern summer festival.
"This is uniquely Carolina," said Leigh LeClair, a season ticket holder who showed up to salute the team as it rolled through the RBC Center parking lot in Jeeps, trucks and cars. "It's a tailgate party. It's at the arena. ... Since we're the face of the new NHL, we might as well start new traditions."
Each Canes player and his family had a car in the victory parade, held to celebrate their victory over Edmonton on Monday that secured the National Hockey League championship.
The cars inched along so slowly fans could walk up and thank the players for a season of countless memories.
Fan favorite Mike Commodore drank beer from a can and cheered the crowd in return.
Defenseman Glen Wesley carried the Stanley Cup in the last car, and several fans took the opportunity to touch the most heralded trophy in professional sports.
After the parade, Gov. Mike Easley took the stage and pronounced Tuesday "Carolina Hurricanes Day" as the crowd roared.
The celebration included all the activities that have come to define Caniac Nation: Flags flew from pickup beds; the smell of meat wafted from tailgate grills; children played street hockey on the sizzling asphalt; and live music blared in the background.
Many fans arrived at the arena in West Raleigh hungry for souvenirs. The first 18,000 fans who showed up received a commemorative pint glass. By 5 p.m., the line for glasses stretched several hundred yards through the parking lot. The lines to get into The Eye, the RBC Center's merchandise store, were just as long.
Like many fans in attendance Tuesday, Nick Hess, 26, of Raleigh, left work early to attend.
"We're going to ride the crest of this wave as long as we can," he said.
Lisa Wall of Durham left her job at 3:30 p.m. and was among the first people at the front of the stage in the arena's east parking lot.
"Just watching the guys with the cup over their head," Wall said when asked what she was looking forward to the most.
Standing in the sweltering heat was a fitting way for fans to mark the end of two months of nail-biting playoff hockey.
"Mentally, physically, with all the Game 7s, I'm beat," said Keith Johnson, 36, of Wendell.
Not all fans were thrilled about the decision to hold the parade in the RBC Center parking lot.
"I think it's kind of junior high-ish, but you make do with what you can," said Ray Winslow, 45, of Clayton.
Winslow's wife, Holly, disagreed, noting that the arena was the site of many of the team's greatest moments this season.
"This is where we play," she said. "This is where we tailgate."
The city of Raleigh announced Tuesday that it will hold a second Canes parade along Hillsborough Street today. Many fans said they welcome any excuse to celebrate a victory that few thought possible at the beginning of the season.
"Who's going to complain when you can party for two days?" asked Jason Bowen, 31, of Durham.
Some fans already were thinking ahead to next year.
"I want more," said Mike Kennedy, 38, of Holly Springs. "I just hope all the fans come back next year."