Hurricanes Receive 2021 Stadium Series Game

Hurricanes Receive 2021 Stadium Series Game

By Chris Cole

February 18, 2020

News came out Saturday that the Carolina Hurricanes will be hosting an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium as part of the NHL Stadium Series.  Very few details have been revealed yet outside of the game being played on February 20, 2021. Their opponent will be announced at a later date.

This is huge news for the Carolina's and the timing couldn’t be better! Interest in the team has risen after the heroics of last year and having a game across the parking lot from PNC Arena is a just reward for both the organization and the fans.  

With a full year until the game actually happens there will be plenty to speculate about so let’s cover two of those possibilities; the opponent and any other games on the outdoor rink:

The Opponent

Here are a handful of choices that the Canes could face outdoors and why it makes sense:

  • Boston Bruins: Before the Hurricanes moved to Carolina they were the Hartford Whalers and their closest rival was the Bruins.  Last season the Canes introduced throwback green Whalers jerseys and wore them twice against Boston, one home and one away.  Could the Canes be rocking Whalers gear again next February?

  • Florida Panthers/Tampa Bay Lightning: Having two of the three teams located in the South facing off in the elements would make a lot of sense as well.  Based on comments in the Twittersphere, if the Canes were to face a team from the Sunshine State they would prefer it to be against the Lightning and I agree!  Stamkos and Kucherov against Aho and Svechnikov outside under the lights? Yes, yes indeed! Note to Tampa Bay, don’t send McElhinney if this is the actual game, the Caniacs want him in net!

  • Nashville Predators: A next-door neighbor, but not in the same conference.  This is one team I wished the Hurricanes played more often and choosing them as their opponent wouldn’t be a bad pick at all.  

  • Washington Capitals:  Old Southeast Division rivals, but not really until recently (or still not really if you are a Caps fan in full denial).  A representative for the Capitals responded to the rumor denying that the Caps are the Stadium Series opponent. Of all the possible match-ups listed here, a Caps-Canes game would make the most sense since they are both Metro division teams and that people would pay top dollar to see Ovechkin skating around Carter-Finley (whether to cheer or boo would be another thing...).

  • Chicago Blackhawks: Because they always get an outdoor game and don’t be surprised if this actually happens. 

I would add the Pittsburgh Penguins but you would want this experience to give the Hurricanes a home field advantage.

Other Games:

Minor League/Major League Double Header: The Charlotte Checkers could play earlier in the day or the night and play the AHL team of the NHL organization the Canes would be facing (i.e. Checkers vs. Hershey Bears if the NHL opponent is Washington).  

Fayetteville Marksmen versus Carolina Thunderbirds: The most likely to not happen, but seeing the SPHL Marksmen face the FPHL Thunderbirds would be quite the treat! We could also see the Marksmen and Thunderbirds play their own respective games against teams in their league. The Marksmen could play the Rail Yard Dawgs and the Thunderbirds could play the River Dragons. 

NC State versus UNC:  Of the three choices here, this would probably be the most likely to occur.  Currently the ACCHL end-of-season tournament is taking place so to make this work the game would either have to be an exhibition after the tournament next year or the ACHA and ACCHL would need to work together to let the two clubs face each other as the last season game before having the ACCHL tournament start.   

Most of all, what will the jerseys be like?  If this was the Winter Classic it would probably have some retro tinge to it, but this is the Stadium Series which means jersey ideas from left field and based on the reaction of this year’s Stadium Series jerseys the fans are probably going to really like or hate the uniforms with no middle ground whatsoever.

A year from now Canes fans will know all of the details and who knows, maybe one of the scenarios from both lists will be correct?!  Only time will tell and the clock is ticking.