Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's My World Tuesday #6: RBC Center

"2006 Stanley Cup Final - Game 7"
Raleigh, NC - June 2006 (Click to embiggen)

Be a virtual tour guide on That's My World Tuesday

The RBC Center is a relatively new addition to the Raleigh Landscape as such things go. Though the project was actually finalized circa 1987, it wasn't until Peter Karmanos elected to move the NHL franchise then located in Hartford, CT to Raleigh that construction actually began on the building. The doors opened in 1999 and the Carolina Hurricanes (who had been playing their home games 90 miles away in Greensboro Coliseum for the previous two years) broke the building -- then known simply as The Entertainment and Sports Arena, or "ESA" -- in with their home opener against the New Jersey Devils. (Unfortunately, the Devils wound up winning the game 4-2.)

It wasn't until the 2002-2003 season that the building's naming rights were finally sold to what was then RBC Centura Bank and the building finally had an identity that wasn't "generic". Hardcore fans though, still refer to the building by its ESA designation and have even been known to "collect" items still bearing the arena's former name.

And for the first three years after the renaming, it appeared that the new name may have brought a bit of a jinx with it. After winning the Eastern Conference in 2002, the Hurricanes slumped into the cellar of the league the following two seasons, and perhaps the only thing that prevented that from continuing for another year was the labor dispute that canceled the entire 2004-2005 season league wide.

Once the teams returned to the ice in 2005-2006 however, all thoughts of a jinx in Carolina went out the window. Suddenly the Hurricanes were the force of nature their moniker suggested they were, and they shocked the hockey world by setting franchise records for point (112) and wins (52) on the way to winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup, which also had the distinction of being the first major league (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB) title in the history of the state.*

This shot was taken on the way into the building the night of the decisive Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final just hours before Canes' captain Rod Brind'Amour hoisted the coveted trophy over his head.

The Hurricanes have come a long, long way from the days when they were better known as "the hockey team formerly known as the Hartford Whalers".

*In the interest of complete accuracy, the first pro sports team in the state to win a championship was the Carolina Courage, a women's (WUSA) pro soccer team based in the Triangle at the time. Debate rages on about whether or not the WUSA should be considered "major league" or not. I give the Courage their due as the winners of North Carolina's first pro title, but I'm not going to debate here whether or not the WUSA is in the same league as the NHL.

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Daryl said...

Neat shot ... hockey is one sport Husband doesnt follow .. phew


kjpweb said...

Good one! And nice of you to give the title to the WUSA! It sure counts! :)
Cheers, Klaus

Anonymous said...

Nice info. Personally tho' I find selling the naming rights of stadiums/parks to the highest bidder leaving a bad taste in the mouth. But that's just me.

Louise said...

Glad the name wasn't a jinx after all. Nice photo!

kenju said...

It is a huge place! I attended part of the NCAA games last year, and I also worked with the crew that decorated it for the Jim Valvano Golf Tourney Gala two years ago. We are lucky to have it, even though many say it was built into the wrong part of town.

babooshka said...

If you say Stanley cup final to anyone in the uk, it means a certain football game.How strange. Renaming of venues is always a tricky one.

fishing guy said...

Mojo: What an interesting post, very well done.

Anonymous said...

You touched a lot of interesting points - loyalty to sports teams, jinxes, naming rights, - and illustrated it beautiful. Of course, my Stanley Cup loyalties belong to my adopted home team, the Red Wings, but I'm glad the Hurricanes had their chance, too.

Indrani said...

I liked the sporty twist to My World. Didn't read about all this anywhere. (probably my lack of interest in sports.)

pcpach said...

I have fond memory's of the whalers living up here in New England. Haven't paid much attention to hockey since they changed the league rules after the strike. Lots of buzz around town though with the recent Bruins success.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

interesting post...we are not hockey fans but i did years ago follow the los angeles kings...to show you how long since i have even listened to a hockey game.
thanks for sharing with us.

have a good t-day.