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Meet The 2017-18 Canes Country Writing Staff

As the new season gets underway, say hello to the staff that will bring you all the Hurricanes coverage you need right here.

Jamie Kellner

With the start of the new Carolina Hurricanes season, the Canes Country staff is ready for another season of fun, nonsense, and the best Hurricanes coverage anywhere. We’re fortunate to have one of the best and most dedicated staffs anywhere on SB Nation, and to that end everyone who finished last season on the staff is back again for another kick at the can.

As has become our tradition, we start every season by introducing you to our writing staff. Each writer contributed a short bio, so that you get to know us better and hopefully start some conversations. (So as to not have much of a pecking order, these are in random order, courtesy of a random number generator.)

We all appreciate your continued support of Canes Country, as we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our dedicated readers. We had record traffic last year, and we can’t wait to build on that foundation heading into what we all hope is the first Canes playoff season in many, many years.

Kevin LeBlanc

Prospects Writer
Twitter: @kleblanchockey

I have been involved with the Carolina Hurricanes now for nearly 20 years. I graduated from NC State and worked for the Hurricanes organization for three seasons in the Youth and Amateur Hockey department. Currently, I act as an Associate Editor for Dobber Prospects, as well as the Carolina Hurricanes prospect writer for DP. I also write the prospect-centered article "The Journey" for Dobber Hockey weekly. I’m happy to engage on the Twitters with any prospect (Canes or otherwise) or #fantasyhockey conversations, so feel free to reach out.

Brett Finger

Senior Writer
Twitter: @brettfinger

I am majoring in journalism with the intent of pursuing a career in that field. This is my second season with Canes Country as a senior writer and I am beyond excited for the season to get going. I've been a fan of the team since I can remember, as I was born in Raleigh and grew up with a love for Hurricanes hockey. I have been writing about the Hurricanes online for the more than four years and this year feels special both on and off the ice. I can't wait to see where the season takes us.

Andy House

Staff Writer
Twitter: @AndyH33

I am originally from Gainesville, Georgia. I currently live in Raleigh, and am entering my second season on the Canes Country staff. I grew up and still am a huge baseball fan, and played baseball all the way through my college years at Piedmont College in Georgia, from which I graduated in 2008. My hockey fandom began with the Atlanta Thrashers (RIP), became more about the sport in general, then morphed into Canes fandom as I moved to the wonderful Triangle area in 2015. I am excited for another season of contributing to Canes Country, and I look forward to interacting with all of our readers throughout the season!

Zeke Lukow

Staff Writer
Twitter: @zlukow

I live in Arlington, VA, deep in enemy territory. I currently work in the travel industry as a Data/Product Analyst. I grew up in hockey rinks as my brother has been playing since I was four years old. During my time as a military brat, I spent a lot of time in North Carolina. We lived in the area when the Canes came to town in 1997, and I have been going to the games since they were playing in the Greensboro Coliseum. This will be my second season as a writer for Canes Country, but my third overall covering the Canes.

Jamie Kellner

Senior Editor and Community Manager
Twitter: @jbkellner

It occurs to me I've been around these parts for a long time. Most of you know me in some form already, and I've met many of you in real life. My husband, son and I live local to the Raleigh area, we've been season ticket members since 2005, and I've been known to take a picture or two at a hockey event.

So while an introduction might be a bit superfluous, an update is in order.

At the beginning of last season I became community manager, which means in addition to articles and photos, I have roles with regard to site moderation, administering our social media accounts, interacting with other sites that cover the Canes and affiliates and colleagues across SB Nation NHL, and generally keeping up with the buzz across the hockey world to bring news and ideas back to the site.

I have to be honest, spending that much time on the internet, especially during this past year, has been neither easy nor healthy. Plus, like everyone, I have life stuff not related to Hurricanes hockey that could always use more focus and attention. After hoping the offseason would give me ample time to recharge, I've come to the realization it would be best to start this season on IR, and Brian (who has been SUPER to work with, in case you didn't already know) has agreed to let me take a brief respite from writing and community responsibilities.

You'll still see my view of the game from behind the camera lens, I'll still be helping out behind the scenes, and I'll pop into the comments or on twitter now and then, but my hockey voice will be quieter for a while and I wanted you all to know why.

Please don't take this as anything less than continued unwavering support and excitement about the upcoming season. Let's hope the 20th season of Hurricanes hockey is our best ever.

Andrew Ahr

Staff Writer
Twitter: @Andrew_Ahr

I'm a senior computer science major and an Environmental Science minor at Villanova University. I plan on working in mobile software development after graduation next spring while continuing to write about my hometown hockey team as well as the greater NHL. Growing up in Raleigh, my grandfather put me into youth hockey at the age of 6 after the Hurricanes' miraculous 2002 Stanley Cup Finals run. I've been a Hurricanes fan ever since. The Carolina stars of that era, particularly Glen Wesley, were some of my first role models and a big reason why the Hurricanes are my favorite team in sports. I still try to catch as many Canes games as I can (even when they're playing up here in Philadelphia) despite spending most of my time away from the Triangle. This will be my second year as a staff writer for this great community and I couldn't be more excited for this potentially special season!

Jake Crouse

Staff Writer
Twitter: @jake_crouse94

Hey Caniacs! I’m a South Carolina native, recent graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and am currently working in Idaho as a sports reporter in Twin Falls. I first became a Hurricanes fan near the time I became a hockey fan: the early 2000s, as a young boy watching the Pee Dee Pride in Florence, South Carolina. When they began to dissolve a few years after, the Hurricanes were my primary focus — just in time for an incredible Stanley Cup win. I decided to join the Canes Country team last year as I became sure that I wanted to write about sports later in life, and I’ve loved being a part of this team of great writers and great people all around.

Peter Dewar

Senior Writer
Twitter: @pdewar18

I joined the CC crew prior to the 2016-17 season and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I have since graduated from UNC-Wilmington and moved to Illinois to work as a communications intern for the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. I've been a Hurricanes fan for as long as I can remember; I grew up with the new franchise when they moved to the Triangle in 1999 and tried to "be Sami Kapanen" while playing in Raleigh youth leagues. I'm excited to cover what should be an exciting Canes team this year, even if I'm a few states away.

Justin Lape

Staff Writer, Charlotte Checkers
Twitter: @LankyLape

I am a senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies (Mass Media) with a minor in Journalism. I plan on being a TV producer upon graduation and making a transition to media relations/teaching media or journalism later in life. I became a Canes fan during the course of the 2001-2002 season and became a big fan of Jeff O'Neill. I loved hockey and found it extremely exciting and fast paced. I used to play garage hockey with my friend and would try to mirror the game of a younger Cam Ward and Roberto Luongo. When I came across Canes Country and their application for new writers, I thought it was a great opportunity to expand coverage to all areas of the franchise since I'm already in Charlotte full time as a student. If you have any questions related to the Checkers, never be afraid to ask.

Brian LeBlanc

Managing Editor
Twitter: @bdleblanc

I find it hard to believe, but I’m entering my tenth season covering the Hurricanes. I originally started covering the team in 2007 for Curtis Media Group’s sports department, and when that went by the wayside in 2011 I joined Canes Country. Outside of a year off when my daughter was born, I have been here ever since, taking over as managing editor last September. Most of my responsibilities here are behind the scenes; among other things, I’m the site liaison to SB Nation management, and am responsible for managing the staff, editing and scheduling articles, and working with our writers to make sure every angle of the Hurricanes is covered. Of course, I also chime in wherever I’m needed to help with articles and columns.

I’ve recently stepped away from my day job as a radio traffic reporter for a new role: stay-at-home dad with my almost four-year-old daughter. (It’s not easy keeping up with a preschooler, trust me.) I am also the play-by-play commentator for Knightdale High School’s football, basketball and soccer teams, and I live in Knightdale with my wife and daughter.

I also have the entire Interstate system memorized. Really.

Kyle Morton

Senior Writer
Twitter: @k_morton9

Kyle’s bio will go here eventually, but he is currently at the N.C. State game and as a State alum I will certainly not begrudge him for his priorities. We’ll update this later. -Brian

Cody Hagan

Staff Writer
Twitter: @Caniac88

I am an avid Caniac and have been following the team very closely since 2009. While 2006 sparked my interest in the Hurricanes I did not truly get on board until I attended my first game in 2009. I come from Greenville, NC and am a proud ECU alum (leave me alone this football season...). I joined Canes Country because I always wanted to pursue sports journalism and this is a perfect way for me to do that. Catch me writing previews, post game write ups, About Last Night's, and other miscellaneous stuff throughout the year!

Antoine Lynch

Staff Writer
Twitter: @LynchComm738

I am originally from southeastern North Carolina but relocated to Raleigh, NC a little over 12 years ago after attending Shaw University where I assist in the athletics communications department. This will be my second season (first full season) with Canes Country. I became a Hurricanes fan back in 2000 after playing NHL ’99 on desktop (Yes there were video games on desktop). I fell in love with the game of hockey and the Hurricanes as I always support the home state teams. I joined Canes Country to expand the views of the Hurricanes towards a different crowd that might not know a lot about the Canes and the game of hockey but are maybe interested in knowing more. Looking forward to what l believe to be an awesome season ahead.

Brandon Fischetti

Staff Writer
Twitter: @bmfischetti

I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I'm currently a Marketing & Communications Coordinator for the world's leading language services company. While I am and will forever be a Penguins fan, I am brand new to Raleigh (haven't even been a resident for four months yet!) and look forward to following the Canes much more closely this year. With all the shared and exchanged players and personnel between the Pens and Canes over the years (Recchi, Francis, Staal, Rutherford, Cullen, Dumoulin) I have always had an interest in the team. Luckily, the year I get here is the year I think the Canes makes a big push for a playoff spot. This will be my first year helping out at Canes Country, and I will also continue to contribute over at Pensburgh.

Matt Krombach

Staff Writer
Twitter: @mattkrombach

I am from Apex, and am currently a Senior Electronic Media/Broadcasting Major at Appalachian State University. I'm a Carolina Hurricanes fan because I was introduced to hockey at a very early age and began playing in my garage using saw horses as nets. The Hurricanes were also established early in my life and I was fortunate to have watched them and have been a fan since their inception and basically mine. I joined Canes Country right out of high school as I began my two years at a community college. I knew I wanted to embark on a broadcasting and journalism career so I thought applying as an intern would be a great way to start getting my foot in the door.

From all of us to all of you, enjoy the season and thanks again for your continued support of Canes Country! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more inside connections with the Canes Country crew!