It’s been a week since the Hurricanes were swept by the Boston Bruins in an incredibly one-sided Eastern Conference Final. It’s a disappointing result for a group that was starting to feel like a team of destiny, but there’s really nothing to be ashamed of. By the Numbers is usually focused on how the Hurricanes are doing statistically, but I’m not really prepared to talk about that yet.
Here’s the long and the short of it: The Hurricanes were one of the best teams in the National Hockey League on both the stats sheet and the scoreboard for over the second half of the season and deep into the postseason.
The Canes have been analytical darlings for a long time now, but something that they’ve always been criticized for is their level of fan interest. That’s not surprising given their nine year playoff drought. They ended that this season, and the results were nothing short of exceptional.
As the Canes were making their playoff push, Don Waddell announced that the team had booked $3 million worth of new ticketing business. That’s six times as much as they had after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.
The team President and General Manager also reported that Season Ticket Member retention rates were above 90%, and playoff merchandise sales had doubled the number they accrued through the entirety of the regular season.
The most impressive thing about this season and this playoff run was not the financial improvement of the franchise, but the revival of a long suffering fanbase. The parking lots surround PNC Arena have been silent in the springtime for 10 years. This year, that changed.
In December, the Hurricanes reported a 2 percent increase in attendance in comparison with the 2017-18 season. Since the new year, that number jumped to 12%. During the playoffs, the team average 19,038 per game. There are 18,680 seats in the building.
The year of the pig. The revenge of the jerks. The storm surge. Raleigh has reestablished itself as the hockey town that we always knew it was. Sports franchises are about the fans, and fans crave moments. Moments like clinching a playoff berth on home ice to end a nine year drought. Or taking Game 7 from the defending Stanley Cup Champions in double overtime. This playoff run may not have ended the way we hoped, but it made an incredible impact on this market.
It’s a great time to be a Hurricanes fan.