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Meet Canes Country’s newest writer

Johnathan Kirkland joins the staff as a decades-long Hurricanes fan.

Canes Country’s newest writer Johnathan Kirkland

I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself as the newest writer to Canes Country. I am excited to be on board and look forward to covering a team that I have followed for decades.

I am 35 years old and recently moved to Raleigh from southern Virginia. I am a season ticket holder for the Hurricanes and have followed the team since 2002.

My parents got tickets for us to go to Game 1 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals against Toronto. From that moment on I was hooked. Growing up in such a rural area I was not very well versed in hockey or even what was going on on the ice when I first started watching hockey. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the Hurricanes.

It was about an hour and a half drive for me to get to PNC Arena, so I watched most of the games on television for the first few years. Living so close to the North Carolina border meant that I got all of the Raleigh channels and the Hurricanes were my hometown network.

I was at Game 2 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals against Buffalo and thanks to some luck I was in the building when Rod Brind’Amour raised Lord Stanley’s Cup after defeating Edmonton in the Stanley Cup finals that year.

I have been with the team through all of the ups and downs throughout the years and I was one of the many fans that had tears in his eyes that night the Canes clinched a spot in the postseason for the first time in 10 years.

Those 10 years between playoff berths really showed my true fandom, mainly to myself. My support never wavered even though I would say we had a love hate relationship. One year I bought a half season ticket package and drove three hours round trip for 28 games to watch them be the second-worst team in the league that season.

I have been through the bad trades, the questionable decisions on the ice and more. I feel that it makes us better to know where we have been to appreciate where we are now.

The Hurricanes have a special place in my heart and always will, and that makes it even more special for me to be able to write for Canes Country.

A little bit about my background, I have been a writer for a little over three years now. I spent a year at a small three times a week newspaper covering high school sports and racing. Most of my time there was spent in the middle of the pandemic so I was able to do some really great features and profiles on athletes in the area and I feel like that has helped my writing immensely.

I have also written for Reddit College Football and on other college football blogs. I am currently working as a scout for a basketball scouting service that hosts events for high school players in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. I go to the events and write about the standouts and also cover some local high school games for them as well.

Sports have always been my passion. When I was a kid I didn’t watch cartoons or play with Legos, I watched and played sports. I would create my own bracket on poster board for March Madness and hang it in my room to fill out as the games progressed. I would miss school to watch the ACC and NCAA tournaments. It didn’t matter what sport it was; I loved it.

My introduction to hockey was via Gary Throne on ESPN in the mid 1990’s. One of my most vivid memories was watching the Colorado Avalanche and Ray Borque win the Stanley Cup in 2001.

So that is a little bit about me, my love of the Hurricanes and my writing background. I look forward to producing content for Canes Country and for all of you to read.