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Dunleavy: Who cares if the Canes have ‘front-running’ fans

May 9, 2019

I got a text from one of my friends in Raleigh on Tuesday that said something to the effect of ‘So the Canes are pretty good. Since we’re all fans now, who wants to watch them in the conference finals somewhere on Thursday night?’

The same friends who want to watch football with me (when I’m off) and UNC / NC State / Duke / Va Tech basketball (yes I said it, I graduated from there, I can watch them).

The Canes are – dare I say – ‘popular’ now. The Canes are back on the map. Who cares if they have front-running fans?

This was Canes owner Tom Dundon’s plan from the get-go, returning the Canes to relevance.

That was Canes first-year head coach and former Stanley Cup champ Rod Brind’Amour’s goal from his first day on the job. (It was his one-year anniversary on Wednesday by the way.) Well that and to get the Canes back to the playoffs.

Look at them: They’re facing off with the Bruins in Game 1 on the Eastern Conference Finals and Brind’Amour only needed a year to get them there!

I remember listening to interviews from last year where vets like Justin Williams and Justin Faulk were constantly at a loss for words at the end of the year. It was hard to watch them not make it.

Why wouldn’t you want to root for them? They’ve flipped the script. They’re the underdogs. The ‘new’ guys.

I was born in DC and was spoiled with pro sports teams, but no matter how bad the Redskins were, we always cheered for them. It was our city and our team.

Now Raleigh’s got something to be excited about besides college sports. This is our only pro team. They deserve PNC to be rocking. They deserve championships. They deserve buzz. They deserve texts setting up hangouts at the Hurricanes bars in downtown Raleigh.

The Canes are relevant again, so who cares if they have front-running fans. The best thing about front-running fans? They can decide to stick around. Then Dundon and Brind’Amour will get everything they’d hoped for: Relevance.