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Canes’ popular ‘Storm Surge’ celebrations to end

The Storm Surge is coming to an end.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams tweeted Thursday that the postgame celebrations after victories at PNC Arena, which he called “an absolute treat,” had served their purpose of providing something different to entertain the home fans this season while generating more attention for the team throughout the NHL.

“Regardless of the outcome tonight, this will be our last storm surge of the season,” Williams tweeted before the Canes’ home game Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

Williams noted the celebrations -- one with former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield coming on the ice to “knock out” Jordan Martinook -- were successful in “muddying up the waters a little bit.”

“We’ve created a buzz again in Carolina but we know ultimately we’ve done that by winning games and playing for each other. Huge games are coming up for us. See you out there,” Williams tweeted.

Some old-school NHL types such as Brian Burke and Don Cherry have found fault with the celebrations, with Cherry now famously referring to the Canes as a “bunch of jerks” during his “Coach’s Corner’ segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

The Canes, at the behest of owner Tom Dundon, began the postgame celebrations after the first home victory, an 8-5 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 7. At the urging of Williams, the players simply lined up, skated to the south end of the arena and hopped into the glass, but the cellys soon became more theatrical.

After one victory, forward Warren Foegele hit a “walkoff homer” and was mobbed by his teammates at “home plate” and sprayed with water. That’s the one that apparently set off Cherry.

More recently, in keeping with the NCAA basketball tournament and “March Madness,” a basketball goal was placed on the ice and Trevor van Riemsdyk skated in for a dunk.

The celebrations have caused fans to remain in their seats after home wins, many taking videos. They’ve received favorable feedback from most NHL commentators.

Williams spoke at some length with the media Thursday after the Canes morning skate at PNC Arena but did not mention the “Surge” would be ending. The Canes (42-27-7), holding a wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, were beaten 4-1 by the Caps on Tuesday and completed a home-and-home set of Metropolitan Division games with Washington on Thursday.

The Canes have two remaining home games after the Caps game -- against Philadelphia on Saturday and then the regular-season home finale April 4 against New Jersey.

In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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