Hockey isn’t for everyone. But you know what everyone likes? Group celebrations.
The National Football League lightened up on celebrations two years ago, leading to group celebrations and the “team photo” for defenses after turnovers.
In the National Hockey League, the Carolina Hurricanes have become the game’s first team to have postgame home victory celebrations. They’ve adopted the Skol clap used by Iceland’s soccer team and the Minnesota Vikings, but after leading the PNC Arena crowd in the chant, they follow it up with a new, choreographed celebration.
More recently, we’ve seen “Duck, Duck, Goose” played at center ice, a Jose Bautista bat flip and the limbo.
Nobody really knew what the young Hurricanes were going to do this season. Having a celebration after each home win helps them stand out from the other 30 teams. The New York Rangers do a stick raise salute to the Madison Square Garden crowd after a win. The Hurricanes took that concept and made it fun.
Also, it keeps fans in the stands if they’re winning. A lot of fans like to break for the exits during the final media timeout to beat traffic.
The Hurricanes continue to come up with new celebrations and they’re also in contention for a playoff spot.
So they’re having fun and playing good hockey. Nobody should have a problem with that, right?
Well, Don Cherry does.
The former player, coach and now talking head on CBC called them “jerks”.
Cherry, much like Mike Milbury, is an old school hockey guys that stunts the game’s growth, especially for teams in markets like Carolina.
Cherry is hockey royalty in Canada. Unlike the Hurricanes, Canadian teams in the NHL don’t have to worry about drawing crowds and building a rapport with fans.
Hockey players get slapped with a stigma that they are just emotionless robots who work out, play hockey and repeat all through their careers. Alexander Ovechkin doing a keg stand with the Stanley Cup this past summer helped show that hockey players can have some fun. God forbid the Hurricanes enjoy a win.
How did the team respond to old man Cherry? They put it on a t-shirt.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported late Monday night that they’re very popular, and not just in North Carolina.
How hot are those “Bunch of Jerks” shirts that the Carolina Hurricanes created to goof on Don Cherry? A little more than 24 hours after they went on sale online, the Hurricanes sold 1,680 shirts. Those sales included 41 states and three countries: the U.S., the Netherlands and, of course, Canada. They go on sale in the Hurricanes team store on Tuesday. The team commissioned the shirts in protest of Cherry’s “Hockey Night in Canada” criticism of Carolina’s home ice victory celebrations. He called the players “a bunch of jerks” for their choreographed routines that have ranged from full speed jumps into the glass to human bowling pins being knocked down by a helmet.- Greg Wyshynski
Those t-shirts are a lot better than the suits Cherry throws on every Saturday night.
As long as the jerks don’t keep the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs, they can do a conga line around the ice after a home win and I’ll share it on all social media platforms.