Guy Behind the Guy: All-Star Market

By Mike Sundheim

Needless to say, All-Star Weekend in the Triangle went beyond expectations for many of those who came to our area for the National Hockey League’s mid-season celebration. The commentary continues to pour in, but I wanted to collect a quick sampling of what’s being said about the area and our fans after an amazingly successful All-Star Weekend in North Carolina.

Television Commentary

Pierre McGuire, TSN: “It was a great collaborative effort between a lot of different people. Let’s start with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey family… Just spectacular people. And then we have to go to the people of Raleigh, North Carolina. This thing happened because of the spirit… The cooperation of the police, the civic authorities, the great convention center they have. I’ve been going to All-Star Games since 1990, this was the best All-Star Weekend I’ve ever attended. And a big reason why, not just the players on both teams, not just because of the NHL and their great ideas, because of the people of North Carolina, the city of Raleigh, and the great corporate communication they had all over. It was fantastic.” Video:

Ed Olczyk, Versus: “The Carolina Hurricanes and their great fans and this region should be very proud. A newer franchise, their first All-Star Game, but they ran it first-class just like an original six franchise. It was a great, great success and a great weekend, so congratulations to everybody involved. Talking to the players and hearing them talking about the experience here in Carolina, it’s been a wonderful weekend.”

Bill Patrick, Versus: “The City of Raleigh certainly knows how to put on a party.”

Feature Articles

Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Raleigh will go down as biggest star of NHL All-Star Weekend

Damien Cox, Toronto Star: Carolina breathes new life into All-Star Game

Craig Custance, The Sporting News: The Sun Belt shines bright on All-Star Weekend

Adrian Dater, and Denver Post: “Raleigh is officially now a real hockey town in my book” and “Carolina on My Mind, and I’m Lovin’ It"

Aaron Murphy, ESPN: “Any preconceived ideas we may have had about Raleigh not being a hockey town are well and truly gone!”

E.J. Hradek, ESPN: Notes from All-Star Weekend: "We often hear about and talk about "nontraditional" hockey markets. That phrase has been used many, many times about Raleigh. Well, here's a news flash: Raleigh is becoming a pretty good hockey city. Carolina did a terrific job hosting the All-Star Weekend. Fans were lined-up around the block to get into the Fan Fest at the city's new convention center. And, as usual, they were out early tailgating before the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. Congratulations, Raleigh. You were a great host.”

Luke DeCock, News & Observer: Raleigh fields a winner

Wayne Scanlon, Ottawa Citizen: Pressure’s on Ottawa to keep the Raleigh going

Matt Ehlers, News & Observer: Raleigh reaps rave reviews from All-Star events

Travis Hughes, SB Nation: With Successful All-Star Weekend, Raleigh Proves to NHL Hockey Can Work in the South

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun, (video): All-Star Game Wrap: Burnside: “I thought Raleigh put on a terrific show this weekend. I was frankly shocked at just what a buzz there was around the community.”

LeBrun: “Incredible enthusiasm. I thought this was the best All-Star Game not staged in Canada in quite a long time… This had a better buzz than Atlanta and Dallas for sure.”


Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes: “I’m very proud of our fans and how they showed support for this event… We felt the energy, the buildup coming into this weekend. The fans have been excited, and then they delivered. It was awesome.”

Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes: “It was good for fans from out of town to see what hockey is like in the south, and I think they’ll go back home with a different perspective of Raleigh. We're blessed that we get to play here every day.”

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins: “Carolina's treating us really well. The fans are awesome... I'm having fun.”

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: “This is one of the most under-appreciated hockey markets in the league.”

Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche: “What a great weekend in Raleigh. Great job by the NHL and the Hurricanes organization. Thank you!”

Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks: “(Canes fans) are really nice people and I had a blast this weekend”

Mike Green, Washington Capitols: "Thanks Carolina for the weekend. It was an amazing experience."

Media Tweets

Michelle Beadle, ESPN: @ESPN_Michelle Raleigh was a blast! Headed to Fort Worth for Super Bowl week. Get the steaks ready..rare, please. (And go Team Staal)

Ryan Rishaug, TSN: @TSNRyanRishaug Heading home from All Star in Raleigh. By far the best one I've covered. Raleigh was on fire, and the people seemed to really embrace it

Kevin Weekes, NHL Network: @KevinWeekes BIG success this All Star was ! On the hockey fans in NC I'll quote Biggie " If you don't know, now you know" - take a bow NC ,great job!

Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times: @helenenothelen Thanks, Raleigh and the Carolina Hurricanes. Great hospitality for the All-Star Game. Well done!

Darren Dreger, TSN: @DarrenDreger Raleigh did a great job this wknd. Hospitality has been terrific and the Hurricanes should be commended for hosting a first class event.

Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun: @SunGarrioch People of Raleigh can take a bow. Great all star weekend, embraced the event and nice people. Ottawa has its work cut out for them.

Matthew Barnaby, ESPN: @MattBarnabyESPN Thank you to raleigh for all your hospitality over the last s days. Great people- great fans!!

Frank Seravalli, Philadelphia Daily News: @DNFlyers Thank you, Raleigh, for an unbelievable weekend. I think this weekend changed the opinion of many about hockey in the South. Well done!

Shawn Lavigne, XM: @htmbigcountry Congrats to #Raleigh for a great #nhlallstar weekend...It was an amazing experience

Dan Rosen, @drosennhl Gotta give all kinds of credit to Raleigh and the fans here. The city has been rocking for 3 days and it's a blast outside RBC right now.

Joe Haggerty, Comcast New England: @HackswithHaggs Want to say kudos to the city of Raleigh for a job well done at the #NHLAllstar game. Truly felt southern hospitality and warmth entire time

Michael Kim, ESPN America: @MKimESPNAmerica Kudos to the city of Raleigh, NC, the Hurricanes & The Caniacs for a great AllStar wkend.

Pat Malacaro, WGR Buffalo: @PatMalacaroWGR City of Raleigh deserves an A+ for hospitality so far, Fan Fest looks awesome, streets in downtown are all NHL #AllStarGame everywhere

Sam Carchadi, Philadelphia Inquirer: @BroadStBull Not real big on the #NHL ice capades. Um, I mean, NHL All-Star Game. But Raleigh was a great host city.

Mark Fischel, NHL: @NHLFischel Canes fans and the city have been amazingly impressive, and the atmosphere feels like a life-long tradition.

Eklund, Hockey Buzz: @Eklund This is BY FAR the loudest and most “into it” crowd I have EVER heard at a skills competition. It's a party in here! Canes fans rock.

Erik Erlendsson, Tampa Tribune: @erlendssontrib “On plane leaving #Raleigh after host city put on a great show.”

David Pagnotta, The Fourth Period: @TheFourthPeriod: Absolutely outstanding time in Raleigh for the NHL All-Star Game. The weekend was a big success.

Chris Johnston, Canadian Press: @reporterchris: Just made it back to Toronto after a lengthy delay in Raleigh. Had a great all-star weekend.

And one more:

Mike Sundheim, Carolina Hurricanes: @MikeSundheim Not sure I could be any prouder of my city or our fans right now. What a weekend.