For the first time in a decade, the entire hockey world is talking about the Hurricanes. Carolina is mired in the NHL's longest active playoff drought and had been the subject of relocation speculation until Dallas–area billionaire Tom Dundon acquired a majority stake of the franchise in early 2018. The Canes have been bad enough to miss the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons but never bad (or lucky) enough to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, although last year they jumped up to No. 2 in the lottery and were roundly rewarded with 18-year-old Russian sharpshooter Andrei Svechnikov. They were darlings of the advanced stats community for many of their lean years, but porous goaltending, sparse home crowds and the absence of a magnetic offensive star sapped some of the magic from what should have been a trendy sleeper pick. They were comically, cripplingly bad at overtime hockey for reasons unknown.
Now, everything is coming up Stormy. With Tuesday night's 6–1 win over the Kings, the Hurricanes put a bow on the best February in franchise history (10–3–0) and moved into playoff position in the Eastern Conference. But the reason everyone is talking about the Hurricanes is not how many games they're winning, but what they do after them. Following each home victory this season, the team has eschewed the traditional center-ice salute to the crowd in favor of the Storm Surge, a coordinated celebration that's half Icelandic "Skol" chant, half NFL end zone party. Anyone who hadn't taken notice earlier was turned on to the craze by Hockey Night in Canada stalwart Don Cherry, who spent a minute of his weekly Coach's Corner intermission rant on the Hurricanes, crescendoing to the line that has endured: "They’re a bunch of jerks as far as I’m concerned."
That has since become a rallying cry (and a T-shirt), and as the postgame revelry on Tuesday night proved, the celebrations will only get more involved and high-tech from here. Our running ranking of every Storm Surge this season is below.
20. The Original (Oct. 5, 8–5 win over Rangers)
The pressure to top the first concept has only mounted with time, but the Hurricanes have largely risen to the occasion. (The PNC Arena crowd needed a few days to figure out the "Skol" clap.)
19. The Sequel (Oct. 9, 5–3 win over Canucks)
The second celebration's leader, forward Michael Ferland, also needed a few days to figure out the "Skol" clap, apparently.
18. Spreading the wealth to the side boards (Nov. 12, 3–2 OT win over Blackhawks)
I'm going to use this space to remind everyone that sitting behind the goal at a hockey game is 10 times better than sitting on one of the long sides of the rink, even though the tickets often cost half as much at either end. This matter is not up for discussion.
17. Split-squad glass jump (Dec. 16, 3–0 win over Coyotes)
The Hurricanes moved away from the glass-jumping for a while after this. It seems pretty clear that they were almost out of ideas.
16. The teammate side-bump (Jan. 13, 6–3 win over Predators)
Significant point deductions for the injury risk involved in leaving your feet to make light contact with a teammate.
15. Spreading the wealth (Nov. 21, 5–2 win over Maple Leafs)
Every section gets a glass jump!
14. Whalers Night (Dec. 23, 5–3 win over Bruins)
Right idea, wrong execution—although TV analyst Tripp Tracy's bewilderment is a treat on its own.
13. Curling (March 16, 4–2 win over Sabres)
The Canes have generally had success imitating other sports, but their pantomime of the ice-bound sport where Team USA found the most success in the PyeongChang Olympics left a little to be desired. Something about the spacing of the players throughout the ice spread the energy too thin.
12. Quidditch (Nov. 19, 2–1 win over Devils)
It took five home wins to get to the season's first truly creative celebration.
11. Bowling for Svechnikov (Dec. 31, 3–1 win over Flyers)
The buildup was a little too long, but the payoff was solid.
10. Bowling for everyone on the team (Jan. 11, 4–3 win over Sabres)
You aren't allowed to pantomime bowling scenes unless someone plays the role of the pin that wobbles before ultimately falling. It's in the rules.
9. Duck Hunt (March 19, 3–2 SO win over Penguins)
When the lights go down, you know the Canes are going high-concept. The shot of Micheal Ferland and Justin Faulk tucked in between the benches is better than the shooting gallery itself.
8. The first fake-out (Oct. 26, 4–3 shootout win over Sharks)
I don't know why I love this one, but I do. It's hard to explain the genuine, joyful surprise that welled up when the Canes switched directions. This was the first hint at the Storm Surge's potential.
7. The topical callback (Feb. 26, 6–1 win over Kings)
This addition to the Storm Surge anthology isn't great, but it was very on brand with the franchise's masterful push to milk this moment for all it's worth.
6. Limbo (Feb. 16, 3–0 win over Stars)
Piping in the song itself from the overhead speakers really made this one.
5. Dominoes (Nov. 23, 4–1 win over Panthers)
Authentic-looking falls, a clean "W" and a nice burn time to give the crowd a long look at what it came for.
4. Thor (Jan. 4, 2–0 win over Blue Jackets)
Authentic falls have never been so important.
3. Pitchers and catchers report (Feb. 15, 3–1 win over Oilers)
What makes the presentation here is the messy, over-enthusiastic home plate celebration.
2. Duck, Duck, Goose (Feb. 1, 5–2 win over Golden Knights)
Announcers Tracy and John Forslund were the only people in the building who didn't immediately realize what was happening here. This is definitely the first celebration to recycle if needed, but may that day never come.
1. One-Punch Knockout (March 1, 5–2 win over the Blues)
With Evander Holyfield in the building, the Canes pulled out another cross-sport celebration, sending Jordan Martinook out to take on the four-time heavyweight champ. The celebrity cameo is an exciting new genre for Storm Surges, but Martinook's commitment to the knockout pushes this one over the top.