RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If you stepped inside Backyard Bistro in Raleigh Monday evening, you were bound to run into either someone wearing a Carolina Hurricanes or New York Rangers jersey.
“It’s insane! We opened the doors today at 4 p.m. because of the holiday. There was probably a line of 200 people trying to get in,” said Joe Lumbrazo, co-owner of Backyard Bistro.
That is also combined with the fact that Monday was the big series-clinching game between the Canes and the Rangers.
“This is the first time since we’ve been open in 14 years that we have a game seven on a holiday. It’s good! A lot of people are excited. Everybody watching some good hockey,” Lumbrazo said.
The Memorial Day game seven hype was the reason James Zelinski drove to Raleigh from Chicago.
“I wanted to experience this. My son couldn’t get the time off from work, so I was like ‘I’m out.’ Got in my car and drove out here,” he explained.
From Chicago, Illinois, to Greenville, South Carolina, to Charlotte — the fans came from everywhere.
Monday was a chance to continue some tailgating traditions.
“We have a couple of us from Charlotte. Most people here are from Raleigh. We’ve been doing this for [the] past couple of seasons. It has only gotten bigger,” said long-time Canes fan, Stephen Wilson.
At Backyard Bistro, Lumbrazo cheered on the Canes, but was a bigger fan of a busy night.
“New York or North Carolina. Their money is just as green,” he said smiling.