RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Carolina Hurricanes fans are reclaiming the insult that the team is a “bunch of jerks” by making it a rallying cry for the team and for Raleigh.
Over the weekend, Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry called the Hurricanes a “bunch of jerks” for their post-game victory celebration known as the “storm surge.”
“I’m proud to be one of the jerks,” said fan Allen Lawlis. He was at PNC Arena Tuesday night to see the ‘Canes play the New York Rangers.
In an effort to embrace the jab, the team put the phrase on t-shirts. Fans lined up before the game to buy them, including longtime ‘Canes fan Joshua Volkan.
“It’s kind of like a rally cry. It’s been several years since we’ve had something to rally behind. The team is producing like the team they can be. It’s cool to have something to bind us all together,” Volkan said.
‘Canes fans weren’t the only one scoping up the “jerks” tee-shirts, several Rangers fans waited in line for them as well.
“I don’t think Don Cherry had any reason to come out and ruin everyone’s fun. These guys are going out after a win and celebrating, having a good time,” said Rangers fan Mike Lewis.
During a pre-game press conference, team owner Tom Dundon said he enjoyed Cherry’s commentary but doesn’t agree with him. Dundon said the “storm surge” is something the team came up with, and the fans enjoy.
“It never crossed my mind really that it was disrespectful in anyway. Now that I thought it through, I just disagree with him. I don’t think it has anything to do with anyone else but us,” Dundon said.
Dundon also said he doesn’t want an apology from Cherry, and thinks he should thank the commentator for talking about the Hurricanes.
At least one local Raleigh business is also making the most of the moniker.
House of Swank in downtown Raleigh printed up their own “bunch of jerks” shirts Tuesday. The store’s co-owner John Pugh said he received several messages after Cherry’s comments from people asking to turn it into merchandise.
Pugh happily obliged, calling Cherry’s commentary on the team “ridiculous.”
“There’s so much pride in Raleigh. You have folks from here, folks from out of town, folks from out of the county, and they all come to Raleigh for a reason, and they take Raleigh and they make it their own,” he said. “A little bit of Raleigh is in their hearts, and if somebody tried to poke at them, they get offended and they get mad. And they just want go like, ‘no, Raleigh is awesome!.”