The Elbow staff
RALEIGH, NC – The NHL kicked off the annual Carolina Hurricanes Awareness Month to much fanfare on Friday.
A huge crowd of 9,500 people packed into the PNC Arena to hear Ron Francis and Gary Bettman lay out their plans for a busy month full of fan interaction and activities.
"With over half of the league's fans still unaware that a team exists in North Carolina, our hope is that more and more people can be made aware of the team's plight," commissioner Bettman told the hoards of fans. "It's up to each and every one of you to help spread the word."
"I'm happy to announce that one in five people in the Carolinas are now aware of your existence, which is twice as many as this time last year."
Francis added that his goal for the month was very straight forward.
"This is about as big a crowd as I've ever seen in here," he yelled to the delirious crowd. "Let's prove to the rest of the league that we still exist!"
Local TV stations have agreed to play all of the Mighty Ducks movies this month, in the hopes that people can learn about the game.
As it did last year, the league will be selling red, white and black ribbons at every arena around the league during the month. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the Hurricanes Foundation, a not-for-profit set up with the sole purpose of raising awareness of the team.
Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #StillHere on all social media platforms.