Coach’s Corner: Hurricanes crowds are ‘front-running fans’

Don Cherry says the Hurricanes are packing the building because the team is winning, not because they were entertaining the crowd with the Storm Surge celebrations.

The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the best NHL stories all season, and it’s hard not to embrace the club now as they take the Stanley Cup Playoffs by storm.

Don Cherry begs to differ.

Cherry lit the internet on fire and inadvertently sparked one of the greatest team marketing campaigns ever in February when he called the Hurricanes “a bunch of jerks” for their fun choreographed post-home game celebrations.

Those winning rituals — from bowling and fishing skits to a game of duck, duck, goose and a knockout courtesy of Evander Holyfield — stopped when the post-season started, but the fanbase has continued to grow through Rounds 1 and 2.

“I’m told the owner said, ‘entertain the crowd,’ and they still draw 13,000 to 14,000 people,” Cherry said of the regular season attendance on Saturday’s Coach’s Corner.

“These people that are there now, now that they’re winning, front-running fans as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “That’s what they are: front-running fans, as far as I’m concerned.”

Cherry said he won’t be embracing the team, even as they head to the Eastern Conference Final, and doubled down on his celebration stance.

“I don’t understand this. I said in this in Canada and it goes down in there. And you know, it’s a funny thing, they know that it’s the wrong thing to do, or they’d do it in the playoffs,” he said.

“I said they looked like a bunch of jerks being a fish in the water, a bowling ball. This is professional hockey, and no sport in the world does it except them,” Cherry said. “And it comes down from the top: ‘I want to entertain the fans.’ The fans there now, 17 or 18,000, they’re front-runners — they’re there because they win. Not because they act like fish.”

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