All photos by Katelyn Alumbaugh / Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com
The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes welcomed a very special guest for their 2023-24 Home Opener on Sept. 9, as the Elite Jr. Canes raised their 2023 National Championship banner ahead of puck drop.
The Ceremonial Puck Drop was taken by Rod Brind’Amour, Head Coach of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Brind’Amour is a long-beloved figure in North Carolina, having played 10 years with the Canes and registered 766 combined regular season and playoff games and his 473 regular season points are second in team history.
Brind’Amour was Captain of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Hurricanes team, as well. He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s Best Defensive Forward in back to back seasons in 2006 and 2007 while with Carolina.
“Having Rod Brind’Amour drop the puck at our season opener was not only a memorable experience for all attendees but also an inspirational one for our athletes. Lifelong athletes, such as Rod, are living examples of the passion, discipline, and perseverance every young athlete needs to continue their journey,” said Jr. Hurricanes Elite Head Coach Brad Gaylord, who led the Jr. Canes to the 2023 Elite title. “Knowing that every young athlete needs a strong foundation of educators, coaches, families, and role models; having Rod’s support in our program is immeasurable and appreciated by the entire Jr. Canes family.”
Brind’Amour began his post-playing career in 2010 immediately after his retirement from the NHL as the Canes’ Director of Player Development, became an assistant coach the next year, and became Head Coach in 2018-19. His jersey number 17 was retired by the Hurricanes on Feb. 18, 2011.
Rod’s son Skyler Brind’Amour played in the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes’ youth program, and also is a USPHL alum having played for the South Kent Selects Academy team in the USPHL 18U Division in 2016-17.
This past spring, Skyler Brind’Amour helped Quinnipiac University win the NCAA National Championship as a senior and he is currently slated to join the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, for the 2023-24 season. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in terms of awards, as Skyler was named the ECAC’s Best Defensive Forward and earned the same honor for all of New England by the New England Hockey Writers Association.