Note: This is a feature that will run periodically at BHDL, based mostly on our own experiences, and partly on the upcoming games scheduled for the Blackhawks. Our hope is that eventually we will have a post for all 29 NHL arenas that the Blackhawks visit. We might even get a UC write-up from a visitor's perspective. If you've seen a Hawks game in another team's barn and want to contribute, send an email to
Carolina is a pretty random place to decide to visit if you're a Blackhawk fan, but that's what I found myself planning a year ago when a good friend from college told me she was moving there to get her masters at Duke.
That trip ended up looking quite different from other road trips I've taken, but hey, since the All-Stars are this weekend I thought now would be as good a time as any to put up a guide to visiting Raleigh, home of the Carolina Hurricanes.
It's a little hard to find hi-res swanky images of the RBC Center on Google. I'm not sure why.
- Flights - It’s a little farther out to NC than most other places, so flights on Southwest, bought months ahead of time, would be somewhere in the ~$120 range. Plan and purchase ahead of time.
- From the Airport - I didn’t see much of Raleigh (My friend lived in Durham) but from what I can gather, renting a car is probably your best bet in this city. The alternative is to cab it, but that could end up being more expensive in the long run.
- Transportation - Rent a car for this one. I saw buses but not very many of them, and most people drove into the arena.
- Arena Accessibility - We ended up driving over and didn’t get in until it was dark, so I didn’t really see much heading there. It looked pretty isolated. There are cabs you can take to and from the game but if you’d rather not fight for a way to get home, you’re better off taking your own vehicle.
- Tickets - Reasonably priced. Uh. That’s all I remember.
- Arena - It’s a non-descript building. Looks newer than others, which isn’t surprising either. There are some seats that mess with sight lines because of the way they’re set up, but otherwise it’s decent. (Pro tip: When visiting a new arena for the first time, try to avoid the first row/aisle seats in the nosebleeds, especially when it’s the first row of what would be the 2nd tier of seating, or the balcony if arenas were theatres.)
- In-Game Entertainment - They take the hurricane moniker seriously over there. The players come out to a hurricane warning and everything. I remember they shout “JUSSI!” (during the first line-- get it? Jussi and “you see”? Haha) and “RED!” during the national anthem.
- Heckler-per-Visiting-Fan Ratio - Low. Very low. But then again, I did come in the middle of a “snowstorm”, which in Chicago-speak is “1 to 2 inches”, so basically the city was shut down and the only people silly enough to brave icy roads and unplowed streets happened to be, you guessed it, Chicagoans and other Northern transplants eager to watch a hockey game. The weather was so bad their regular anthem singer couldn’t make it, and they had to get an arena staffer to sing for them.
City Recommendations (ie, Making the Most of the Trip)
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get around as much as I’d have liked, and to be honest even with a ride (my friend drove/cabbed us around) it was pretty hard for me to explore the city when it was pretty much shut down. I did get a semi-tour of Duke, which would have been awesome if I was still looking at colleges. I don’t think I’d be opposed to visiting Raleigh again, though next time, I’ll be sure to do so at the beginning of the season or towards its end-- never in the heart of winter. Just in case.