CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Marquise Williams excitedly remembers the moment:
"It was rockin' in there and I still have the video saved! Me and my wife went, and she's rockin' like she's loving it!"
That was last year in the first round of the NHL Playoffs. All it took was that one trip to PNC Arena and Williams, UNC's former star quarterback, was hooked on hockey.
"I love the passion those guys play with, and then like yesterday, you know, I'm more stressed than the guys! You know, I'm a fan so, it's more stress, but I love it, man," Williams said. "The energy they bring, the grit, they never quit, man."
The Canes are his team but Williams is so enamored with the sport now that he watches all the other games too. For a guy raised on football and basketball, it's been a whole new awakening.
"I put it up there with football and basketball. I think, you know, honestly, it's a great sport," he said.
Williams' embrace of the Canes eventually got him invited to sound the storm siren. PNC is, of course, NC State's home basketball court, too, so they let him hear it.
"They put me out there and they started booing me. I'm like, come on, I'm here for the Canes! I graduated from Carolina 2015, I don't play no more and they're just BOOOOOOOO!" he recalled.
But he hung in there, and he got it done.
"That siren was one of the best days of my life. I mean, I tried to break it because I saw how Luke Kuechly did it." Williams laughed. "So, I wanted to break, I wanted to crank it, and I still have the video."
He's admittedly still getting to know the nuances and rules of the game but Williams is smitten to the point that he's even fervently selling his former teammates on the sport's appeal.
"A lot of my guys are like 'man, are you serious it's really that entertaining?' I'm like, it is very entertaining, and you would love it, man," Williams said.
As for now, Williams is locked in for what he hopes is a long Canes playoff run.
"This might be our year, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and I'm knocking on wood so I don't jinx anything," he said.
Hurricanes color analyst Tripp Tracy was asked for his take on Williams' newfound fandom. He responded as only he can:
"An instantaneous, tremendous, Goliath, massive Caniac. Go, Marquise, go, Canes."
Former UNC football star Marquise Williams is now a Canes superfan
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