Canes fans scoop up Conference Finals tickets, await dates

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Hurricanes finally know who they'll be facing off against in the Eastern Conference Finals. What they don't know is when most of those games will be taking places.

The NHL announced Game 1 will take place Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Boston, but it held off on announcing all other dates and times until the conclusion of the Western Conference second-round. Game 7 in that series between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks is Wednesday night, meaning the schedule likely will not be announced until Thursday morning.

Despite the delay, a Hurricanes team spokesperson confirmed to ABC11 that tickets went on sale Tuesday, with fans buying online and in-person at PNC Arena.

"We're just so happy for the players, we're just so happy for the team. And we want to try and translate that - and the best way to do that is to scream at the top of your lungs," said Neil Bleau, a Hurricanes fan who has attended four of the team's five home playoff games this season.

Carolina is a perfect 5-0 at home in the playoffs, thanks in part to the energized atmosphere created by the Caniacs.

"My wife has to wear earplugs. I don't -- I ruined my hearing in the Army many years ago. It is raucous, it's energized, it's constant," said Bleau.

According to Ticketmaster, the cheapest ticket for Game 3, the Hurricanes first home game, is about $185 including fees. That's still less than the cheapest ticket in Boston for Game 1, which is going for about $228 thru Ticketmaster including fees.

While Raleigh may not be viewed as traditional a hockey town as Boston, that's just fine to Canes fans enjoying the ride and newfound national attention.

"We're tailgating, we're getting here at one, two o'clock. It's not us trying to deliberately do something - this is just how we watch sports. Especially when we're winning, we get all the way behind it," said Chris Andrews, who has attended all five home playoff games.

Fans also stopped by The Eye, the team store inside PNC Arena throughout the day Tuesday, with many hoping to scoop up the popular "Bunch of Jerks" T-shirt. It was inspired by hockey broadcaster Don Cherry, who mocked the team's popular Storm Surge post-game celebrations.

During a recent rant, Cherry doubled-down on his criticism, labeling the fan base as a "front-running fans." Carolina didn't skip a beat, immediately posting a mock-up of a new T-shirt, with the "Bunch of Front Running Jerks" name proudly emblazoned.

The team store has sold out of the "Bunch of Jerks" T-shirts but hopes to have more in by Wednesday afternoon. They are still waiting to learn when they will receive the "Bunch of Front Running Jerks" merchandise
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