Canes not afraid to bring back former stars
Sep 2, 2009
As soon as the Hurricanes announced Aaron Ward was making a Raleigh return, Erik Cole sent his newly-required teammate a message: “We’re getting the band back together,” it read.
Theirs is certainly a familiar song for Hurricanes fans. Cole and Ward are part of a growing trend at the RBC Center – former players returning to Raleigh
“You know what you're getting when you bring in a guy who has been here before,“ Cole said. “In that regard it, always seems to work out better for our club.”
Cole, Ward and Matt Cullen were all part of the Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2006. And all left the Canes either through trade or as free agents, only to return through trade later.
For many teams, a player departing can mean a burned bridge -- but not the Hurricanes.
“I really can’t think of any player that I’ve traded or has left here that I don't care for,” said Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the Hurricanes. “I care for them personally and I care for them as players. And so, when the right situation comes up we bring them back.”
The trend extends to coaches as well. The Canes brought Paul Maurice back as head coach five years after firing him.
So, Maurice speaks from experience when he talks of why former players return to the Canes.
“For a lot of people who come in as newcomers, they’re really surprised what a great place it is to live, but also what a really good operation that they run here,” Maurice said. “So, when a player leaves after his first stint and he gets a second look at the NHL somewhere else, he realizes, ‘Hey this is a good place to come back.’”
They say you can’t go home again, but clearly that does not apply to Carolina Hurricanes.