2023 NHL Stadium Series Overview


Brett Lampley

The 2023 NHL Stadium Series took its first trip to North Carolina, giving the Carolina Hurricanes an opportunity to make their debut in NHL outdoor games. The “Canes” would be up against a familiar rival, the Washington Capitals, creating an intense Metripolitan division match. While the NHL did not publicly state their expectations of popularity and success of the game, it’s safe to say they were met and risen above. 

Carter-Finley stadium of the NC State Wolfpack athletics was the decided venue to support the outdoor rink, and it had completely sold out with a reported attendance of 56,961 people. Now, the NC Capital city needed to be ready for the incoming event…


Now, enters my personal experience. While this contrasts from others’ perspectives, I believe that there was practically no way it could’ve gone better. However, that greatly depended on planning and some genuine luck throughout the event. In terms of traffic and parking, a great concern for the massive event, it was actually simple. The downside of this simplicity was a very early arrival time in Raleigh, at around 2-3 o’clock. Also, parking locations would greatly impact things as lots closer to PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium would take longer to access and longer to exit. A greatly utilized parking area was at Cardinal Gibbons High School, which is .6 miles away from the stadium, which was a lot easier to enter and exit. The small walk was definitely worth it, and it even served as an exciting entrance to the venue. 


As I entered the area outside the stadium, many had lined up to watch the entrance of the players, and many were also enjoying the pregame venues. These were fun, and had many activities to entertain fans before puck drop, they even had a photobooth with the Stanley Cup! The atmosphere was lively, and many Carolina fans had pop-up tent “Cities” and hosted many tailgaters and barbecue-ers. Even as the gates to the stadium opened, people were outside enjoying their cookouts, food, and games all over the parking lots. The main gate entrance was very crowded and difficult to get through, but the side entrances to the stadium were far easier to pass through. After a quick line swap, I was in Carter-Finley in no time. Now all that was left was the game itself…


No hyped-up game can be complete without an electrifying entrance, and this game introduction definitely completed the task. Mixing the NC State Wolfpack Band with a loud crowd of almost 57,000, the atmosphere was electric, especially as the Hurricanes took the stage. Pregame coverage and on-site announcers were passionate and added interest to the incoming match, all the way to puck drop.


The game itself went above and beyond to excite the crowd. The Hurricanes would go to win 4-1, with 1 goal in the first period, and 3 in the second. The crowd would erupt into chaos after each goal, and the overall control of the game by Carolina helped to hype the atmospher further. Keep in mind, the Washington Capitals are well-known rivals of the Hurricanes, and the sight of an increasing Carolina lead on the game made most fans overjoyed. 


Intermission shows were also present to keep fans entertained between periods, which hosted country artist Jake Owen, and Lovelytheband. The performances here were also good, but the familiarity with a fan and the performers made the difference between enjoying it or not. 

After three periods of intense hockey, the game had concluded with the Hurricanes win. The crowd would celebrate, and perform an iconic “Storm surge” to congratulate the hometown victors of the 2023 Stadium Series.