Local News

Canes' Winning Ways Translate To Big Bucks

Posted December 26, 2005 5:59 a.m. EST

— With last year's strike, sales of Carolina Hurricane jerseys and other team souvenirs were way down. Now that they are not only playing, but also playing well, there's a big boost in sales.

On the day for big gift returns, the RBC Center saw a steady stream of people. The Hurricanes team store was the only part of the building open on Monday, but many people showed up to switch out colors and sizes of apparel. During the whirlwind holiday shopping season, the store has been swamped.

"It's been pretty crazy," said salesman Chad Chriscoe. "It's been a madhouse."

Chriscoe says many people turned to "The Eye" inside the RBC Center for Christmas gifts this year.

"We have three kids and they all have their own jerseys," said shopper Tanya Floyd.

That's the biggest seller at "The Eye," along with anything with Eric Staal's name on it. JD Barker came in to switch the size on his Christmas jersey.

"We're just excited about the new season," said Barker. "The lockout made us real hungry for it."

That's had a major impact on this year's sales. Vendors say the lockout took a toll on every part of hockey.

"Sales ... they were pretty bad," said Chriscoe.

It was so bad "The Eye" actually closed its Crabtree Valley Mall store last year. This year they're struggling to keep everything in stock.

Part of it has to do with how the Canes are playing right now. It seems the more the Canes win, the more fans fill the seats and the stores.

"The winning streak definitely helps out," said Chriscoe.

"Definitely, that's probably why I'm here, too -- just to get more stuff to support it," said Floyd.

If the pace continues, Canes gear could net record profits this year.