The National Hockey League‘s Carolina Hurricanes today announced the team’s 2017 exhibition schedule. Carolina will play seven exhibition games prior to opening the 2017-18 regular season, including two games at PNC Arena. Ticket onsale information will be announced in the near future.
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The Hurricanes will open their 2017 preseason schedule at Buffalo on Sept. 18. The following night, Carolina will square off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa before returning to Raleigh to host the Lightning at PNC Arena on Sept. 20. After a road game at Washington on Sept. 23, the Hurricanes travel to Edmonton to open a two-game set against the Oilers. The first game will be at the Oilers’ home arena, Rogers Place, on Sept. 25, while the second will be a neutral site game between the clubs at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Sask. Carolina wraps up its exhibition schedule with a home game against the Capitals on Sept. 29.
Andreychuk’s Hockey Hall of Fame credentials are lengthy and significant. He’s the National Hockey League all-time leader for career power-play goals with 274 during his 23 seasons. He’s the league’s 14th-leading goal scorer with 640 tallies.
On the NHL’s scoring list, Andreychuk is tied with Denis Savard for 29th place (1,338 points). And his 1,639 games played are seventh-most in league history.
“It didn’t matter to me whether (the wait to enter the Hall) was one year or 10 years, I don’t think it really matters,” Andreychuk said. “The numbers and what I had done, there’s not much you can do but sit and wait. You think about this day that’s going to happen, you think you’re prepared for it and you’re really not…I’m extremely happy for everybody that’s around me, my inner circle that have been with me through thick and thin. It’s going to be a great weekend with all the fellow inductees.”
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Andreychuk is no stranger to waiting in hockey. It was 22 seasons before he finally got the lift the Stanley Cup as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, that signature moment of Andreychuk lifting the Cup over his hiad immortalized by a bronze statue that greets Bolts fans entering Ford Thunder Alley on their way to AMALIE Arena.
Now, fans will pass the statues of two Hockey Hall of Famers before Lightning games: Andreychuk and Lightning founder Phil Esposito.
“When you wait that long, you understand the value and how hard it is to achieve,” Andreychuk said. “I guess that’s kind of the same thing here. I look back on my career and you think about, nobody starts their career thinking they’re going to be a Hall of Famer. You just want to stay in the league. You just want to help your team win. After it’s all done and you look at your numbers and you think that maybe there’s a chance and people start to talk about it, but at the same time, it’s really out of your hands. I’m thankful this day came along for me, for my family.”
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A former first round pick (16th overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 1982 NHL Draft, Andreychuk played the majority of his career in Buffalo with stops in Toronto, New Jersey, Boston and Colorado before finishing his career with Tampa Bay. Andreychuk played four seasons for the Lightning, was captain for the final three of those, and accumulated 68 goals and 61 assists in 278 regular season games for the Bolts.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon inside AMALIE Arena’s Firestick Grill, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan and Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, formally addressed the prestegious event, which will be held Jan. 26 through 28 in Tampa.
It will be the second time in franchise history the Lightning has hosted the All-Star Game, and first since 1999 when AMALIE Arena was known as the Ice Palace.
Here is a look at Thursday’s event through the lens of Lightning photographer Scott Audette.