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Saturday, June 15
Hurricanes come home to adoring fans

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes celebrated their best season ever Saturday night, two days after losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals.

A crowd estimated at 6,000 cheered as each player was introduced and jogged onto an outdoor stage in front of the downtown convention center.

"It looks pretty unbelievable. The fan support this year has been pretty unbelievable,'' Bates Battaglia said.

Near the stage, Missy Sink of Clayton held up a sign asking to marry the 26-year-old player.

"I'm not kidding,'' the 25-year-old woman said.

After winning only one NHL playoff series dating to their days as the Hartford Whalers, the Hurricanes reached the finals by beating New Jersey, Montreal and Toronto.

"The next time we all get together like this, we've got to make sure we bring Stanley with us,'' captain Ron Francis said. home