Why the Hurricanes wore golf outfits to the Stadium Series

Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

RALEIGH -- When the NHL holds an outdoor hockey game, the players dress to impress. Whether it was old-time baseball uniforms at Fenway Park or beachwear in Minnesota, teams plan out their outfits weeks in advance of their stadium games.

At the 2023 Stadium Series game at NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, the Washington Capitals arrived in yellow school buses and emerged wearing varsity jackets and holding footballs.

The host Carolina Hurricanes opted for another sport: golf.

The Canes rocked plaid knickers with matching hats and ties. Some carried golf clubs and wore gloves. The outfit was a tribute to the late golfer Payne Stewart, who had a significant connection to North Carolina.

Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort by sinking a 15-foot par putt to defeat Phil Mickelson by a stroke in the final round. There's a statue of Stewart celebrating that putt located at Pinehurst. Stewart was famous for wearing a "throwback" golf kit, which included patterned pants.

Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen was the catalyst for the Stadium Series golf look.

"We came up with two options," he said. "Someone mentioned doing a tribute to Payne Stewart. We started putting things together. Took it to a vote, and majority ruled."

Noesen owns a concierge company called Opulence Lifestyle Management. That firm helped make the partnerships the Hurricanes needed to create the Stadium Series fits. Golf Knickers made the baggy pants. G/Fore made their shoes.

"We just kind of pieced it together. Everyone liked it," Noesen said.

He said the Hurricanes' other option was going to be a tribute to NC State football. Alas, the school that hosted the Stadium Series wasn't all that hospitable to the idea.

"Logistics wise, NC State wouldn't help us out with anything. It is what it is," Noesen said, adding that it might be for the best, given the North Carolina and Duke alumni who work for the Hurricanes organization.

"There was some controversy with some staff members," he said. "I'm not going to throw any names under the bus."

The Hurricanes wore their golf gear well walking into the stadium. But before they left the ice, they had to show off their golfing skills.

Carolina has become famous for their "Storm Surge" celebrations, in which the team stands at the center ice circle, leads rhythmic clapping with the fans and then sometimes ends the ritual with a comedic routine. To end their Stadium Series "Surge," the Hurricanes players threw their gloves to the ice and used their sticks as a club to knock them down the rink.

After their golf shots, the Hurricanes put up the NC State "wolfpack" hand sign.

Defenseman Brent Burns was the one who choreographed it.

"A couple of the other boys had the idea about the golf stuff, so we did the golf thing," he said. "And it was so much fun seeing all the alumni around the school throwing the wolfpack up. It was fun paying some homage to that."