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The team was formed in 1971 as the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, and moved into the NHL in 1979 as the Hartford Whalers.
The Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997 becoming the Carolina Hurricanes.
After many lack lustre seasons, the underdog Hurricanes surprised everybody in the 2002 playoffs by defeating the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs before finally losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the stanley cup finals.
After an impressive 2002 playoff run the next two seasons were huge dissapointments for Hurricane fans as they finished at the bottom of the standings. As a result, long time Canes coach Paul Maurice was fired being replaced ex-New York Islanders coach Peter Laviolette.
One bright spot for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003 was the drafting of the talented Eric Staal.
Following the 2004-05 NHL lockout season which led to the new $26 million team salary cap, the hurricanes flourished, finishing with a 52-22-8 record and 112 points, the best season in the franchises 34-year history.
The 2005-2006 Stanley Cup playoffs marked the first time 2 former WHA teams met in a cup finals, when the Hurricanes faced off against the Edmonton Oilers. In an exciting 7 game series, the Canes came out on top winning their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. Rookie goalie Cam Ward was honored with the Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoffs MVP, and Glen Wesley — the last remaining Hartford Whaler on the Hurricanes roster — finally touched the cup after 18 seasons.