His first Stanley Cup appearance was in 1997 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. His second came in 2002 when he was playing for the Carolina Hurricanes. Each time, he and his team came up short.
Four years later, though, when Brind’Amour was captain of the ‘Canes, the Canadian veteran finally won the Stanley Cup. It took a thrilling -- and excruciating, nerve-wracking seven games -- but Carolina persevered, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on June 19, 2006.
"It was just surreal," Brind'Amour told the Raleigh News & Observer at the time. "It has been a big weight on everybody's shoulders, not just on mine. I guess it just kind of came to a head when I realized we were going to win.
“It's tough to explain, to be honest with you. We have been through a lot. So many guys on this team -- the years and the ache."
The victory was the first – and remains the only – major league professional sports championship for the state of North Carolina. And in recognition, Brind’Amour has been named the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame’s Member of the Month for June.
Brind’Amour scored 31 goals and had 39 assists that year as the Hurricanes posted 52 wins. He also earned the Selke Trophy – his first of two straight – that goes to the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward.
When he was a player, Rod Brind’Amour was known for his work ethic and leadership ability. After retiring in 2011, he further honed those skills as an assistant coach with Carolina before being tapped to take over the head job on May 9 of this year.
That leadership ability was exactly what owner Tom Dundon wanted in his new head coach. He wanted someone who could instill a winning attitude in his team.
He didn’t have to look far to find the right man for the job.
“My philosophy is much more about culture and leadership and I felt like we had a sure thing,” Dundon told the Raleigh News & Observer.
“For sure, we had someone that does it the right way. If we're going to change the culture here, we've got to have someone leading it. We know what he embodies in life is the culture we want for the team.”
Brind’Amour , who was born in Ottawa and raised in British Columbia, ended up playing 21 years in the NHL. He played in 1,484 games and finished his career with 1,184 points, 732 assists and 452 goals.
Brind’Amour was elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, three years after his former teammate Ron Francis. Those two are the only ice hockey players in the NCSHOF.
June 11, 1988 - On this day in history in the NCSHOF, Rod Brind’Amour was drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. The Canadian native captained the Carolina Hurricanes to their 2006 Stanley Cup as part of his 21-year active playing career. He joined the NCSHOF in 2016.
Tag(s): Member of the Month