Vol17 Iss1 2017

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39 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — TRIANGLE NC | VOLUME 17 — ISSUE 1 TRIANGLE SPORTS BY SERENA STEVENS For sports fans, relocating to North Carolina's Triangle region means instant access to a national hotbed of both college and professional sports. From college basketball to pro hockey to minor league baseball to soccer, the Triangle has numerous live sporting events throughout the year that are sure to thrill every sports fan. Even the most diehard fans are bound to make some new allegiances to Triangle teams. Everyone you meet will have a favorite college basketball team among long- time rivals the North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils, and North Carolina State Wolfpack. Beginning in the spring and through the fall, Triangle baseball fans rise up in support of the Durham Bulls. Serving as the Triple-A farm team for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls and are one of the nation's oldest and most recognized minor league teams. Originally formed in 1922, the team and has undergone numerous iterations in different leagues over the years. The team received national notoriety in 1988 following the release of hit movie "Bull Durham." (See the famous Durham Bull on our cover!) The Bulls 2017 home opener is April 10 against interstate rival the Charlotte Knights. Small town baseball is still alive in the area. The Carolina Mudcats are a minor league baseball team based in Zebulon, North Carolina. They are members of the Carolina League and are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Home games are played at Five County Stadium. Also in the spring, the Triangle's soccer fields are abuzz with activity. This includes youth, high school, college and pro fields. However, there is even more soccer on the Triangle horizon. It was recently announced that the current pro men's team, the Carolina Railhawks, would change names and seek a berth in the Major Soccer League (MLS). Now known as the North Carolina Football Club, the team will continue to play NASL league home games at Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park for this season and is shooting for the MLS next year. Entrepreneur and N.C. Football Club team owner Steve Malik is the leader of many initiatives to propel Triangle soccer to a national stage. Malik also recently purchased a National Women's Soccer League team, the Western New York Flash, and relocated it to the Triangle. The North Carolina Courage will open its inaugural season at WakeMed Soccer Park in April, giving Triangle fans seasons full of soccer played at its highest levels. As you already know, college basketball is huge in the Triangle. The big three schools in the area — e Triangle Sports Scene fans, fun, a smorgasbord UNC, N.C. State and Duke — have won multiple national championships over the years and do battle in the ultra- competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. Lots of great teams and amazing players grace Triangle basketball fans during the winter season and on through March Madness. In the fall, college football brings out tailgating traditions as well as many of the nation's top football teams. This combination makes fall Saturday afternoons great for Triangle fans. The Tar Heels play in Chapel Hill's Keenan Stadium, while the Wolfpack plays at Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium. Famed Wallace-Wade Stadium on Duke's campus in Durham plays host to Blue Devil home games. Triangle hockey fans have been rejoicing ever since the Hartford Whalers relocated here in 1997. The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes have been hugely successful in winning games and drawing raucous crowds. The Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup championship in 2005. This feat marked the first professional major league sports title for a team from North Carolina. The Hurricanes defend their home ice at Raleigh's expansive PNC Arena. Finally, for those fans who like a good road trip to tailgate and see a game, the state of North Carolina is home to many pro sports teams, including the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. The Panthers are usually a contender in the competitive NFC. Meanwhile, the Hornets, owned by the most famous athlete from North Carolina, Michael Jordan, are starting to create a new buzz in the Queen City. In addition, NASCAR racing stars are on display in huge races twice per year at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. No matter your favorite sport or which team you have been rooting for in the past, once you become a Triangle resident, things are only going to get better. []

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