For nearly a decade, the Hurricanes were a league-wide footnote, and postseason hockey in Carolina was nothing but a pipe dream and a reflection of yesteryear.
However, the 2018-19 season was a different story, as the Hurricanes captivated fans with exuberant post-win celebrations and embraced those who looked down on their fun shenanigans. But most importantly, they won, snapping the NHL's longest postseason drought and making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final.
Even though the season ended in bitter fashion - a sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins on Thursday night - captain Justin Williams was able to reflect on the impact this campaign had not only on Carolina fans but on the entire league.
"I'm proud of what we've done," the 37-year-old told reporters postgame, per NBC Sports. "I'm proud that we've gotten ourselves relevant again. I'm proud that we raised the bar in the organization, and I'm proud of every one of my teammates."
One of the primary reasons for the Hurricanes' miracle run was the leadership from head coach Rod Brind'Amour. But even though his squad exceeded all possible expectations, he didn't stray from his fiery yet compassionate persona when reflecting on Thursday's 4-0 loss.
"I want to thank the people and community for supporting us. I hate that we went out like that on that game," Brind'Amour told Michael Smith of the team's website. "That was a dud game for them to come watch. I apologize for that. Tremendous support for our team. ... It's a real community feel. It's something special."
The Bunch of Jerks' season may be over, but with a young, promising core and plenty of cap space, there's no reason to believe it'll be another nine-year wait for playoff hockey in Raleigh, N.C.