Sports Teams of Raleigh
The National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes franchise moved to Raleigh in 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut (where it was known as the Hartford Whalers). The team played its first two seasons more than 60 miles away at Greensboro Coliseum while its home arena, Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (later RBC Center and now PNC Arena), was under construction. The Hurricanes are the only major league (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) professional sports team in North Carolina to have won a championship, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, over the Edmonton Oilers. The city played host to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
In addition to the Hurricanes, the North Carolina FC of the United Soccer League and North Carolina Courage women’s professional soccer team play in suburban Cary to the west; the Carolina Mudcats, a Single-A minor-league baseball team, play in the city’s eastern suburbs; the newly formed Single-A minor-league baseball Buies Creek Astros play in the nearby out-of-county southern suburb of Buies Creek until their ballpark is finished in Fayetteville, the Raleigh Flyers of the American Ultimate Disc League play primarily at Cardinal Gibbons High School near the PNC Arena; and the Durham Bulls, the AAA minor-league baseball team made internationally famous by the movie Bull Durham, play in the neighboring city of Durham.
Several other professional sports leagues have had former franchises (now defunct) in Raleigh, including the Raleigh IceCaps of the ECHL (1991–1998); Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League (2000–2004); the Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football (1991); the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association (1991–1992); the Raleigh Cougars of the United States Basketball League (1997–1999); and most recently, the Carolina Courage of the Women’s United Soccer Association (2000–2001 in Chapel Hill, 2001–2003 in suburban Cary), which won that league’s championship Founders Cup in 2002.
The Raleigh area has hosted the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Nationwide Tour Rex Hospital Open since 1994, with the current location of play at Raleigh’s Wakefield Plantation. Nearby Prestonwood Country Club hosts the PGA SAS Championship every fall.
North Carolina State University is located in southwest Raleigh where the Wolfpack competes nationally in 24 intercollegiate varsity sports as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The university’s football team plays in Carter–Finley Stadium, the third largest football stadium in North Carolina, while the men’s basketball team shares the PNC Arena with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey club. The Wolfpack women’s basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics as well as men’s wrestling events are held on campus at Reynolds Coliseum. The men’s baseball team plays at Doak Field.
The North Carolina Tigers compete as an Australian Rules football club in the United States Australian Football League, in the Eastern Australian Football League.
Raleigh is also home to one of the Cheer Extreme All Stars gyms. In 2009 and again in 2010, Cheer Extreme Raleigh’s Small Senior Level 5 Team were silver medalists at the Cheerleading Worlds Competition in Orlando, Florida, and in 2012 they received the bronze medal. Raleigh is also home to one of the Southeast’s premier Hardcourt Bike Polo clubs.
Because of the area’s many billiards rooms, Raleigh is home to one of the largest amateur league franchises for playing pool, the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill American Poolplayers Association. There are leagues available in formats for players of any skill level.