A fan posing next to Svechnikov’s jersey during a season-ticket holder event. Svech has brought excitement to the team and North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Rachel Fearn.
In 2018, the entry draft had eyes on one pick: Andrei Svechnikov. Chosen by the Carolina Hurricanes, Svechnikov, or popularly called “Svech”, has changed the face of the Hurricanes from 2018 to present day.
On October 29, 2019, Svechnikov pulled off something no one has seen in the history of the National Hockey League. During the Canes game against the Calgary Flames, Svech scored the “lacrosse goal”, where one starts behind the net, picks the puck up onto his stick, rotates around the goal, and places the puck into the net. It has been tried multiple times, but no one in the NHL had succeeded until now . The first success with the “lacrosse goal” was during a college hockey game by Mike Legg, a Michigan player, over 20 years ago.
Undeniably, Svech made the highlights immediately, and fans all around the world buzzed about his goal. Even non-Hurricanes fans are excited about this goal. “His goal was really impressive. I like that it was a non-conventional goal,” said Bailie Cook, a Bruins fan.
One of the biggest highlights about Svechnikov is he is an NHL player at the young age of 19 years old. Most kids at 19 are in their second year of college, but Svech is bringing 26 goals, 26 assists, and 96 overall points to the NHL.
Joining the NHL in 2018, nineteen-year-old Andrei Svechnikov was, at one point, the youngest player to be drafted. He’s made an impact to younger players around America. Being successful at only 19 years old has inspired younger players to look up to him. “His success has shown me age doesn’t matter and if you work hard you can play with whoever. His creative play style shows me to play the way I want and just work hard to hopefully be successful like him one day” said Michael Villanova, a player for the Premier Junior Hurricanes team located in Wake Forest.
A majority of the Hurricanes roster are veterans, or “vets”. These are players who have played for a few years and are now older. Svech has improved the franchise over the past two years by bringing young talent that was missing from the team. “For several years, the Canes have only been a team of vets and players out of their prime, but with the introductions of Svech and Sebastian Aho (another young player for the Hurricanes), along with other talents, the Hurricanes narrative has begun to change for the better,” said Jack Fuhrer, a Canes fan and Leesville Road student.
Even for non-hockey players, Svech’s young age is impressive. “With Svech being so young, you would think he wouldn’t be as good since he lacks the experience of a vet, but he goes against the odds and has such an insane amount of talent all you can do is stop and stare” said Jack Fuhrer.
“Him being 19 makes what he is doing so much more special, he’s so young and has already created such a strong future for himself. It’s honestly impressive since he isn’t even in his prime yet, but for our generation, Svech is right around our age so my peers and I can relate and look up to him,” said Robbie Cicciari, a player for Canisius College hockey.
Despite his age, Svech has already brought a new future to the Carolina Hurricanes. For the past two years of Svech’s NHL career, fans have been extremely excited to meet him, buying tickets and standing in lines to meet him or even see him play.
On October 30, 2019, the Canes held a special event for the season ticket holders. Sitting around the stadium in 2’s or 3’s, Canes players were meeting, talking, and signing with fans. I personally visited this event with a friend of mine, Kaitlyn Stocum. Arriving 40 minutes before the tables opened, the line had already wrapped almost all the way around the third floor. We waited for around 25 minutes, which was much better than fans who arrived later in the event.
Everyone wanted the chance to meet Svechnikov, get a signature and say hello to him. This was a valuable experience for younger hockey players, who got the chance to meet their idols up close.
Being one of the main faces of the Carolina Hurricanes, Andrei Svechnikov is someone who no doubt bring more fame and strengthen the franchise over the years. He already has 96 overall points in the NHL, not even half-way through the season.