On Wednesday night before the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes held a press conference announcing that they were signing Erik Cole to a contract. Cole then announced that he was retiring as a Hurricane.
The club also named Cole the Team Ambassador.
The former Carolina power forward brought his wife and children to the ceremony as well as many other family members including his sister, who has lived in the area for 20 plus years.
Cole mentioned that he lived with his sister at times, especially when he first started with the team. He thanked many people, his family and several members of organization.
The winger had not been under an NHL contract for the past two years but was hoping to be medically cleared to play. That didn’t happen.
“I spent the first summer when I got back from Detroit trying to prove the doctors wrong. Unfortunately I was not able to do it this time around. It was not the first time in my career I was told to retire.”
Cole scored a total of 168 goals and 363 points in 557 games wearing the sightless eye. His stats were good enough to place him in the top 10 in franchise history in points, hat tricks, and shorthanded goals.
He also thanked his teammates who won the Cup in 2006. Cole was on his way to a career year scoring 30 goals in 60 games before a hit from behind by Brooks Orpik knocked him out for almost the rest of the season. He was able to return to the final two games of the Finals and of course got his name on the Cup with the rest of his teammates.
My favorite memory?
I became a major Cole fan during the magical 2002 playoff run when the Canes made history by making the Finals as a long shot. Cole’s goal to tie the game in Montreal late in the game known as the “Miracle at Molson” was my personal highlight.
Good luck to Erik in the future.