When most people think of North Carolina sports, they think about the NFL’s Carolina Panthers or the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.
However, “The Tar Heel State” is also known for its ice hockey! Believe it or not, North Carolina actually has four professional hockey teams!
In this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in North Carolina, and what college and junior teams compete in “The Old North state”.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Wisconsin, What Hockey Team Is in Arizona, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In North Carolina:
North Carolina’s NHL team is the Carolina Hurricanes. They have a minor league AHL team: The Charlotte Checkers. Plus, North Carolina also has two low-level professional hockey teams: The Fayetteville Marksmen (SPHL), and The Carolina Thunderbirds (FPHL). They also have a variety of college teams and junior teams.
Does North Carolina Have a Hockey Team?
So, is there an NHL team in North Carolina?
Yes! North Carolina is home to one NHL team: The Carolina Hurricanes. Nicknamed the “Canes”, the North Carolina team plays their home games in Raleigh at the PNC Arena in downtown Raleigh. They compete within the NHL’s Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference.
North Carolina also has three other professional hockey teams and a variety of junior and college hockey teams.
What Hockey Teams Are in North Carolina?
So, what hockey teams are from NC? In total, there are a whopping four professional hockey teams in the state! North Carolina also has several college hockey and junior teams. Here’s what hockey teams are in North Carolina, starting with professional teams:
North Carolina is home to the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Carolina Hurricanes. They play at PNC Arena at 1400 Edwards Mill Rd in downtown Raleigh.
Wondering if there’s a minor league hockey team in North Carolina?
The Tar Heel State also has another high-level professional hockey team: The Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). They’re the affiliated minor league farm team for the Florida Panthers. They play out of the Bojangles Coliseum located at 2700 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte.
While North Carolina doesn’t have an ECHL team (one level below the AHL), they do have an SPHL team. The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is a lower-level professional hockey league right below the ECHL. North Carolina’s SPHL team is the Fayetteville Marksmen. They play out of the Crown Coliseum at 1960 Coliseum Dr, Fayetteville.
Below the SPHL is the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). This is another lower-level professional hockey league located in the Eastern United States. North Carolina has one FPHL team: The Carolina Thunderbirds. They play their home games at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex located at 414 Deacon Blvd, Winston-Salem.
North Carolina has one junior hockey team. The Charlotte Rush is a Tier III junior hockey team located just 20 minutes outside downtown Charlotte in Indian Trail, North Carolina. They play in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL).
D1, D2, D3 College Hockey
North Carolina has several college hockey teams. However, they don’t have any D1 hockey teams. They have three D3 hockey teams and two D2 hockey teams. that compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).
- East Carolina University Pirates (ACHA Men’s D3)
- Elon University Phoenix (ACHA Men’s D2)
- High Point University Panthers (ACHA Men’s D3)
- Appalachian State University (ACHA Men’s D3)
- UNC-Charlotte 49ers (ACHA Men’s D2)
- UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels (ACHA Men’s D2)
Is there an NHL Team in Charlotte, North Carolina?
No, Charlotte, North Carolina doesn’t have a team in the National Hockey League (NHL). North Carolina’s NHL team—The Carolina Hurricanes—is located in Raleigh Carolina.
However, Charlotte, North Carolina has a few other hockey teams. They have one professional hockey team: The Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Charlotte is also home to the UNC-Charlotte 49ers—a D2 college hockey team in the ACHA. They also have the Charlotte Rush—a Tier III junior hockey team that plays in the USPHL. They’re located in Indian Trail (20 minutes outside downtown Charlotte).
Does UNC Have Ice Hockey?
Yes, UNC has a men’s ice hockey team at both UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is home to the UNC-Charlotte 49ers. They play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) as a division 2 college hockey team.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to the UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels. They play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) as a division 2 college hockey team.
Is There High School Hockey in North Carolina?
Yes, North Carolina has two high school hockey associations.
Charlotte High School Hockey Association serves the greater Charlotte area and was established in the early 2000s. The North Carolina Scholastic Hockey Association was established in the 2022-23 season and serves eastern North Carolina.
Is Hockey Popular in North Carolina?
North Carolina has traditionally been seen as a warm-weather sport state (basketball, baseball, football). However, they do have their own NHL team (and three other professional hockey teams).
So, just how popular is hockey in the Tar Heel State?
Well, rather than leaving it up for debate, let’s look at some data!
In 2022, WalletHub crunched the numbers to analyze what the best cities for hockey fans are. In their study, they ranked the top 72 cities in The States based on 21 key indicators of a “good” hockey city. Different indicators include stadium capacity, ticket prices, and performance of major teams, among many others.
North Carolina had just one city that ranked in the top 72: Raleigh, North Carolina. However, Raleigh had a rather high ranking: #12 out of 72. They came in just behind Chicago, IL (#11), and ahead of St. Paul, MN (#13).
Considering they’re a warm-climate state, it’s pretty impressive North Carolina has a city that’s beside Chicago and St. Paul (which are much more renowned hockey cities).
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).