By Josh Staph
The Carolina Hurricanes' '05-'06 roster was reeling from an unbelievable amount of turnover and the effects of the previous season's NHL lockout. Head coach Peter Laviolette knew he had some serious work to do regarding team chemistry.
Early in the season, Laviolette made bringing his players together a top priority. He organized special events, like Monday Night Football parties, where the players' wives, girlfriends and children were welcome. For his most creative and effective team-building exercise, Coach dug deep into his childhood hockey memories, recalling the first time his father took him to the rink and laced him up.
Knowing his players had similar father-son experiences, he found a way for the Hurricanes to include their dads in their hockey careers once again. Early in the season, Laviolette invited the players' fathers on a team trip. The weekend kicked off with a father-son golf outing, followed by a Hurricanes home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. After the game, the players and dads boarded a flight to Pittsburgh, where the family duos roomed together at the team hotel.
By showing the players that the organization cared about them and their families, Laviolette created his own family-like atmosphere within the team. The Hurricanes started the season inspired, and after just nine games, they had 13 pointsone better than their '96 total, when the team was still in Hartford. They finished the regular season with one of the best records in the NHL and dominated the post-season, as they went on to win the Stanley Cup.
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