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Raleigh IceCaps

The Raleigh IceCaps started play in 1991 at Dorton Arena on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. They found immediate success on the ice, making the playoffs in each of their first three seasons. The third playoff trip was at the conclusion of a 41 wins season - their highest win total - and was a memorable playoff run with series wins over Roanoke, Greensboro, and Birmingham. They would unfortunately lose in the finals to Toledo, but the IceCaps had exited fans and solidified hockey as a contender in the Raleigh market. 

The IceCaps wouldn't recapture the magic of their first three seasons, as they would make the playoffs only once in their final four years in Raleigh. The 1997-98 season was the IceCaps last in Raleigh, and their fan attendance was cut by about 60% from the highs of 1994. That was all thanks to the arrival of the Hartford Whalers - now Carolina Hurricanes - in Raleigh for the 97-98 season.  Unable to compete with an NHL team in their market, the IceCaps moved to August, Georgia in 1998.