Commodore cleanin' up

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Mike Commodore thought he'd seen it all when Calgary Flames fans were donning red wigs two years ago.

The 'Caniacs' have taken mimicking the affable defenceman a step further.

It's fashionable at Carolina Hurricanes games to not just wear the Afro-style wig in honour of the former Flame -- whose Sideshow Bob-like red hair is just as long as we saw in 2004 -- but the ensemble now includes a white bathrobe.

"The first time I'd seen it, one of the last regular-season games, I came out on the ice and didn't know if it was Mike Commodore night in the stands," Commodore said with a laugh yesterday from his place in Raleigh, N.C. "Straight across the ice when we came out, there was two or three ladies with bathrobes on and wigs and signs. To the left, there was another group with bathrobes and wigs. There was also five or six others with wigs and University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux jerseys on. It was unbelievable.

"The guys were sure giving it to me."

For Christmas, Hurricanes players were given their choice of gifts from the team with the club's logo on them.

Commodore opted for the bathrobe, figuring it would be perfect to wear after showering. Glen Wesley suggested having his No. 22 embroidered onto the robe. Commodore soon began wearing it during post-game interviews.

Next thing you know, Hurricanes fans are arriving to the games in costume.

The team's fan store has sold nearly 300 of the robes, with another 100 ordered in time for the Eastern Conference final series against Buffalo that begins tomorrow.

There are even life-sized cut-outs of Commodore, wearing his robe, in the arena concourse.

Don Cherry will join in the fun, too.

In the second round of the playoffs, Cherry said he believed the 'Canes would be eliminated by New Jersey to the ire of Carolina's players. Commodore and broadcaster Tripp Tracy suggested Cherry wear the Commodore outfit if the Hurricanes won. Grapes is expected to don the robe during the next Coach's Corner.

"I know the fans are having fun but I'm having a good time, too," Commodore said.

"Obviously there's a time to be serious -- on the ice, game times and practices and stuff -- but I think most guys can mix in a little fun.

"It's nice people are taking interest because any kind of interest for hockey here is a good thing."

Of course, the Hurricanes' success hasn't hurt -- and it has washed away Commodore's disappointment at being traded from Calgary after the lockout concluded last summer.

"Not that I was surprised

I did get traded but I had a great time in Calgary and a lot of fun," said Commodore.

"I was disappointed to leave Calgary, not to be going to Carolina. It was the third time I'd been traded but it's been a great opportunity for me."


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