The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional ice hockey team based in North Carolina. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Hurricanes play their home games at the PNC Arena. The franchise was formed in 1971 as the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, and joined the NHL in 1979 as part of the NHL-WHA merger, renaming themselves the Hartford Whalers. The team relocated to North Carolina in 1997.