Bettman’s visit followed last week’s announcement that JimGoodmon, President of Capitol Broadcasting Company, and a group of community, business and civic leaders have banded together to form “Friends of the Canes.” The “Friends” formed in order to “properly welcome” the Hurricanes to the Triangle and help the team bring the NHL All-Star Game to the Triangle by 2006.
“I was asked to attend a breakfast in Denver during the All-Star weekend to talk about the region’s interest in having an All-Star weekend, having a draft, having the NHL’s major events,” said Bettman. “When I heard the business leaders’ enthusiasm regarding the team I said to myself, ‘Things are really, finally getting to where we hoped they would be when we first had the team coming to the Triangle.’”
Bettman committed to bringing the draft to the Triangle as early as 2003 but no later than 2005. The commissioner said he could not give a specific date due to logistical reasons.
Raleigh’s limited four-star hotel space is seen as problematic to the Hurricanes hosting the draft and All-Star Game. But, Bettman and the “Friends” expect such infrastructure issues to be resolved in the near future.
Hurricanes Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Doug Piper will unveil details of the “Friends” and the team’s upcoming season ticket campaign at a March 28 news conference. The drive is aimed at doubling the Hurricanes’ season ticket base. Bettman guaranteed the Hurricanes’ and the Triangle an All-Star Game within five years of the franchise and “Friends” meeting their goal.
The Hurricanes currently boast 5,800 season ticket sales and hope to increase the number to near 12,000 for next season.
“We think that this community would do a great job in hosting us for an All-Star Game,” said Bettman. “When the ‘Friends’ and the Hurricanes reach their goals, within five years we will bring the All-Star Game.”
Bettman closed his brief news conference saying, “This is a great home for NHL hockey and it’s getting better and better all of the time.”
Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.