Thanks to a host of new facilities that have been introduced to the Triangle in recent years, it appears the Hurricanes are now closer than ever to bringing the NHL All-Star Game to Raleigh.
Canes GM Jim Rutherford said Thursday that he was planning to hand-deliver the team’s proposal to the NHL office in New York next week when the Hurricanes are in town to face the New York Rangers on Wednesday. The Canes are hoping to host the event in 2011, approximately one year from today.
”Our application looks very strong and our market looks strong,” said Rutherford. “Some of the things that the league talked about after we had the successful draft here [in 2004] were the convention center and hotels, and all that has changed now. We have a beautiful convention center, we have some beautiful four- and five-star hotels and our airport is totally upgraded.”
Next season’s All-Star Game was initially going to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, but is now up in the air given the financial uncertainty and relocation prospects that the would-be-host Coyotes faced last summer. Although dates beyond 2011 are also up for bid, it is believed that next season is the best fit from the Hurricanes' perspective.
If the Hurricanes’ proposal is successful, next season will be a busy one for the franchise, which is also actively working to participate in the league’s European premier event, in which they would play their first two regular-season games overseas.
Rutherford is optimistic about the team’s chances at landing both of those events, although there is still work to be done.
“I feel very good about our application, but I also know that there are other teams trying to get it,” he said of the All-Star proposal. “We will do our best. We’ve told our fans in the past that we’re going to be bring the All-Star Game to Raleigh, and at some point in time we’re going to do that hopefully sooner rather than later.”