The committee is dedicated to improving the Hurricanes’ season ticket base to 12,000 for 2001-02, one of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s requirements to host an All-Star Game.
The committee will be chaired by Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting Company. Goodmon was part of a contingent of Triangle community, business and civic leaders who attended the 2001 All-Star Game in Denver Feb. 2-4.
“In our discussions with league officials in Denver, one thing became clear: greater local support for our region’s NHL franchise will be necessary in order to secure the All-Star Game for the Triangle,” said Goodmon.
Bettman will meet with “Friends of the ‘Canes” on March 21 to discuss more specifically what the Triangle must do to host the NHL All-Star Game. The committee will ask Bettman to award the Triangle and the Hurricanes the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, for which the Hurricanes have already submitted a bid.
“We’re enthusiastic about this entire effort,” said Goodmon. “Most cities have to sell a certain number of tickets up front before a franchise comes to the town. We didn’t do that, and so it’s time we do it now.”
Goodmon mentioned the franchise’s relocation in 1997 and the stumbling blocks it encountered during its first four years of operation in North Carolina.
Unlike expansion cities like Nashville and Atlanta, Raleigh was not required to embrace the Hurricanes by committing to a specific number of season ticket purchases. In fact, Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos invested $40 million toward the construction of the Entertainment and Sports Arena that the Hurricanes share with North Carolina State University and the city of Raleigh.
According to Goodmon, season ticket base troubles coupled with the difficulties of building a brand-new, multi-use arena hampered the Triangle’s ability to properly welcome the team.
Goodmon recalled the Hurricanes’ hardships in playing two years at the Greensboro Coliseum, 70-plus miles from its permanent home in Raleigh. Goodmon noted that and other factors as contributors to the Triangle’s delayed acceptance of the team.
“We want to back things up,” said Goodmon. “We want to say ‘Welcome Hurricanes. We’re glad you’re here.'
“We missed this step when the Hurricanes first came here four years ago. The best way to express our support is to help the team sell ticket packages and prove to the NHL that we’re an All-Star region.”
The Friends of the Canes have created a website to keep up with the group's activities and provide more information. The site will go live on Thursday, March 15, 2001.
Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.