DETROIT -- Peter Karmanos Jr. is best known today as the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes.
But if it weren’t for his success in the Ontario Hockey League, he might never have bought into the NHL to begin with.
Karmanos, who founded the Compuware hockey organization in Detroit, reached across the Detroit River to purchase the Windsor Spitfires in 1984.
He sold the Spitfires in 1989, and four years later purchased the Hartford Whalers. But Karmanos said were it not for his experience owning the team in Windsor, he never would have thought he could own an NHL team.
“It was important because the CHL [Canadian Hockey League] is the best development league for kids under 20 in the world,” Karmanos said. “Learning how to compete in that league, I think we learned how to compete there and that was very important to having enough confidence that we could buy a National Hockey League team and run it properly.”
He’s certainly done that with the Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, including winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. But for Karmanos, it all comes back to being part of a CHL team. He’s owned the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL since 1997 and has no intention of leaving the junior hockey ranks.
“I love the CHL,” he said. “It’s great hockey.”