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NBA OWNERS ON ICE, PART II: SHINN EYES VA AND CAROLINA SITES
Published October 17, 1996
Hornets Owner George Shinn is considering both Raleigh, NC and Hampton Road, VA region as a possible home for an NHL expansion team, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Shinn recently met with Raleigh officials at the invitation of marketer Max Muhleman, who helped Shinn land the Hornets and is also working as a consultant for a potential Raleigh NHL bid. Shinn became involved with the Norfolk-VA Beach-Hampton Roads region through TV evangelist Pat Robertson, whose Christian Broadcasting Network is based there. Shinn said he has met twice with a mayors group from the VA region looking for a potential owner and has discussed the area with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Shinn: "I haven't filled out any application for Raleigh or Virginia Beach. In the future? That's a good question. I'm a businessman. I'd pursue it if it made sense." Shinn said bringing an NHL club to Charlotte "doesn't make sense" because the city is not "big enough to support two major league teams under the same roof." Shinn added that his "immediate focus" at the present time is on building a new uptown arena for the Hornets. Bonnell notes a VA bid "isn't likely" to be ready immediately, but ready to bid "over the next two years" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/16). FROM THE OLD DOMINION: Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim confirmed he has met with Shinn, but would not say whether a potential NHL franchise was discussed. Fraim: "He came here at my request to offer advice and consultation on the prospects of Hampton Roads being a viable market for professional sports." Fraim added he was "encouraged" by the meeting. With 1.6 million residents, Hampton Roads is the nation's largest metropolitan area without a major league sports franchise (VIRGINIAN PILOT, 10/17).