NHL Commissioner Keeps Open Possibility Of Outdoor Game In Raleigh Under New Owner
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, when asked about the possibility of Raleigh hosting an outdoor game, "wouldn't rule it out," according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Ice-making technology has "advanced to the point where it’s possible to make a playable surface under almost any conditions, so it wouldn’t have to be below freezing" to make it work at N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium across the street from PNC Arena. N.C. State "would have to be a willing partner." Nothing would "jump-start the Hurricanes in this market" under the new regime of Owner Tom Dundon "more than a Winter Classic, an event for which the Hurricanes have not heretofore been considered as a participant, let alone a host." It would also be a "step toward restoring the Hurricanes’ status as a model Sun Belt franchise, a distinction widely bestowed upon the team in the wake of the beyond-all-expectations" of the All-Star Game in '11 (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/13).
TAMPA TWO? In Tampa, Joe Smith noted the Lightning are a "strong candidate to host an outdoor game at Raymond James Stadium," with the team and the NHL "believing it’s a matter of when, not if, that will happen." The NHL will "announce its sites" for the '20 and '21 outdoor games this summer. NHL Exec VP & Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said, "Given the stadium, given the team, given the market, I think it’s a great candidate for an outdoor game." The Lightning "made its official bid for an outdoor game" in August '16. Mayer said that Tampa hosting this year’s NHL ASG "won’t affect when it gets its next big event." Lightning CEO Steve Griggs "believes the game might actually help put the city in a better position for future big events if it can pull off a 'world class' production" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/14).