Hurricanes Owner Dundon Wants To Embrace Whalers' History
Hurricanes Owner Tom Dundon yesterday said that he "wants to 'explore playing games' with his team wearing the iconic jerseys of the Hartford Whalers, who relocated to Raleigh" in '97, according to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN.com. Dundon, appearing on Raleigh-based WCMC-FM, said the Whalers jerseys are an "unbelievably good look." He continued, "I love it. I think we should have a store that sells that Whalers merchandise online. I think we should explore playing games in that jersey and selling that gear. It's part of the legacy." Wyshynski noted under former Owner Peter Karmanos Jr., there was "never an effort to capitalize on the Whalers nostalgia movement by having the Hurricanes wear Hartford logos" or having the team "play a home game back in Hartford." In fact, Karmanos would at times "downplay the legacy of his former team and the anger Whalers fans still held for him having relocated the franchise." Dundon added that he is "confident that the NHL would sign off on such an idea" (ESPN.com, 1/30).
COME ON DOWN! In Raleigh, Luke DeCock notes the Hurricanes' win over the Senators last night was on pace to draw less than 12,000 fans, and Dundon's "grand experiment" was to invite everyone from the upper 300 level "down to the good seats" that were not being used. There were enough season-ticket no-shows to "give the lower bowl a gap-toothed look" so center-ice seats and corner seats and club seats and suites were all "parceled out to fans who would have otherwise been" in the upper level. All but a "few hundred die-hard upper-levelers took up the team on its open offer to move down." Things did "get louder than they would have been in the third, even if no amount of fan migration could have salvaged the first two sleepy periods." This "doesn't figure to be the only gambit" Dundon, still in his first month as team owner, will try. His general rationale is "'Why not?' and given the franchise's recent history it's hard to argue." That extends to "everything from ticketing to the second-ever playing of 'Brass Bonanza,'" the Whalers' old theme song, in PNC Arena last night (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/31).