The idea of an outdoor NHL game at Carter-Finley Stadium has been kicked around for awhile, but the prospects haven’t seemed especially good. That might be changing in part thanks to new Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, who has been more aggressive about trying to get this event done.
And as it happens, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is in Raleigh for a visit today, and the sportswriters covering an NC State football press conference at the Murphy Center noticed something interesting on the Carter-Finley field:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will address the media at 5 p.m. Those traffic cones on the Carter-Finley field form an awfully familiar shape pic.twitter.com/kqR5niThXJ— Andrew Schnittker (@aschnitt53) February 26, 2019
Never hurts to give the commish a visual, right? Bettman was given a tour of the stadium as well.
In an interview with ABC 11 this afternoon, Dundon said he’s “optimistic” that the Hurricanes will play a game at Carter-Finley in the future, though the earliest this could happen would be the 2020-21 NHL season.
In regards to the photo circulating Twitter showing the cones on Carter-Finley today:— Bridget Condon (@BridgetABC11) February 26, 2019
"We are close," said Dundon. "I am very optimistic but it's not done, but I think we feel pretty strongly that it's going to happen in this town." Plan for 2020-2021 season #ABC11 @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/piraxtAiXj
Bettman said the league taking the idea “very seriously.”
Bettman on an outdoor game in Raleigh: "We are taking it very seriously and looking at the possibility."— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) February 26, 2019
The earliest the #Canes could host a potential Stadium Series match-up would be the 2020-21 season, Bettman said.
There is precedent for outdoor NHL games at college football stadiums—since the league started scheduling these contests on an annual basis in 2008, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Navy have served as hosts. Air Force will host a game this upcoming season, as will the Cotton Bowl.
It helps as well that the NHL is scheduling more than one outdoor game per season these days, which leaves room for franchises that aren’t huge brands.
So here’s hoping the NHL agrees this is a venture worth taking. Not only would it be all sorts of fun, it would also be a nice showcase for NC State.