by Michael Lowrey
The NHL commissioner says that the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh to stay:
“I don’t think anyone needs to worry about the future of the franchise in Carolina,” Bettman said in an interview. “[Owner] Peter [Karmanos Jr] is exploring his options, but there is no rush, no pressure, no timetable. I am certain if he sells the franchise, he will continue the legacy of having the franchise in what has been a strong market and keep it where it is.
“People should not be concerned about something fueled by media in other locations. Everything Peter is doing is being done to ensure the long-term future of hockey in the Triangle. That’s where the league believes it should be and where it will be.”
Bettman quickly added, “Is that a strong enough statement?”
Actually not, exactly because it’s never a good sign in business or government when someone has to deny a rumor. It usually means that a problem has gotten so obvious that it can no longer be ignored. And in the case of the Hurricanes, the problem is attracting fans — the team has the worse attendance this year in the NHL. And it’s for sale, and has been for awhile, with other markets where people actually care about hockey interested in obtaining a team. So, yes, hockey fans in the Triangle — and Charlotte —
should be very worried, despite Bettman’s comments.