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Tracking the Storm

Karmanos Commits to Triangle, State

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:59 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Karmanos Commits to Triangle, State



When Peter Karmanos Jr. brought the Carolina Hurricanes to North Carolina in 1997, he had a vision: that hockey could and would work in Raleigh and the state as a whole.

Michael Smith
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Fourteen years, a Stanley Cup, much on- and off-ice success, a draft and an All-Star Game later, that vision is alive and well. It was solidified yesterday with 10 new investors in the franchise, 9 of which are based locally in North Carolina.

“It’s a big day as far as the Hurricanes organization is concerned because we’ve gotten investors in the team that are from the Triangle,” Karmanos told the media today. “And I can’t tell you how important I think that is to the future of the organization.”

Among the new eight publicized ownership partners are Michael Kahn – owner of the Charlotte Checkers – Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. (James Goodmon, A.J. Fletcher Foundation) and Jim Rutherford – president and general manager of the Hurricanes. Two investing groups chose to keep their partnerships private.

“Each one involved is a hockey fan, and each has opinions, and we are willing to listen to those,” Karmanos said.

Since the passing of his investment partner Thomas Thewes in 2008, Karmanos has sought local investors for a minority share of the franchise.

“It’s a real leap of faith for people to invest in the team and take a minority interest,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that they thought enough of the Hurricanes and thought enough of our organization to make those kinds of investments.”

Karmanos added that over the next year, he’d like to get another $20 million in investment from other local groups, something that should be relatively easy now considering the solid local foundation that has been built.

“I think it’s important for a sports team to be owned by local people,” he said. “So, when the day comes that I’m going to get out of the business, we’ll have lots of people that have direct experience and actually live here.”

Entrusting a minority share in the team to state- and Triangle-based investors shows Karmanos’ commitment to the area, both now and in the years to come.

“To have the Triangle grow 42 percent from 2000 to 2010 and have forecasted growth rates from 2010 to 2030 of 80 percent, that helps make this a stable market,” he said.

With these new shareholders, Karmanos said he would like to increase the Hurricanes’ season ticket base by three to four thousand. He said that in this age where everyone schedules their lives, it’s hard to draw an impactful walk-up crowd, especially in the middle of the week.

He also believes his new group of investors can increase revenue brought in from advertising.

“I think this group of people alone could be responsible for helping increase our revenues by $5 to $10 million a year, and I’m going to call on them vigorously to do that,” he said.

What he said he wouldn’t do was spend that potential extra money on high-dollar players. Karmanos said that if there was a player available that would guarantee the team wins, he would spend the money. But, don’t look for changes to the roster anytime soon.

“We’re just not going to be stupid about how you spend the money,” he said. “Every owner has to understand that they can’t go in there and just throw money around and automatically win and automatically build a strong franchise.”

Karmanos also touched on the performance of the Canes so far this season. He said that if you take the overtime losses and move them into the win column - not a far stretch considering the chances the team has had to win those games - they would be sitting even better in the standings at this point.

"Paul [Maurice] and his staff are as good a coaching organization as anybody in the league, so I’m very happy with them," he said. "I’m very happy with the way our young players are developing. Our goalie, I think, is very underrated. He’s one of the best, if not the best goalie in the league, especially once we get into the playoffs."

Securing local investments ensures the health of the franchise in the community for years to come, building on what already has become a strong foundation in the team’s last 14 years in the state.

“I think overwhelmingly it’s community support and showing how much they believe the Hurricanes are important to the Triangle area,” Karmanos said.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61