CEO / Owner / Governor
Peter Karmanos Jr. is the principal owner/governor and chief executive officer of the Carolina Hurricanes, as well as the chairman and co-founder of MadDog Technology. On June 29, 2015, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced that he would be inducted into the Hall in the category of Builder—defined as an individual who has contributed to the development of the game of hockey, moving the game forward.
Karmanos, 72, has been involved in hockey for 40 years, making an impact in youth hockey, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the ECHL and the National Hockey League (NHL). He created the Compuware Youth Hockey Program in the 1970s, a system that has since produced 15 national championships, 34 state championships, 235 Division I scholarship hockey players and 14 NHL first-round draft picks. Alumni of Compuware youth hockey include Eric Lindros, Pat Peake, Pat LaFontaine, Mike Modano, Brian Rolston, David Legwand, Ryan Kesler, Kevin Hatcher, Derian Hatcher and Jacob Trouba.
Prior to selling the Plymouth Whalers in 2015, Karmanos owned OHL franchises for more than 30 years, winning his first OHL championship with Windsor in 1988. In 1989, he founded the first American-based OHL franchise, which later became the Plymouth Whalers. Plymouth won OHL titles in 1995 and 2007 and produced 18 NHL first-round selections and more than 90 players drafted into the NHL. Alumni of Karmanos’ OHL teams include James Neal, Justin Williams, Tyler Seguin, Brian Berard, Gregory Campbell, Stephen Weiss and J.T. Miller. Karmanos’ OHL franchises have also produced a number of managers and coaches at the NHL level, including Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford, Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice, San Jose Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer and Hurricanes Assistant General Manager Mike Vellucci.
Karmanos acquired an NHL franchise, the Hartford Whalers, on June 28, 1994, and relocated the franchise to Raleigh, NC, in 1997. Since their arrival in North Carolina, the Carolina Hurricanes have captured three division titles (1999, 2002, 2006), two Eastern Conference championships (2002, 2006) and the 2006 Stanley Cup, the first major-league sports championship for the state of North Carolina. The Hurricanes also hosted the NHL Draft in 2004 and the NHL All-Star Game in 2011. Karmanos also owned the ECHL’s Florida Everblades for 15 seasons, capturing the ECHL’s Kelly Cup championship in 2012.
In addition to his selection to the Hockey Hall Fame, Karmanos has collected a number of major awards during his career as a hockey builder, including the Lester Patrick Award (outstanding service to hockey in the U.S.), the Bill Long Award (outstanding contributions to the OHL) and the USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Karmanos attended Wayne State University in Detroit. He founded Compuware in 1973 with two partners who, with Karmanos, pooled their tax return money to start the company. Karmanos’ initiative and business prowess were recognized in 1989 by the Institute of American Entrepreneurs, which named him Entrepreneur of the Year. In April 1999, Karmanos ensured that his company would not lose sight of its roots when he decided to relocate more than 4,100 highly-skilled jobs from Compuware’s headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich., to Campus Martius, a business district in the heart of downtown Detroit. He retired from his position of executive chairman of Compuware in March 2013.
Along with his business and hockey interests, Karmanos is widely known for his philanthropy, particularly in the area of cancer research. In 1995, Karmanos established the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, with donations that now total in excess of $60 million. The institute is one of only 39 in the United States granted “comprehensive cancer center” status by the National Institute of Health, and the only one of the 39 named after a woman.
Karmanos resides in the Detroit area with his wife Danialle, and their sons Socrates, Leonidas, Spiros and Aristides. He now has seven sons and nine grandchildren. Danialle—in addition to her ongoing work as a nationally acclaimed video producer—founded Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out (DKWIO). A 501(c)3 organization, DKWIO fights childhood obesity by providing kids with the tools they need to make healthy choices. By helping kids achieve health in mind, body and spirit, DKWIO has touched the lives of thousands of at-risk children in the Detroit and Triangle communities.
As an award-winning writer, producer and director, in 2008 Danialle was tapped by Governor Jennifer Granholm to serve on the newly-chartered Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. In a 2010 Michigan-wide election, Danialle was elected to serve an eight-year term on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She also works tirelessly on behalf of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, partnering with the organization to develop memorable creative content. Her creative talents also led Danialle to become a founding member, Board member and past chair of the critically-acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). She also serves on the boards of the Michigan Opera Theatre and the College for Creative Studies, and is a trustee for the Parade Company, the non-profit organization responsible for the renowned America’s Thanksgiving Parade and numerous other family-oriented events in Metropolitan Detroit.