Raleigh, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes play their first home hockey in more than a week Thursday night, and they'll be doing it in a freshly-named arena.
The RBC Center officially became PNC Arena Thursday morning, about two weeks after Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group completed its $3.45 billion acquisition of RBC Bank.
During Thursday's game, PNC will give away more than 200 gift cards and have 15,000 commemorative hockey pucks on hand for fans.
The cost of changing all 600 impressions at the arena, including those on the ice, uniforms, shirts, cups and parking lot signs, was just under $1 million. The overhaul took about 135 days to complete.
"It was a lot of work. It was done in a very short amount of time, but it's officially here and ready to go," said Dave Olsen, vice president and general manager of the arena.
A spokesman for PNC said that getting into the community and fulfilling corporate sponsorships and advertising are all important functions for the bank.
Still, it might take a while for people to get used to the new name after calling the arena the RBC Center for about a decade.
"The receptionist told me on the way down that she's had several people hang up on her because they thought they called the wrong place," Olsen said. "There are some people in the market that aren't ready for it yet."
Some RBC customers also are trying to adjust to their new bank. PNC has over half a million customers, and there are now 126 PNC branches in North Carolina.
"I don't know, I may not stay with them. We'll see," said Martha McLaurin, an RBC Bank customer.
The merger also means a loss of jobs. PNC told state officials in January that it expected to lay off up to 200 employees in Raleigh and 425 in Rocky Mount. Those layoffs could begin as early as Friday.
A PNC spokesman said at least 100 former RBC workers have found other positions with PNC, and the bank expects to add another 250 jobs in North Carolina in the next year an a half.
"We're working hard and aggressively to offer job opportunities to every single employee," Gov. Beverly Perdue said at a news conference at PNC Arena on Thursday morning.
Perdue said she is excited about welcoming "another socially responsible business to the great state of North Carolina."