Local News

Without Hockey, What Next for Arena?

Posted February 18, 1997

— Now that Raleigh's hopes of attracting a National League Hockey franchise have been dashed, officials must look again at plans for an arena that would have been enlarged for the pros. Some say the huge arena that was approved by both county and city officials will now be too large, while others say there is yet hope it will be successful.

Financier Felix Sabates pulled a bid to acquire a hockey franchise when officials couldn't meet his deadline for a lease agreement on the arena. The NHL was considering several cities and had said it would not award an expansion team to a city without an arena to accommodate it.

Sims Hinds heads up the Centennial Authority, which is charged with finding funds to build the arena. He says there are plenty of other options for a large arena in Raleigh.

Hinds said that within hours of Sabates' withdrawal Monday, he heard from representatives of both the American and International hockey leagues.

Raleigh City Council will be discussing whether to go forward with current plans or scale down the arena project at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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