No Postseason Could Chill Canes Financially

Posted March 30, 2007 10:52 p.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2007 11:05 p.m. EDT

— The struggles of the Carolina Hurricanes a year after their run to the Stanley Cup isn't just rough on fans. Missing the NHL playoffs will squeeze the team's bottom line.

Average attendance at Canes home games is up this year as the team rides the success of its 2006 championship. About 13,000 season tickets were sold this year, and many fans continue to hold out hope that the team can sneak into the playoffs and make another run this spring.

"We got a good group of players out there," fan Roger Kelley said. "We just got to get back to the game that got us to the Stanley Cup."

"It's been tough. I think the team has been injured since opening day, and I don't think they've gotten healthy," fan Mike Dinola said.

But in the front office, a playoff run could mean the difference between a profit and a loss for the year.

Last year, the Canes turned their first profit since moving to North Carolina a decade ago. Losses in previous years sometimes approached $20 million.

"We don't budget for the playoffs, which is a good thing," said Dave Olsen, vice president and general manager of the RBC Center.

But Olsen readily acknowledged that another playoff appearance would only add to the team's and arena's coffers.

"It's huge," he said. "For our organization last year to finally turn a profit for our owner, it's that important."

Another successful postseason also could mean a boost in next year's season ticket base. But some fans are taking a wait-and-see approach.

"We haven't committed. We're still talking about it," fan Dan Munnelly said.