Businesses Iced by Lack of NHL Playoffs

Posted April 6, 2007 11:18 p.m. EDT
Updated April 9, 2007 8:02 a.m. EDT

— The Carolina Hurricanes closed out their season Saturday, and local businesses are as depressed as hockey fans about the lack of postseason play this year.

"The RBC Center provides a lot of the revenue that goes through this building," said Brian Maloney, manager of Damon's Restaurant, located across Trinity Road from the arena.

The Canes run through the playoffs to the Stanley Cup title last year meant a dozen extra games in front of sold-out crowds of frenzied fans, many of whom ate and drank at nearby restaurants like Damon's and picked up plenty of souvenirs.

Damon's is usually packed for Canes' home games, and Maloney said last year's playoffs bumped revenue up by more than 50 percent.

"Last year, we got so spoiled, and this year, we're definitely going to miss it," he said.

The 2006 playoffs helped the Canes turn a profit for the first time since the team moved to North Carolina a decade ago. It also produced record season ticket sales and an increase in average attendance of more than 25 percent.

No post season means a loss in bonus revenue for the team as well.

"The economic impact is substantial," said Dave Olsen, general manager of the RBC Center. "The rest of the season, certainly having 18,000-plus people in here for the playoffs drives some numbers."

Although fans said they were disappointed with the end to this season, many already are looking forward to October, when the Canes begin another season.

"It's amazing what one year, what a difference it makes, so we're looking forward to next year," fan Mike McArdle said.