Local News

Potential NHL Lockout May Put Southern Franchises In Deep Freeze

Posted June 25, 2004 5:31 a.m. EDT

— Since the

Carolina Hurricanes

skated into the NHL finals in 2002, the team has cooled off considerably. With the talk of a strike, is Southern-style hockey on ice?

General managers from teams across the NHL are meeting in Durham Friday to discuss the league's future.

Critics are concerned that this season's possible lockout may affect turnout at some of the southeast franchises such as the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes.

"There is risk both ways, and certainly if there is not something around that you are used to going to, you risk that possibility of people not returning," said Jim Rutherford, general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes. "But the fact of the matter from the Hurricanes' point of view, we need a new system."

"I am completely confident that once we have a new economic system, we will be able to move forward with 30 competitive, healthy franchises," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said he may actually lose less money if there is a work stoppage.

Earlier in the day, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce hosted the NHL commissioner's breakfast.


NHL Draft

will take place this weekend at the RBC Center in Raleigh.