Local News

Return Of Canes Means A Return To Revenue

Posted September 18, 2005 2:20 a.m. EDT

— The Carolina Hurricanes played their first preseason game Friday night at the RBC Center and defeated the Washington Capitals 6-0. And since the pucks are flying once again, after a 17-month labor dispute, so are the dollars signs. Whether it's local businesses or high schools, the return of the Carolina Hurricanes is a return to revenue.

"Certainly we believe that it's a lot more important that we're here than we're not here," Dave Olsen, vice president of operations for the RBC Center, said.

Olsen said he understands the stakes are high, not just for the team, but for the community it represents.

"The economics of what hockey means to the community and what the building means to the community is huge," he said. "And without 43 hockey games and without the Canes being here, a lot of people were hurt by it."

According to a 2003 survey, the RBC Center generated more than $12 million in state and local taxes and created nearly 3,000 full- and part-time jobs that year.

And those who lost the most during the labor dispute now stand to gain the most.

Brian Maloney, of Damon's Grill, said the past 17 months have been painful.

"It was almost a half million dollars in sales lost that we projected," Maloney said.

Now, the new season means new opportunity.

"People never had a reason to come over here unless they had a reason to come over there, so we never had a chance to show what we can do," Maloney said.

And it's not only local businesses that hockey helps, community organizations such as the Cary High School Band are allowed to sell concessions at the games.

"The year before we gave about $750,000 back to volunteer groups that work in our concession stands," Olsen said.