As the NHL's greatest players gear up for this year's All-Star Weekend in Denver, Triangle-area business leaders are pitching Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena as a possible host for the event in 2004, 2005 or 2006. It is the earliest step in landing the event in Raleigh.
The league says that this weekend's All-Star activities in Denver will pump about $10 million into the local economy there. Denver restaurant owner Craig Caldwell says business is booming.
"I'd say, because of the private parties, we'll do three to four times what we normally do on the weekend," he said. He believes that the All-Star Weekend is the biggest event he has seen in 25 years.
All-star projections like that are tempting to Raleigh's business leaders. Officials with the Carolina Hurricanes have already met twice with the NHL's commissioner to discuss bringing the game to Raleigh. Some of the team's players are excited by the prospect.
"I think it would be really good for North Carolinians to see all of the activities and get to know hockey a little better," says Hurricanes all-star Sandis Ozolinsh.
Bob Ingram with GlaxoSmithKline agrees.
"This would be a tremendous opportunity for a lot of people who have never seen the Triangle to see our community and spend money here," he said.
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