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Will Hurricanes Force Hockey Fans From Fayetteville?

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FAYETTEVILLE — Tickets for theFayetteville Force'sopening game, sold fast and furious. About 3,000 hockey fans turned out for Thursday night's game at Crown Coliseum. However, those numbers may melt once the Hurricanes hit the ice in Raleigh.

A handful of fans say they will be lured north by the Hurricanes, but many say there's too many reasons to get their hockey at home.

Fayetteville Force fans are enthusiastic and loyal. But for the first time, fans will have a tough choice. Big league, NHL hockey, will be played in Raleigh this year.

"I'll try to get to a couple games, but it's easier to come here to Fayetteville. I live here in Hope Mills. It's a lot closer than having to drive all the way to Raleigh, and I can see the Hurricanes on TV," says hockey fan Jaime Hilliard.

"I'll probably come to the same amount of games I have here. I may go up to a few in Raleigh. This is a lot closer. It's only about 15 minutes from my house, it's easier to get here," says hockey fan Shannon McBee.

It is not just the short drive that fans like about hockey in Fayetteville; they also like the price.

Force fans pay $8 to $12 a ticket while Hurricanes tickets cost$17 to $99.

Despite all that, some fans say they will probably see fewer Force games because they will go to a few Hurricanes games.

"I'm interested in seeing some of the big boys," says hockey fan Phaedra Israel. "I'm interested in hockey a lot. I like hockey. There wasn't much around here until the Force came. I'd like to go to Raleigh a lot to see it.Wayne Memorial Hospitalused to give free medical supplies to five volunteer rescue squads, who in turn, provided free service, but I'm also going to stay here and support the Force."

Crown Coliseum officials were hoping to have a crowd of 4,000 to 4,500 fans show for the Force's opening game. About 3,000 fans showed up.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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