Local News

Hockey: Will it Work?\

Posted May 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— There's at least one good reason behind Peter Karmanos' plans to move his hockey team: It has been losing about $15 million a year in each of the past three years.

How could an NHL team take a multi-million dollar loss each year in the middle of hockey territory? Jeff Jacobs, a columnist for theHartford Courantnewspaper, says that the team's fans were loyal, but they were split between teams from other major cities. Whalers fans were also turned off by the team's 15 losing seasons in 18 years of play in Hartford, Jacobs says.

With the projected price of a single ticket to a Hurricanes game averaging $50 a seat (Karmanos said Tuesday the lowest would be "probably $20), will the Carolina Hurricanes take the Tar Heel state by storm?

By comparison, average single game ticket prices for professional baseball, football and basketball is substantially less than the $50 average ticket price projected for Hurricanes tickets.

For the minor league Raleigh Icecaps, where a single ticket sells for about five bucks, it has been a challenge to fill the stands. Hockey fans have been almost non-existant at some games in Dorton Arena. The Icecaps' Rick Barkovich told WRAL-TV5's Bret Baier that his people are at a loss to explain why attendance is so low at their hockey games.

Jacobs said that the Whalers share the Hartford sports spotlight with college basketball. For Karmanos, it may be a shootout for his team to score a profit while playing in the heart of ACC basketball country.