Despite much talk to the contrary, the Carolina Hurricanes are not a relocation candidate, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The Hurricanes have been the center of several discussions as it relates to NHL moves. The team currently ranks last in attendance, and owner Peter Karmanos Jr is reported to have placed a team on the market.
In the backdrop of this, several cities have been connected to the NHL in some way. Quebec City has been mentioned as a possible destination for a franchise on the move, particularly since the league passed over the city and its state-of-the-art Videotron Centre for an expansion franchise last year.
However, when discussing the issue during a press conference on Saturday, Bettman said that the Hurricanes are not slated to move. More from the AP (via ESPN):
Bettman says any sale wouldn’t mean the Hurricanes are leaving Raleigh for Quebec or anywhere else.
“Peter may sell, he may not sell,” Bettman said. “He may sell all of it. He may sell some of it. He may sell none of it. There’s no formal sale process going on. There’s no imperative for the franchise to be sold on any immediate basis, and the franchise is not moving. I hope that was definitive enough.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly echoed Bettman’s comments later, saying the league is committed to Raleigh in the same manner it has stuck with Phoenix during years of struggles for the Coyotes. And though Bettman and Daly didn’t mention it, relocation also wouldn’t command the mid-nine-figure fees paid by the new owners of expansion teams.
“It’s not all about money,” Daly said. “It’s about commitment to markets.”
The Hurricanes have been the subject of relocation talks for some time, something underscored by a News & Observer story that points out that Bettman made similar remarks in November 2015. It should be noted as well that the Hurricanes at PNC Arena runs through the 2024 season. The team moved to North Carolina from Hartford in 1997, spending two seasons at the Greensboro Coliseum until the then-Raleigh Sports & Entertainment Center opened in 1999.