Leg­is­la­tion could boost Hur­ri­canes’ hopes of host­ing out­door game

The Herald Sun - - Front Page - BY CHIP ALEXAN­DER [email protected]­sob­server.com

Pend­ing leg­is­la­tion to al­low “one-time” al­co­hol sales at state univer­sity ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties would move the Carolina Hur­ri­canes closer to host­ing an out­door hockey game at Carter-Fin­ley Sta­dium.

While gen­eral man­ager Don Wad­dell said Wed­nes­day no for­mal bid has been submitted by the team to the NHL, the Hur­ri­canes clearly want to host an out­door game and are work­ing through the lo­gis­tics to help make it hap­pen. He said there is no pro­posed date as yet al­though the Canes would like it “sooner rather than later, in the next cou­ple of years for sure.”

The N.C. House was ex­pected Wed­nes­day to take up its amend­ments to Se­nate Bill 469, one of which in­cludes a pro­vi­sion to al­low the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks at a “spe­cial event” in­volv­ing “a pro­fes­sional sports or­ga­ni­za­tion” in a venue within the Univer­sity of North Carolina sys­tem. Cur­rent law pro­hibits al­co­hol sales at state-owned ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties with the ex­cep­tion of a spe­cific ex­emp­tion for the Blue Zone at North Carolina’s Ke­nan Sta­dium, al­though there are work­arounds to al­low al­co­hol con­sump­tion in N.C. State’s lux­ury seat­ing at Carter-Fin­ley and N.C. State events at PNC Arena.

The pro­vi­sion stip­u­lates a spe­cial event one-time per­mit “to al­low the re­tail sale of malt bev­er­ages, un­for­ti­fied wine, for­ti­fied wine, or mixed bev­er­ages for con­sump­tion on the premises at a pro­fes­sional sport­ing event held at sta­dium with a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of at least 40,000 peo­ple.” If passed by the House, the bill would go back to the Se­nate for an­other vote, some­thing that could take place as soon as Wed­nes­day night.

Mean­while, the Hur­ri­canes con­tinue to press the is­sue with the NHL and N.C. State. Hur­ri­canes owner Tom Dun-

THERE’S LOT OF HUR­DLES AND (AL­CO­HOL) IS OB­VI­OUSLY ONE OF THEM. THE NHL, AT TH­ESE OUT­DOOR GAMES, HAVE BIG AL­CO­HOL SPON­SORS. SO OB­VI­OUSLY THAT WAS A FIRST STEP THAT HAS BEEN PRE­SENTED.

Hur­ri­canes GM Don Wad­dell

don said in Oc­to­ber that the game would most likely hap­pen out­side the NHL’s Sta­dium Se­ries or Win­ter Clas­sic mar­ket­ing um­brella.

“We’ve talked to (NHL of­fi­cials) about get­ting on the sched­ule for a game,” Wad­dell said. “There’s prob­a­bly 20 teams try­ing to get on the same cal­en­dar for an out­door game. They haven’t made any com­mit­ment back to us.”

Wad­dell said the game could at­tract as many as 57,000 peo­ple at CarterFin­ley Sta­dium. It is not known how much rev­enue would be made – for the Canes, N.C. State or the league.

“There’s lot of hur­dles and (al­co­hol) is ob­vi­ously one of them,” Wad­dell said. “The NHL, at th­ese out­door games, have big al­co­hol spon­sors. So ob­vi­ously that was a first step that has been pre­sented.

“We started do­ing our due dili­gence and knock­ing things off the list that we can and al­co­hol was one that was pretty ope­nended, with no time frame on it. It’s if we do get a game we would able to sell al­co­hol in CarterFin­ley.”

Wad­dell said in­for­mal talks were held with ath­letic of­fi­cials at N.C. State to “see if they were open to the idea” of us­ing Carter-Fin­ley for an out­door game.

“It would be good pub­lic­ity for them, es­pe­cially it be­ing a na­tional TV game,” Wad­dell said. “They’d get recog­ni­tion for N.C. State and the univer­sity.”

An N.C. State spokesman said the univer­sity was not ac­tively in­volved in the al­co­hol leg­is­la­tion but re­mained sup­port­ive of the Hur­ri­canes’ plans to use Carter-Fin­ley and the ben­e­fits the event would bring to the com­m­mu­nity.

Wad­dell said no for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions on a po­ten­tial deal will be­gin un­til “we get through some of the hur­dles we know we have to get over.”

ADAM HUNGER AP

The Rangers’ Jimmy Ve­sey, left, bat­tles with Buf­falo’s Jack Eichel dur­ing the Win­ter Clas­sic in New York on Jan. 1. A bill to al­low liquor sales for pro sports ex­hi­bi­tions at N.C. univer­sity sta­di­ums could boost chances for a Hur­ri­canes game at Carter-Fin­ley Sta­dium.

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