The sale of the Carolina Hurricanes to billionaire Thomas Dundon was made official earlier this month and the new owner is wasting no time putting his stamp on the franchise.
With the Canes sitting with the lowest attendance percentage relative to arena capacity in the NHL at 69.3 per cent, according to ESPN, Dundon is trying an approach that he hopes will create a louder, playoff atmosphere inside PNC Arena.
Carolina returns from its all-star break Tuesday night against the Senators and Dundon is inviting everyone to the lower bowl. Any fan who has an upper-bowl ticket for Tuesday’s game can move to an assigned seat in the lower bowl or even, if there is overflow, to a suite — including the possibility of a place in the owner’s suite.
“We’re going to let the people who want to come down and get a better experience. I think we’re going to run out of tickets so we’re going to have to open up suites,” Dundon told Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer.
“I think it would be awesome if there’s nobody up there but it might end up there’s a few because people have their preferences,” he said. “I’m hoping they all want to come down and get it closer and make it louder. That’s the goal, to make this more the playoff-type environment.”
Since the Hurricanes’ average attendance has been trending up since Dundon bought the team, this is an approach he hasn’t been able to try yet, but one he hinted may be used again in the future if it’s successful.
“I would expect we would do it again because I like the idea,” the owner told Alexander. “We’ll see how it goes and how loud it gets. If it’s loud and I think it’s an advantage I think we’re going to try and do it more. We’ll find out.”
The Hurricanes are 22-19-8 and four points shy of the last wild-card berth.