banner
Hurricanes

Hockey's popularity not overshadowed by hoops anymore

Posted April 9, 2009

Tobacco road.  College basketball is king in the triangle.  All of the attention is first devoted to the heralded, traditional, historical programs of North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State.  The attention amplifies in March and early April, especially if one of the locals is still playing.

"This is a hockey town now," Hurricanes TV voice John Forslund said Saturday after a 3-2 overtime win over Pittsburgh. "Players around the league know this, conversations that are held about Southeastern markets that are problems, the Hurricanes are out of that conversation."

Last Saturday, April 4 the Carolina Hurricanes entertained the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Both teams are neck and neck fighting for the fourth place spot in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage.  The 'Canes won in the extra period in front of 18,680 screaming fans.  It was an electric atmosphere....the same night North Carolina was playing Villanova in the Final Four in Detroit.

"It can happen," Forslund said. "That shows you how major league this area is becoming, it's not 8 thousand fans here and everyone staying home and watching the basketball game.  There are almost 20 thousand people here that still wish they were."

Surprisingly the Hurricanes attendance this season has ramped up as the college basketball season ramped up in February and March.  In the last 15 home games, attendance has only dropped below 18 thousand three times.  In those three games the attendance was still above 17 thousand.  Eight times in that span the crowd reached its 18,680 capacity.

The N.C. State men's basketball team shares the RBC Center with the Hurricanes.  The Wolfpack averaged only 13,372 fans in 16 home games (not including two home games played at Reynolds Coliseum).

The Hurricanes held an attendance average of 16,633 in the 2007-08 season, and is holding right near that mark this year at 16,524. 

General Manager and Vice President Jim Rutherford thought that Saturday night proved Raleigh is a big enough market for both sports.

"But we've had times even going back after we were here three or four years when Duke and Carolina would have a big game in the regular season and we had a game where we had a full house," Rutherford said Wednesday on 99.9FM The Fan ESPN Radio.  "A lot of the people that were at our game were watching the hockey game part of the time and then watching the televisions to see the basketball game."

Rutherford said the biggest difference from than to now is that he never saw that on Saturday, a night when North Carolina was playing in the Final Four.

But John Forslund summed up the coexistence of college basketball and professional hockey best.

"No one ever said the Hurricanes were here to supplant anything, the Hurricanes were here to take a place in the sports world."

And now the triangle is a college basketball hot bed, and also a hockey town.

 

 

25 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • tarheelskier Apr 10, 7:32 p.m.

    ^^"The Canes are Stanley Cup Champions, and have a good chance at repeating a run this year"

    Dude really??? The Canes won the Cup in '06.... That's like saying the NC State basketball team are NCAA champions.

    Hockey is not overshadowed by hoops anymore b/c hoops is over. Heck this post did not even start until hoops was over, I think that has to tell you something.....

  • tdd Apr 9, 6:59 p.m.

    Yes,there is life after b'ball y'all. Come on guys, The Canes are Stanley Cup Champions, and have a good chance at repeating a run this year. If you've never seen them play,you've missed alot of energy, excitement and enthusiasum. Let's get behind them and root them on, LET'S GO CANES !!!!!!!!!!!

  • CoolYourHeels Apr 9, 6:49 p.m.

    For the person who was asking, a JOMC major at UNC means Journalism & Mass Communication.

  • Bob Sidel Apr 9, 5:46 p.m.

    The only reason college sports get the hype they do in this area is because of the close vicinity of the schools and the rivalry amongst the alumni(not including UNC, 3/4 of their fans didnt go to the school). College sports are exciting but it is technically the minor leagues.

  • SubwayScoundrel Apr 9, 5:20 p.m.

    Growing up in the triangle I watched my share of Basketball, but I am a hockey fan first. I watch some BB but watch, go to, read, live, support the sponsors of the Canes. They are my team.

    I am proud of UNC, go to a lot NCSU football games and love the fact Duke is hear and Wake Forest is just down the road, but GO CANES !!!!!!!!

    And to the first poster.....yes....a hockey fan posted

  • foetine Apr 9, 4:53 p.m.

    the most telling part of this article is "The Wolfpack averaged only 13,372 fans in 16 home games." basically NC State built the RBC Center and now are not merely the tenant, but they're the lousy draw in their own house. They should have just figured out a way to air condition Reynolds instead of allowing themselves to be second class citizens. Ever see the crummy display case where NC State's NCAA trophies sit? My grandmother's Hummel collection is treated better.

    And watching basketball at RBC isn't nearly as intense as Reynolds. That arena was shaped for hockey. The Wolfpack were suckers who gave up all the advantages in that building.

    and if the Canes hadn't brought back Cole, that place would be half empty as the playoffs would once more be a dark time in the red house.

  • 2early4me Apr 9, 4:38 p.m.

    Anyone who doesn't think hockey is here to stay in this area is a fool!

  • 2early4me Apr 9, 4:35 p.m.

    I've been to all three venues (UNC,State,Duke). Nothing, NOTHING beats a Carolina Hurricanes playoff hockey game as far as the excitement and electricity in the atmosphere. I agree, this is something that all three fan bases can use to come together as one. With these three fan bases behind the team, no wonder we're considered one of the toughest and loudest places to play in the NHL. LET'S GO CANES!Bring the Cup back to Raleigh!

  • mroljill Apr 9, 4:23 p.m.

    Lerxst,

    Why make an asinine comment like that? Just to stir up trouble? Being a UNC graduate if figured you would be intelligent enough not to make comments like that but I guess I was wrong. Speaking of, if you are not a hockey fan then why were you reading the article and making a comment on it? Just curious. One last thing....what is a JOMC major? That is an honest question because I have been trying to figure it out and I have not a clue.

  • RedStatesManWatts Apr 9, 4:16 p.m.

    He's got that right. If we are not at the game then we are watching it on TV. My wife and daughter join my son and I in our "man cave" for every game on TV when we can't make it to the game! Everyone in full 'Canes gear! My family never misses a 'Canes game. Great sport, great home team who we love and the NHL puts out a grade A product. LOVE IT, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
    GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More...

 

 

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Falcons

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Oakland at Denver

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Denver at Cincinnati

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Devils

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
POR
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
SAC
Final
MEM 55
BYU 48
 
Final
BRAD 54
ARKLR 64
 
Final
CCST 55
BRO 67
 
Final
NW 63
ILLCH 46
Final
FSU 63
STET 59
 
Final
GWU 77
OHIO 49
Final
KNST 65
ELON 67
 
Final
ARKPB 70
SUTAH 61
 
Final
PSU 69
DART 49
 
2nd
UCI 72
UWGB 70
 
2nd
COL 71
DEP 54
 
2nd
PORT 64
L 34
 
Half
ABCHRIST 23
SCST 30
 
1st
PURD 25
GWEBB 20
 
1st
NKENTUCKY 18
IDAHO 12
 
1st
FORD 20
MAN 16
 
1st
OSU 34
UMO 9
 
1st
MSU 19
CITA 13
 
1st
GSOUT 20
TRUETT 11
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
ALAAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MNTER
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
BUCK
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
RMU
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
ETST
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
EKENT
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
ILLST
MAST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
KU
7:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIB
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNH
LIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
MERC
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
NORST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALCOR
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
NILL
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
OU
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
TOWS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
TENNM
7:00pm Tonight
VT
VMI
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
WMARY
7:05pm Tonight
IND
NO
 
7:30pm Tonight
UCONN
CLMB
7:30pm Tonight
STJ
LBSU
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
WOFF
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
CMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
CSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SIUE
CHIST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MICH
COPST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
FUR
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
GRAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULSA
INCWORD
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
LOYC
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
UNF
 
8:00pm Tonight
VANDY
PENN
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
SEMIZ
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
SOUTH
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAT
UAB
8:00pm Tonight
OKLA
WEBER
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
MURST
 
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
ORU
 
8:05pm Tonight
DRAK
SIMPSON
 
8:05pm Tonight
UMKC
TENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
COC
9:00pm Tonight
AFA
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
KSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
PROV
MIAMI
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UWMIL
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
NDAK
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
NE
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NNM
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
UCD
 
9:00pm Tonight
OREG
UCSB
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
WISC
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
LCST
 
9:05pm Tonight
PORST
WALLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
NEV
MARS
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
TAMCC
 
10:30pm Tonight
HOU
BSU
11:00pm Tonight
WICHS
LMU
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
TULA
11:00pm Tonight
SDST
UCR
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NAS
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
OTT
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
PIT
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
ARI
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAL
8:30pm Tonight
CIN
DEN