The sale of the Carolina Hurricanes has become official, with Thomas Dundon taking over a majority stake in the franchise. While former owner Peter Karmanos retains a minority stake for the time being, Dundon was introduced to the media today and has already promised to improve several aspects of the team. Just after the press conference with Karmanos and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the team released a letter from Dundon to fans:
As the opportunity arose to become the majority owner of the Carolina Hurricanes and I began analyzing the organization, the one thing that immediately jumped out to me was that with the collection of young talent already on the team, we can compete now.
As I spoke to people from across the NHL, they all identified that core of young players, the head coach and the general manager as major assets. I am convinced that the Hurricanes not only have an opportunity to win now, but to be competitive year in and year out going forward.
In the recent months, I’ve spent a lot of time around the team, and we’ve worked to identify areas to better support our athletes and help improve our on-ice performance. Among the changes we can act on immediately will be adding resources for our training and analytical staffs, as well as finalizing a deal for a new state-of-the-art training facility for our athletes.
I’ve also been working closely with the team’s business staff, to increase the entertainment value for our fans at every game. We’ve developed many great ideas and we’re going to be extremely aggressive in our efforts to enhance the in-arena experience. I want PNC Arena to be absolutely rocking every night — a place you love to watch a game, our players love to play a game and our opponents fear.
In only a few months, I’ve quickly realized how much passion there is in this market for this team, and I take very seriously the responsibility to ensure that this community has the team and entertainment experience it deserves. I recognize and share the expectations you have for the Hurricanes, as well as the fact that we have not always met them. My commitment is to meet and exceed your expectations, and that starts now.
While any new owner of a sports franchise says similar things upon taking the reins, here are some things that can be sussed out of his statement. First and foremost, it seems as though Dundon has no intention on changing the roles of either GM Ron Francis or head coach Bill Peters. Both, as he states, are major assets for the club and have proven it recently with the team acquiring plenty of talent and finally competing in the cutthroat Metropolitan Division.
The Hurricanes sit at 20-15-8 on the season, just five points out of second place in the division and ahead of schedule in terms of their young players. The team is set up for several years of success with their young core, though overcoming the rest of the Metro will be as difficult as ever.
Dundon also seems committed to increasing the analytical and sports science programs for the Hurricanes, something that more and more clubs around the league are moving towards. Though obviously there is no clear indication on what impact any changes would have, fans should be impressed with the immediate involvement that Dundon wants to make.
At the press conference, which Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer reported live from on Twitter, Bettman stated that an outdoor game in Carolina is “not out of the question” and that Dundon had already asked about it. Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the NC State football team, is directly across the street from PNC Arena where the Hurricanes play and could be a potential venue for an outdoor game in the future.