In his very short time as the Carolina Hurricanes’ majority owner, Tom Dundon has made quite the impression. He’s hoping to re-engage a unique community and wants his team to wear Hartford Whalers throwbacks.
It’s been a while since the Carolina Hurricanes have been good. 2018 marks the 12th anniversary of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup winning team. Should the Hurricanes not make the postseason, it will be the ninth straight season there will be zero playoff games in Carolina. How to solve their long-standing attendance issues has inspired a lot of think pieces, most of them abysmally awful.
However, new majority owner Tom Dundon seems committed to change that. Credit him for thinking outside the box on several issues. Dundon’s first crazy idea – let people sit wherever they want.
When is the last time you heard an owner suggest fans could sit in the owner’s suite? Hopefully, someone takes Dundon up on his offer.
More from Puck Prose
- Detroit Red Wings 2023 Rookie Camp Has Plenty of Ups and Downs
- This Columbus Blue Jackets rookie doesn’t want to be forgotten
- 2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup
- 3 reasons the Avalanche won’t win the Stanley Cup in 2024
- This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings
Obviously, there are two sides to this. On one hand, you have to feel bad for the season ticket holders. They’re the ones making a significant sacrifice to support their team. And someone from the upper deck, who paid far less for his ticket, could, in theory, sit next to them.
Something about this just doesn’t seem right. It would be interesting to hear a Hurricanes’ season ticket holders thoughts on this, though the team is apparently providing them with nice perks. So at least the Hurricanes are acknowledging the legitimate gripes season ticket holders might have with this.
However, on the other hand, this is brilliant. It gives fans an outstanding value. Let’s say you’re a family of four. Four lower bowl seats together would cost at least $120 ($30 a piece) for Tuesday’s game. Keep in mind tickets to Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators are even less expensive than usual because of the promotion. They rise to nearly $75 a piece for a Friday game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Being in the lower bowl would be a rare and enjoyable experience for that hypothetical family of four. And who knows? Maybe the family enjoys it so much, they want to become season ticket holders. That’s a win for the team, no matter how you look at it. Providing entertainment at a low cost is a solid way to for a business to gain consumers.
Dundon is hoping the promotion will get the lower bowl “energetic and packed”. If nothing else, this will be a much better look on television than having a less than full lower bowl. This is a very controversial answer to the attendance issues, but at some point, the Hurricanes have to start thinking outside the box to get the community engaged again. So credit Dundon for doing what a lot of owners would never do.
It should come as no surprise Dundon is friends with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Much like Cuban, the Hurricanes majority owner seems to be described as a fan who happens to won the team. He’s not afraid to take chances. There are a few downfalls to this, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an owner who wants nothing more than to see the team do well.
Most importantly, Dundon is open to the Hurricanes honoring the Hartford Whalers, potentially with alternate jerseys.
"“I think we should have a store that sells that Whalers merchandise online and we should explore playing games in that jersey and selling that gear. It’s part of the legacy.”"
This calls for some festive music.
There we go.
You rarely see teams be proud of their legacy. The Indianapolis Colts didn’t want anything to do with the Baltimore Colts, except to occasionally trot out old players for publicity stunts. You’ll see Negro League baseball players from Washington, D.C. honored at Nationals Park, but you don’t see much, if anything, dedicated to the Montreal Expos.
Seeing Dundon care about the history of the Hurricanes franchise is, from an objective observer who has no ties to Carolina, awesome. And seriously, who doesn’t love the Hartford Whalers sweaters? It’s been far too long since they’ve been seen on the ice.
Dundon has a lot of work to do. He’s got to generate interest in the Hurricanes. And Dundon has to do it with a community understandably frustrated with how the past eight seasons have gone. So far, his creative problem solving and outside the box thinking has him looking good. Maybe he could be the Mark Cuban of the NHL. One can only hope.