‘Canes facing huge potential fines over arena scheduling conflict

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The Carolina Hurricanes could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NHL because of a scheduling conflict at PNC Arena, president and GM Jim Rutherford told the Charlotte Observer.

The issues stems from a dispute between Gale Force Holdings — which owns the ‘Canes and operates the arena — and North Carolina State University, which will likely not meet a June 1 deadline to free up dates for hockey games.

“We do not have the dates,” Rutheford told the Observer on Friday. “We have to have the dates (to the NHL) by June 1 or we will be fined for each date that we later change.”

The Observer reports the NHL could fine the ‘Canes as much as $100,000 for each date that must be changed. The NHL is set to release its 2013-14 schedule in early July.

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Under its agreement with Gale Force and the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, N.C. State has priority on scheduling dates in the arena. The Wolfpack plays its men’s basketball games in the arena, and football games at Carter-Finley Stadium necessitate the use of the shared parking lots.

Rutherford, in a May 14 letter to authority chairman Thomas McCormick, said the university was holding out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 basketball and football games. He said the “new restrictions that N.C. State is attempting to impose” severely limits Gale Force’s ability to book events.

Tensions between the two parties have increased over the last few months. Rutherford wrote N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow a letter saying the University’s actions could affect “the viability of hockey in this market.”

N.C. State contends that it has made “significant concessions” to Gale Force already, and making more would put its athletic program at a competitive disadvantage.

Rutherford has recently met with N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson to try and resolve the issue, and said it was a “very good meeting.”

“We’re hoping to reach a reasonable understanding,” he added.