According to a report by 98.5 Sports in Montreal, Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos wants to get his money out of the team, even if it means the ‘Canes are sold and relocated.
The question all along has been whether Karmanos can find a new owner that’s willing to keep the team in Raleigh.
Karmanos, who moved the franchise from Hartford in 1997, has guaranteed that “the Hurricanes will not become the Nordiques.”
But the 73-year-old has also been trying to sell the team for quite some time.
“I’m looking for the proper way to make sure the team has continuity, hopefully with people in North Carolina,” he said in 2014.
Like Karmanos, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has insisted that the ‘Canes are not going anywhere.
The relocation speculation is only natural, however, when Quebec City has a brand new arena with no team, while at the same time Carolina is sitting dead last in NHL attendance (11,189).
Moreover, moving the ‘Canes — an Eastern Conference team — to Quebec City would not further imbalance the league’s conferences. Quebecor’s recent bid for an expansion team was in part deferred for geographical reasons.
“Unfortunately the state and volatility of the Canadian dollar undermined the achievement of that objective relative to the Quebec City,” said Bettman. “Moreover, the league’s geographic imbalance with 16 teams already in the Eastern Conference and 14 — now to be 15 — teams in the Western Conference undermined the achievement of that objective relative to Quebec City’s application, as well.”
The ‘Canes host the Montreal Canadiens tonight, making today’s report all the more pertinent back in Quebec.
Hurricanes president Don Waddell declined to comment when contacted by Montreal’s La Presse newspaper.