RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Tom Dundon told ABC11 that the Carolina Hurricanes have not officially been given the go-ahead to host a hockey game at Carter-Finley Stadium but there's good momentum.
"We don't have it yet. We are in the running," Dundon said.
Talk about a game inside the NC State football facility surfaced Tuesday morning when a picture was posted on Twitter with cones in the shape of an ice rink on the stadium field.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Raleigh on Tuesday, but he made it abundantly clear that he was not in town to make any formal announcements about a Hurricanes game in Carter-Finley Stadium. But he definitely did not squash the hopes of people who want the game to happen.
"Yes we are taking it seriously and looking at the possibility," Bettman said.
Given the fervor with which Tom Dundon likes to pursue things he wants, don't bet against the game happening, perhaps as early as 2021. In fact, ABC11's Mark Armstrong said he'd be surprised if it didn't happen in 2021.
Next year's games are already scheduled, but with NC State's blessing and cooperation--something Bettman was very deferential about--start planning the party.
If given the approval from NC State, the Carolina Hurricanes would hope to incorporate the game into the 2020-2021 season.
"Absolutely. We are close," said Dundon. "I am very optimistic but it's not done, but I think we feel pretty strongly that it's going to happen in this town. Obviously, there are a lot of logistics you have to work out but we feel pretty good about our chances.
"This year is already over, next year is already planned, so your best case would be the following season," he added.
During his visit, Bettman was asked about the league and various commentators reactions to the team's now famous postgame Storm Surge victory celebrations. He spent some time Tuesday morning discussing that topic with the Hurricanes players and emerged fully convinced that the players legitimately enjoy it.
"I think (Dundon) has been an absolute ball of energy," Bettman said when asked about the Dundon era in Raleigh. "People call him a disruptor, an innovator, but he is looking to make things happen. He wants this team to be competitive; he wants this team to be a more important part of the community."
The fate of PNC Arena was also discussed during Bettman's visit. He met with the Centennial Authority and when asked about the building conceded that while it's held up nicely for being 20 years old, it needs a serious face-lift and upgrade to help secure a successful future for the franchise in Raleigh. That Dundon wants a new lease deal with PNC is not news. How ruthless he and the league will get to secure the upgrades and lease deal they want remains to be seen.