As the Carolina Hurricanes are getting ready for the Eastern Conference Final (ECF) matchup against the Florida Panthers, it marks five consecutive years of playoff appearances for the Hurricanes.
Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Executive Director Scott Dupree says the impact of the playoff run goes far beyond the ice.
"The economic impact of a Stanley Cup playoff run is significant, there's no doubt about it," Dupree explained. "Lots of people coming to town for these games who want to see playoff hockey fans coming from out of state, more media members coming there, filling our hotels, our restaurants, our retail stores, and we don't have the specific numbers on it yet, but we're talking about numbers in the range of several million dollars.
Visitor spending of new money comes into the market every round that the Canes advance and it increases with every round. And, just to give you some perspective, the last time the Canes were in the Stanley Cup Finals, the economic impact of just the final series was $5.5 million, and that was just for the final four games. Now, that was 17 years ago. So, when you're talking about playoff hockey, you're talking about a major economic engine.
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Dupree says besides the economic impact, a playoff run also does a lot to unite the community.
"We live in the best market in America for college sports, and it's wonderful, but the rivalries run so deep. And, with the Hurricanes, it feels like everyone, no matter their collegiate allegiance, is on the same page everybody is on the Canes train, so to speak."
Dupree adds with five consecutive years of playoff appearances, it's also about respect.
"The deeper the Canes go in the playoffs each year, the more respect and recognition they earn in the hockey world on a national level. Secondly, is the continued establishment of Raleigh as a premier hockey market, not just an NHL hockey market, but a leading NHL hockey market. Third, I would say it's the quality of life factor in this region. The Cane's popularity has never been higher. The fan base has never been larger and the levels of excitement and anticipation have never been higher. It's absolutely incredible to me how far this franchise has come in the last five years since Tom Dundon purchased the team and named Rod Brind'amour, the head coach. since that day, the franchise has been doing nothing but winning and winning big."
The Carolina Hurricanes will have home-ice advantage for games one and two in the ECF.
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