Canes on the rise: Tom Dundon reflects on one year of ownership

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are on track to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and there's no doubt that Canes owner Tom Dundon has aided in that process. He recently reflected on his first year of team ownership.

"The goal was just that we ... you do things a certain way, you believe you're going to compete," Dundon said. "You believe you're going to win and the culture that Roddy has established is, I expected it. I think when you have the culture and you have the talent we have, that you have a high probability of doing pretty well."

A big part of that culture is "Roddy" -- Rod Brind'Amour - who stepped into his new role as head coach.

"I think it's the best thing we've done," Dundon said. "I was telling someone of all the people I've ever hired he might be the best person I've ever hired for a whole list of reasons: empathy and judgment and work ethic ... it turned out he's as good as we thought he'd be, probably better, and so he's the best thing, I think, he's the best thing we've done as an organization for sure."

In his first year as principal owner, Dundon kept a lot of his promises, the main one being improving fan experience.

"I think now the organization expects to win," he said. "I think the fans can feel it so when you come to a game, you expect good things to happen. It seemed to me when I got here that wasn't always the case. I don't think it was intentional but that was always the way it was. It felt like you were waiting for something to go wrong, and now you're expecting things to go right.

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"The quality of people, the organization and the community itself, it's been more than I could've asked for," Dundon added. "For lots of reasons, I'm really glad I did it. I have no regrets at all other than that 24 hours after, if we lose, thank goodness we're not losing a lot. It's no good at all."

The storm surge and the fan tunnel are two of the most notable things to come in the Dundon era that have helped to change the perception of the organization.

"I think this brand has changed and evolved and one of the best things about Rod was he loves the Carolina Hurricanes," Dundon said. "Not enough people shared that and he wants this brand to mean something to people. Whatever the perception of this team, this town or the Hurricanes meant, it's changed a little and we're going to keep changing it."

Earlier this month, Dundon became the new Chairman of the Alliance of American Football, which he believes can only help the Hurricanes organization.

"When you are part of an entity that has the reach that that league has and is continuing to grow, all of a sudden you combine some of those resources and hopefully gain an advantage," he said.

Dundon said bringing an AAF team to Raleigh would be convenient and something he would enjoy.

The plan for a hockey game to be played at Carter-Finley Stadium is also in the works, hopefully for the 2020-21 season.
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