Canes, NC State working to close scheduling conflicts

calexander@newsobserver.comJune 4, 2013 

— Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford was asked as many questions Tuesday about scheduling conflicts with N.C. State over the use of PNC Arena than about the new uniforms the Canes unveiled.

Discussions about the scheduling issues remained behind closed doors for several months, confined to meetings, email exchanges and letters. The conflict now has gone public, although both sides say the differences can be resolved.

“I would hope the two sides could meet and have a better understanding of how it’s worked over the past 13 years,” Rutherford said Tuesday. “When we sat down at that point in time we said, ‘This isn’t ideal for either side, but let’s try to figure out a system to make this work.’ ” The Hurricanes and Wolfpack have shared the arena since the 1999-2000 season. The arena is run by Gale Force Holdings, the Hurricanes’ parent company that runs the building and schedules events as well as absorbing any yearly operating deficits.

N.C. State has first priority on dates for its men’s basketball games and winter graduation ceremonies. But Rutherford and Gale Force claimed the university put a hold on too many dates for the fall, waiting for the ACC conference schedule to be released while the Canes faced a June 1 deadline by the NHL for turning in their dates for the 2013-2014 season.

NCSU chancellor Randy Woodson was out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment. University spokesperson Brad Bohlander said the university had released all but four dates through the end of the calendar year.

“We’ve confirmed nine nonconference (basketball) games and have released all but four dates that are needed by the university to complete the nonconference part of the schedule, an exhibition game and winter graduation,” Bohlander said.

“The university remains committed to working out whatever best benefits all parties as quickly as possible. Based on our 13-year experience of going through this process, we believe we can get this done with Gale Force.”

Rutherford said the Hurricanes submitted their dates, as requested by the NHL. He said the league can impose a $100,000 fine for any date change made after June 1.

It is not known if the dates turned into the NHL by the Canes are among the four not released by N.C. State.

In a May 14 letter to the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, Rutherford wrote the university was holding out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 basketball and football games.

“This is a unique situation,” Rutherford said Tuesday. “We respect the fact that N.C. State has priority dates and rightfully so. We came when people were talking about building (the) building. ... This building might not have been built if (the Hurricanes) hadn’t have come along. Certainly the $40 million that (Canes owner) Pete Karmanos put into it to upgrade the building helped get the building going.”

In an email sent Monday from N.C. State executive senior associate athletics director Chris Kingston to Davin Olsen, PNC Arena’s general manager, Kingston wrote NCSU had released every Friday and Monday from September to March – with the exception of two Fridays – to “support” the Hurricanes’ scheduling.

Kingston noted the men’s basketball schedule has been released by the ACC between Aug. 5 and Sept. 19 in past years and that N.C. State expected the same release time this year.

Bohlander said the university’s position is that such conflicts can be avoided in future years.

“It’s a negotiation,” he said. “It takes both sides to figure this out.”

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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