Canes' Rutherford: It's not us vs. Wolfpack basketball

calexander@newsobserver.comJune 9, 2013 

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The Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford at a press conference held at the PNC Arena on Jan. 10, 2013.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— The scheduling conflicts at PNC Arena have wrongfully been portrayed as a dispute between the Carolina Hurricanes and N.C. State basketball, the Canes’ Jim Rutherford said Sunday.

Rutherford, the Hurricanes’ president and general manager, said a more important issue was the stewardship and successful operation of the arena by Gale Force Holdings, the company which owns the Canes and operates the arena.

“The much bigger picture is what we are asked to do, which is to run a first-class facility for community events,” Rutherford said. “This is not just about basketball and hockey.”

Gale Force has claimed N.C. State used its priority on scheduling dates to lock down an excessive number of slots for a small amount of games. In a letter Rutherford sent last month to the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, he said NCSU held out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 football and men’s basketball games, making the scheduling of other events – wrestling shows, concerts, etc. – more difficult.

Rutherford said last week the Hurricanes might be liable to NHL fines. The league requires teams to turn in their dates by June 1, and any changed date after the deadline could result in a $100,000 fine.

Rutherford said Sunday two dates submitted by the Hurricanes to the NHL remain in question.

N.C. State released information Saturday that said the university initially held 91 dates out of a possible 192 for 23 football and basketball games. Chancellor Randy Woodson said NCSU had been reasonable in first holding and then releasing dates, saying the Pack was trying to build a championship basketball team and needed scheduling flexibility.

“What we were asked to do by the Authority is to operate the building as a community building and put as many events in it as possible,” Rutherford said. “That’s what we’ve done, and we think we have done a good job with it. That’s what we’re supposed to continue to do.”

Rutherford and Woodson will meet in the next two weeks in attempts to resolve the issues. Rutherford said he will have no further comment until after the meeting.

“From the time this went public, people have been twisting their side of it, and frankly it’s not accomplishing anything,” he said. “It’s been spun into Wolfpack against Hurricanes, and it shouldn’t be.”

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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