N.C. Hall awaits hockey

North Carolina's Sports Hall of Fame increased to 266 members with Thursday's induction of the six-person 2009 class.

The enshrined list includes athletes of all sorts, swimmers, runners, golfers, media types and even a referee or two.

Nowhere to be found is anyone with a hockey background. That should change soon. Under the 10-year state residency rule for non-North Carolina natives, former Carolina Hurricanes stars and current employees Ron Francis and Glen Wesley will be eligible for consideration in the 2010 voting.

Wesley, a native Canadian, arrived with the Hurricanes when the team relocated from Hartford, Conn., for the 1997-98 season. Francis, also from Canada, played his first game for Carolina a season later. But with the home games in Greensboro until the start of the 1999-2000 season, most of the players didn't actually move to North Carolina until the RBC Center was ready for use in that 1999-2000 season.

The NFL Carolina Panthers, who began play in 1995, haven't had a huge impact on the N.C. Hall. The organization's only representative is owner Jerry Richardson, but defensive star Julius Peppers is a safe bet to be inducted sometime in the future.