Founded in 1972, the team began play as a member of the now-defunct American Hockey League (AHL) and played its games in Hartford, Connecticut. After joining the National Hockey League, the new franchise remained in the Nutmeg State and changed its name to the Hartford Whalers.
It remained in New England for the next eighteen years. And then this squad got an opportunity to move south and develop a new fan base.
When PNC Arena opened in 1999, the team that was still known as the Whalers moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and changed its name to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Their new arena, one of the largest in the American South has many amenities for fans and seating capacity for different sports and other types of entertainment.
For instance, this sports and entertainment venue seats eighteen thousand six hundred eighty fans for ice hockey. Capacity for basketball is even greater. The arena can accommodate even more people, nineteen thousand seven hundred twenty-two fans, for basketball, professional or college.
Graphic via thepncarena
Concerts are a popular and frequent form of entertainment at PNC Arena for good reason. There is room for nineteen thousand five hundred fans, a fact that pleases the big name music stars that appear here.
When the Whalers became the Hurricanes in 1999, PNC Arena had a much different name. At that time, it was called the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena. That name lasted through the 2002-2003 Season. When league play began anew the very next year, the building housing the Hurricanes was known as the RBC Center.
There was no new name change for ten full years. But, in 2012, PNC Bank, a large, regional financial institution bought the naming rights so that since that time, the Carolina Hurricanes have been playing all of their home games in the PNC Arena.
While the Hurricanes are the only permanent, full time tenant, the North Carolina State Wolf Pack, a Division One NCAA Men’s basketball team, play several home games per season at PNC Arena.
They tend to draw well because college basketball is popular with fans in this southern city. And fans who attend basketball or hockey games can always expect to be treated well.
Regular seats are comfortable and there is ample leg room for all who attend games. For people who want “something better,” the arena offers access to sixty-six luxury suites and two thousand Club seats. The arena also has three concourses with lots of different food choices.
There is even a three hundred seat restaurant serving regional cuisine as well as food of a more basic nature. Prices at the restaurant and at fast food stands on the various concourses are reasonable and, for the most part, affordable.
Ice hockey, the “sport of the north,” has found a home in this beautiful southern city.
Graphic via youtube