The Carolina Hurricanes will host the 2021 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Feb. 20.
An opponent will be announced at a later date for the Hurricanes, who will play their first outdoor game.
“We are thrilled to be bringing an outdoor game to Carolina, and in particular Raleigh,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche at Falcon Stadium at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Saturday. “It’s a testament to the great fan base that we’ve always known has been in the (Research) Triangle. It’s great to see the community reengage in the way they have over the last season. “(Hurricanes) attendance this year is up over 25 percent, and there’s no doubt that the fan base is passionate, connected, excited. And I think it’s a testament to the way the team’s playing, and to the efforts that (owner) Tom Dundon and the organization have put into hockey in the Triangle.”
Commissioner Bettman said Dundon, who became owner of the Hurricanes on Jan. 12, 2018, was relentless in his pursuit of an outdoor game for Carolina. He then expanded on that word.
“Actually, that gives it a little bit of short shrift. He has been relentless,” Commissioner Bettman said. “But more importantly, his main focus was, ‘I wanted to do this for the community. I want to do this for the fans. We’ve got a really good thing going, and I would like to be able to bring this to the triangle and to our terrific fans.'”
It will be the 12th NHL Stadium Series game and the 32nd NHL regular-season outdoor game.
“We’re proud to be the first NHL market in the Southeast to host an outdoor game,” Dundon said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make as many seats available as possible, because we know how high demand will be for this game, and the epic tailgate that will accompany it.”
Commissioner Bettman, mentioning the success of the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 1, said it will continue the NHL’s trend of having more teams participate in tentpole events.
“We’re very mindful of our experience on New Year’s Day in Dallas, where we had two so-called newer markets participating, and the reaction from the fans for both organizations was incredible,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Unbelievable, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. And we’re anticipating the same type of reaction as the Hurricanes host the next stadium series game.”
Carter-Finley Stadium, which is on the campus of North Carolina State University, will be the sixth college football stadium to host an NHL outdoor game.
In addition to the 2020 Stadium Series, the 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs was held at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan; the 2016 Stadium Series between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks was played at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota; the 2018 Stadium Series between the Washington Capitals and Maple Leafs was played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the U.S. Naval Academy; and the 2019 Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins was played at the University of Notre Dame Stadium.
“We think [Carter-Finley Stadium] is first notch, top notch. (N.C. State athletic director) Boo Corrigan has been amazing to work with,” said Steve Mayer, executive vice president and chief content officer for the NHL. “We think that we’re going to put on a great show. And really looking forward to it already. I mean, the second [the 2020 Stadium Series] ends, is when we start planning for next year.”
The other outdoor game that has been announced for next season is the 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which will be hosted by the Wild at Target Field in Minneapolis on Jan. 1, 2021. An opponent for that game has yet to be named.