PNC Arena – Carolina Hurricanes
These ‘Canes Love Blowouts
2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Carolina Hurricanes arrival in the state of North Carolina. The former Hartford Whalers spent their first two season playing in the Greensboro Coliseum before moving to their permanent home at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. The team has had an impressive run in the Tar Heel State as they have been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, in 2002 and 2006. They won the Cup in 2006, becoming the first North Carolina team in any professional sport to win its’ league championship. The Hurricanes also made it to the 2009 Eastern Division finals and hosted the NHL All Star Game in 2011.
The PNC Arena opened in 1999 and seats 18,680 for hockey. It has 66 luxury suites, 13 loge boxes, 2,000 club seats and a 300-seat full service restaurant. Recent renovations have included the installation of an LED scoreboard and a double ribbon board that goes 360 degrees around the facility.
Food & Beverage 4
The PNC Arena offers one of the most diverse food and beverage operations in the NHL, with everything from a sit-down full-service restaurant to a pub style area in addition to the typical concession stand level of service. There are a total of 70 permanent or food cart locations within the arena. Each stand is outfitted with a flat screen TV to ensure that will not miss any of the action.
The top level of dining is available in the Arena Club Restaurant on the Club level. It offers both a buffet style option and a full steakhouse menu. It also offers a full-service bar with two 50-inch LED TV’s to watch the action while you have a drink. Reservations are required and it is open to all fans with club level seats.
The Foothills Locker Room Pub is located on the main concourse and overlooks the rink. It is open to fans at any ticket level. The Locker Room offers a wide variety of craft beers as well as typical pub-style favorites.
Along with the general concession stands, PNC Arena has a wide variety of specialty food providers. These vendors offer BBQ ($11), sausages ($10), nachos ($10), pretzels ($5.50), pizza ($6). The Twisted Waffle is busy all night with various ice cream products ($7)
The beverage menu includes bottled water ($5), Pepsi-branded sodas ($5.50), tea ($5) and a Carolina brand cherry soda known as Cheerwine ($5). Adult beverages include domestic drafts ($9), premium drafts ($12), craft beers ($10) and wine by the glass ($8).
The Hurricanes management has created a great environment for their fans to enjoy. The entry of the team onto the ice before the game is greeted with Hurricane Warning graphics on both the scoreboard and the ribbon boards surrounding the arena. In addition, a local celebrity is chosen to crank the storm siren before the game, anytime the “Canes score and at the end of a game when the locals are victorious.
There is continuous entertainment going on in between periods thanks to Stormy the Ice Hog (the team’s mascot) and contests conducted by the Storm Squad, which is much more attractive to watch. You will also be entertained by the Hurricanes version of a horn when a goal is scored. It will loosen your cavities.
The PNC Arena is somewhat isolated as far as walking to area restaurants. It is primarily a sports complex with the Carter-Finley Stadium and the North Carolina State Fairgrounds serving as its’ immediate neighbors. However it is located only three miles from downtown Raleigh, the capitol of North Carolina. Raleigh is filled with interesting museums, great restaurants and shopping opportunities. In addition, Durham and Chapel Hill are also located within a half hour drive. Sports-wise you can visit Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Durham Athletic Park (home of the Durham Bulls) in Durham or journey the short eight miles to see Kenan Stadium and the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
The hotels in the closest proximity to the PNC Arena are the Comfort Suites Arena and the Hyatt Place Raleigh West. Bars in the general vicinity include the Backyard Bistro Sports Bar and Spirits Pub and Grub.
The team’s fanbase is very loud and very loyal to the team. A vast majority will show up at a game in some form of red and black outfit, the team’s colors. They have taken many of the southern sports traditions and converted much of them to a hockey format. Before a game, it is not unusual to see many fans tailgating in the parking lots outside of the PNC Arena … something inconceivable North of the Border in January or February. Once inside they will do competitive cheers with one side chanting “Red!” and the other side responding with “Black!” Another chant starts with “Hurri…” with the other side of the arena completing the word with “Canes”. Just before the 3rd period the stadium cranks up the team anthem “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions, with the entire crowd singing along. It seems to really energize the team, as they have frequently come from behind in the third period.
Getting to PNC Arena is very easy, as it is located midway between downtown Raleigh and RDU Airport. It is clearly visible just to the south of I-40 at the Edwards Mill Road exit. Parking at the arena is plentiful. Once inside the arena you will find the concourses to be wide enough to provide a good flow of traffic, even between periods. The concession stands are evenly spread throughout the facility so that you should not encounter much of a line.
Return on Investment 3
Like all NHL arenas, there are a wide variety of ticket levels offered, none of which is inexpensive. The standard ticket prices at Hurricanes games run from $30 to over $300. Parking at PNC Arena is $20. The concession prices are quite reasonable considering the quality of the food. The team spirit items sold as The Eye team store are on par with most NHL teams. A wide variety of airlines provide service to the RDU Airport, which helps to keep airfares down. The airport is only 15 minutes away from the arena on I-40. Hotels near the arena are much less expensive than you will find in downtown Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill.
PNC Arena offers many extras beyond hockey:
The Hurricanes share the PNC Arena with the North Carolina State University’s men’s basketball program. It ranks as the 4th largest basketball facility in the ACC.
PNC Arena also serves as the busiest concert facility in the Research Triangle area. Among the artist who have performed in the area are Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, George Strait, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and Garth Brooks.
Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the NC State Wolfpack football program, is the next-door neighbor to PNC Arena.
One of the perks of having a hockey team in a temperate climate is that you can practice one of the favorite pre-game rituals in the South… tailgating. It is not unusual on weekends to see groups setting up in the parking lot hours before a game with a BBQ feast. Try to do that in Winnipeg or Edmonton in February!
The Carolina Hurricanes have proven over their 20-year existence that hockey in the South can succeed. They have gone to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, winning the Cup in 2006. The PNC Arena provides a great environment to watch this very competitive team.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
I&#039ve only been to this NHL arena, but I have been to multiple other arenas and stadiums for NBA, MLS, &amp NFL games so I do have a reference point to judge my experience. 12/31/2015 was my first NHL game at the PNC arena. Since then I&#039ve been back multiple times, mostly for the annual Star Wars night. I&#039ll start with parking which cost 20. Paying 20 to park really stinks and your only other options would be to get dropped off or to park miles away and walk. There are loads of concessions / retail spots around the arena that cater to the fans but they are weak in comparison to what I&#039ve experienced at NBA and NFL games. I&#039ve never been to a Hurricanes game and seen a sold out crowd. Most people at a Hurricanes game are true NHL fans. Maybe not Hurricanes fans because I always see tuns of rival team jerseys but NHL fans. Not much is done as far as giveaways but the jumbotron is always putting people up and keeping the out of date music going on the less than impressive sound system. If you&#039re a NHL hockey fan then you might enjoy yourself but the average person looking for something to do might find the environment expensive and a little boring at times.
In spite of the occasionally negative tone of the review above, a Hurricanes game is a great time. The building feels smaller than most in the modern NHL, and views even from halfway up the upper deck are good. The arena feels luxurious, and there is a genuine Southern friendliness in place that can’t help but warm the heart on a 75-degree November evening. In terms of atmosphere, amenities, and all the other stuff that you can rank on a report card, PNC Arena is middle-of-the-pack at best. But there are other forces at work here, and the best compliment I can pay to PNC Arena is that I’d be delighted to return any time there’s a hockey game on.
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