PNC Arena – Carolina Hurricanes
Rock You Like a Hurricane
The Carolina Hurricanes began playing at PNC Arena when the building opened in 1999. Prior to that, the Hurricanes played at the Greensboro Coliseum during their first two years in North Carolina.
The facility has gone by three names since it opened: the Entertainment and Sports Arena, the RBC Center, and now the PNC Arena.
The arena is located in West Raleigh and sits next door to Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the NC State football team. PNC Arena boasts 18,680 red seats for hockey, and is also the home of the NC State basketball team. Even though the venue is approaching 20 years old, it is still a modern arena for NHL hockey.
Food & Beverage 4
PNC Arena offers a wide selection of food and beverage choices, even though the prices are a bit high. However, there is no shortage of concession choices as you make your way through the concourses.
The permanent stands offer your generic stadium food: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, and peanuts. Bottled Pepsi products are sold at these stands, as well as Aquafina bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate, and Gatorade. Also, throughout the arena, you can find Cinnabon cinnamon buns and various ice cream choices.
Alcoholic beverages are offered in two sizes: $7.50 for a small and $11 for a large.
If you are a fan of BBQ, your best bet is to check out one of the several North Carolina BBQ stands scattered throughout the arena. These stands offer two favorites of mine: a BBQ sandwich ($11) and BBQ nachos ($10). Pair these with a sweet tea or a Cheerwine, and you are in business.
PNC Arena is your standard three level arena with a lower level, a middle club level and an upper level. All seats are cushioned and have cup holders. Suites are located at the top of the lower and club levels. There is a four sided center hung video board above center ice. It is small compared to many of the newer video boards, but rumor has it that the new Hurricanes owner wants to install a new video board next season (2019-2020) that runs from blue line to blue line.
The Hurricanes have an engaging mascot – Stormy, that is a pig. This is in reference to the great North Carolina Bar B Que culture. The Canes also have their own dance team – the Storm Squad, which engage the crowd and help get them pumped up for games. There are hurricane warning flags and graphics all throughout the arena. Before each game, a local celebrity (such as an area college coach) will crank the hurricane siren to get fans pumped up. At various times throughout the game, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions will crank up. The management does a great job of incorporating hurricane and storm related graphics and activities into the game day experience.
PNC Arena is built adjacent to Carter-Finley Stadium in West Raleigh near the NC State Fairgrounds. While there is plenty of parking and great tailgating, there is little to do within walking distance before or after the game. The only restaurant within walking distance is the Backyard Bistro, located across the street. This is a great place to hang out and get food and drinks before a game.
Since you will most likely be driving to the arena, be sure to visit the Angus Barn restaurant about nine miles from the arena, located near the RDU Airport. The Angus Barn is a sprawling upscale steakhouse in a barn-like setting with a wine cellar, lounge and cigar bar.
Area activities to consider are the NC Museum of Art and Park, which is about one mile from the arena, and the North Carolina state capitol building and museums in downtown Raleigh.
Back in the mid to late 2000s when the Hurricanes were in the midst of two Stanley Cup final appearances, tickets were hard to come by and the team was known for its loud and loyal fan base. However, the Canes have missed the playoffs for several years in a row, and attendance has waned and the atmosphere has dulled. The Canes still have a loyal following but no longer do you have near capacity crowds at PNC Arena.
The recent hiring of former player Rod Brind’Amour as head coach has given fans a renewed since of optimism. Tailgating is still popular among the Canes fans, so don’t be surprised to see several tailgate parties in the parking lots. While there was only 13,000 fans in attendance at our recent visit, fans were fired up, loud and into the game. Fans were chanting “Let’s Go Hurricanes,” doing the wave, and enjoying the new-found success under Rod Brind’Amour.
PNC Arena is easily accessible by car as it sits near the intersection of I-40 and I-440 in West Raleigh.
If you are flying into the area, the Raleigh-Durham airport is only 10 miles away and provides all the major airlines.
Parking is plentiful around the arena/stadium area and is $20 if you do not have a parking pass. Across the street at the fairgrounds, parking is free. There is now a tunnel under Trinity Road connecting the fairgrounds parking lot to the arena/stadium parking lots. This provides much easier access to the arena from the free parking areas. It is about a five-minute walk to the arena, and is our suggestion for where to park.
Return on Investment 3
Ticket prices range from $30 to $230 depending on location, and parking at the arena is $20. Concessions are expensive, but are on par with other arenas and the quality of food is good. However, one can make this a more reasonable experience by purchasing tickets on the secondary market for a considerably lower price and by parking at the State fairgrounds for free across the street.
PNC Arena has hosted the NHL All Star game, the Stanley Cup, and the NHL amateur draft.
The Hurricanes Homegrown Series takes place for six games during the 2018-19 season and features some the best food, beer, t-shirts, and music from the local community. Find more info here.
This 20180-2019 season, the Hurricanes have started coming back onto the ice after a win and doing their own version of the “Lambeau Leap” by skating down the ice and jumping onto the glass.
The arena has recently added phone-charging stations around the concourse.
The Carolina Hurricanes have missed the playoffs for several years now. However, when the building is full and the crowd is into the game, PNC Arena offers a great environment to watch NHL hockey.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
The an average atmosphere and venue for hockey. Access is very good but otherwise there wasn&#039t anything that stood out.
The Hurricanes management has created a great environment for their fans to enjoy.
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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