Tom Dundon has assumed full ownership of the Carolina Hurricanes, but what will that mean for the team moving forward?
Dundon, in an interview Thursday, discussed his plans during a Q-and-A with the News & Observer.
Q: What are your thoughts on taking over full ownership?
A: “It’s not much different. We had partners and it was fine. The way the NHL works, if you’re control owner you get to make the final decisions. During that whole process everyone was supportive of everything we did, so it was never anything but a positive.”
Q: Does this change anything in the way you want to run the team?
A: “There’s no changes. It has not been been an issue at all.”
Q: What more can be said about Peter Karmanos and his long involvement with the team?
A: “Look, he’s the reason it’s here and we’ve had a lot of success. When we took over, when I got here, it was definitely headed in the right direction. Pete’s been a good friend and really helpful in the whole transition.”
Q: You want to win a Stanley Cup. What’s missing, what’s needed?
A: “I think we have to stay competitive, stay in the top percentage of the league every year. You hope that at some point you get the right thing to happen at the right time. Once you get into a playoff format with a small sample size, more random things have a bigger impact on the outcome. During the regular season, assuming you’re healthy, the better teams tend to make the playoffs. But once you’re in the playoffs it’s such a short series that the outcome is less about how good you are (in the regular season) but more how good you are and what happens in that exact moment. So we have to be there enough times with good players and good coaches and I think eventually we’ll get on the right run we need to win.”
Q: Personnel wise, does anything need to change?
A: “We went past ‘need’ a long time ago here. We’re now on to things we want and we want to be better everywhere. As far as getting significantly better players than what we have, that’s hard. But on the margins, everywhere, even the individual players can do better and they work on that, or you find a better player here or there. But I don’t think there’s any one place where we have a problem or a disadvantage.”
Q: Do you believe you will re-sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton?
A: “I hope so but I don’t know.”
Q: How have the discussions gone with Hamilton’s representation? Are you close to an agreement or would you call it far apart?
A: “I’m not sure. I think it’s early. The way free agency works, it all tends to happen later in the process. I know we like him and he liked being here so that’s a good start. But after that, fitting really good players into the salary-cap structure is always going to be a challenge. That’s not changing.”
Q: With Andrei Svechnikov, do you think he will sign a shorter “bridge” type contract or a longer deal?
A: “I’m not sure, We’ve talked about it and I expect him to be here for a long time, so we’re pretty flexible on how to structure things. But ultimately the goal is just to have him here and I think we will.”
Q: What went into the postponing of the outdoor game?
A: “We’ve had talks about that for a long time. If you think about where COVID was and where we were with fans and not having fans or limited fans, all the discussions are do you push to move it one year among the uncertainty or do you allow for flexibility? We were pretty flexible, knowing next year (2022) has some increased risk of not being able to do it right. So we kind of left it in the hands of the league to decide what would be best. But we were open-minded either way. I don’t think there were any bad outcomes there.”
Q: You’re on the verge of finalizing the new lease for PNC Arena. What changes would you like to see with the arena the next couple of years?
A: “We’re hoping we can work with the city and county and do a development around PNC (Arena). I think we can make it a really unique entertainment area. That’s always been the goal and I think were going to get to work on that now.”
Q: Financially, how big a loss did the pandemic cause for you?
A: “I’m probably lucky in that even though it wasn’t great, I’m still here and we got through it.”
Q: What was the purchase price Wednesday? How big a check did you write?
A: (laughs) “I don’t really know. I think whatever the original deal was is pretty much what the deal ended up being. Pretty close.”