The delayed outdoor Carolina Hurricanes game at Carter-Finley Stadium appears to be back on for next season.
“A little bit of news for you,” said Jeff Merritt, executive director of the Centennial Authority, which oversees PNC Arena. “The Winter Classic, the outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium, will be played in Raleigh in either December 2022 or January or February of 2023. So we’re just over a year away for that major event. We are really looking forward to that.”
Merritt was one of several speakers briefing the Raleigh City Council on the state of tourism in the city and Wake County on Tuesday.
“I am very happy to hear the Winter Classic is coming,” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said. “We’ve been trying to get that here for years. So that is great news.”
The Winter Classic is the NHL’s premier New Year’s Day outdoor game but the term is often used as shorthand for other outdoor NHL games; the Hurricanes were awarded, and will host, a Stadium Series outdoor game.
The game was originally scheduled for February 2021, the Hurricanes’ first outdoor game after years of negotiations with the NHL and N.C. State. However, in December 2020 the game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns as the NHL played a condensed, 56-game schedule, with limited attendance at first.
While some fans hoped to see the game this season, the NHL and Hurricanes agreed to postpone the game. This summer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it was a question of timing and stadium logistics.
Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said at the time the decision to postpone the game for a year was a mutual agreement “to assure a safe environment in front of a packed house at Carter-Finley Stadium,” The News & Observer previously reported. Via text message, Waddell declined to comment Tuesday.
Staff writer Luke DeCock contributed to this report.