Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes are becoming more and more acquainted with the team's Chief Executive Officer and Owner. It seems they may become even more familiar with him in the near future.
Local interviews with Peter Karmanos have been pretty rare in the past, but he made himself available to the club's press corp after the recent Ron Francis press conference and he also had an interview with John Forslund, which was televised during the intermission of the Hurricanes game in New York, near the end of the season.
While having lunch with the media after the Francis press conference, the owner said that he was buying a place in Raleigh and would be taking over his team's business operations. The former Compuware CEO should have the necessary time for this since he retired from his business in March 2013 and was terminated from his post-retirement consulting position for the company in October of 2013.
Karmanos has not always given the most politically correct interviews and he angered some fans when he stated that they needed to be more patient when asked about future attendance.
This week we ask our round table the following question:
Peter Karmanos said that he will be spending more time in Raleigh and will be actively involved in running the business operations of the Hurricanes. Is this a good thing or bad?
Cory Lavalette - Editor
There's no denying that Karmanos is a brilliant business mind. On top of the success of his old company, Compuware, Karmanos had the foresight to envision the Triangle as a legitimate hockey market. Furthermore, Karmanos has often been cited as an absentee owner, a charge that will disappear if he becomes as involved as he plans to be.
If you look at his history, Peter Karmanos has done some damn fine things in his life. He co-founded and help build Compuware into a thriving software company with revenue over $1 billion annually. He is a big contributor to cancer foundations, his home community of Detroit and youth hockey programs at many levels. And he was the person who moved a struggling NHL franchise to Raleigh, North Carolina that ended up winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. If this is the Peter Karmanos we are getting, the Carolina Hurricanes and Raleigh area is getting a man that can be a real benefit to the team and to the community.
But the issue is that while Karmanos does a number of good things, he lately has a way of being his own worst enemy when a microphone is in his face. When he’s given a chance to speak, he does so and doesn’t seem to have a "filter" like a lot of hockey and business executives have. In 2013, he publicly criticized Compuware’s new management team, which resulted in the cancellation of his consulting job for the company he helped found. And as recently as within the past month, he put the blame on injuries to their goaltenders for the Hurricanes woes and claimed this team could be competing for the division title if not for those injuries. These comments got some fans (myself included) a little up in arms and maybe questioning his sanity. Karmanos is a rich and powerful man that has earned what he has, but it might be wise if he allows others to do his public speaking for him in the future.
So will his move to Raleigh be a good thing? It certainly can be, but Karmanos needs to do what he said and stick with running the business operations. If he starts mettling (that’s for you Jamie, J) in the hockey side, things could go from bad to worse. I’m just concerned that Karmanos is moving here because he feels a little uncomfortable that he has a new General Manager without GM experience and he wants to "help" with the transition. If that is indeed the case, then his move to North Carolina will likely be a good thing for the community and a bad thing for the Hurricanes.
Brian LeBlanc - Editor
I have a good friend who, for many years and reasons unknown, has always referred to Peter Karmanos as "Uncle Pete." It's a perfect nickname for a man who pretty much checks all the boxes on the Wacky Uncle checklist: a devoted family man, a businessman of some renown, and a man who has a frustrating propensity to stick his foot in his mouth at inopportune moments.
It is a good idea, a long-overdue one, to separate the Canes' hockey operations from the business operations. At times Rutherford seemed a bit overwhelmed with all of the requirements of managing both simultaneously. There are already multiple executives in the Canes' front office who would be a good fit to head the Canes' business initiatives: Mike Amendola (club CFO), Dave Olsen (PNC Arena GM), Kyle Prairie (individual and group ticket sales VP), Doug Warf (marketing/Kids 'n Community VP). Any of these longtime members of the Canes' braintrust are qualified to lead the business office. Instead, Karmanos is intent on doing things his own way. We can only hope that his recent gaffes are an exception and not the face that the Triangle's only professional sports franchise will present to the community's movers and shakers.
Jamie Kellner - Phoblographer, Editor
My first inclination is to say Peter Karmanos can do whatever he damn well pleases, because it's his checkbook, and after all the man did bring NHL hockey to North Carolina along with a draft and an All-Star Game and a couple of game sevens and that silver shiny thing.