Source: Hurricanes to host next season

Updated: April 7, 2010, 6:56 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday to announce the 2010-11 NHL All-Star Game is being awarded to the Carolina Hurricanes, a source told ESPN.com.

The NHL issued a news release Wednesday saying Bettman would be joined for an announcement by Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, general manager Jim Rutherford and captain Eric Staal.

Rutherford told The Associated Press the team will host an All-Star Game at the RBC Center in one of the next three seasons, though he didn't confirm which year.

The franchise hosted the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, and the area has since added more high-end hotel rooms and opened a new convention center that the league had said were needed to attract the All-Star Game.

"This is a big announcement for us," Rutherford said Wednesday. "We had a very successful draft in Raleigh. We've had some good runs in the playoffs. People that come to our market are excited about being here.

"Now that we have a new convention center and more hotels and all the things the league told us we'd need, we're in position to get it. It's very exciting for us and our fans and the market."

Rutherford said the franchise told the league when it applied for the game that "our preference was sooner than later."

Bettman has said in the past that the franchise would host an All-Star Game, though he refused to specify when. The franchise has done its part to generate interest with a couple of deep playoff runs, reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 2002 and winning the Cup in 2006 before reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season.

Local officials have also taken care of several other concerns the league had about Raleigh. A new 500,000-square-foot convention center opened in September 2008, while the area has also added nearly 800 four- and five-star hotel rooms in the past three years.

In addition, several other prominent hotels in the area have performed significant renovations and upgrades, said Scott Dupree, vice president for sports marketing for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"These were the type of developments in our hospitality community that had to take place in order for us to ever host an event like an NHL All-Star Game," Dupree said. "These are things the market needed."

There was no All-Star Game this season because of the Vancouver Olympics.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.