One thing’s for sure, Tom Dundon and the Caroline Hurricanes are definitely doing things differently lately…
Dundon, the Hurricanes’ majority owner and CEO who made his billions by hawking subprime loans, has pulled some eyebrow raising moves since taking over the team in 2018. You may recall that he unceremoniously fired former GM Ron Francis, a Hurricanes franchise icon, and replaced him with someone already on the payroll, Don Waddell. Ditto for former head coach Bill Peters, as Dundon simply shifted assistant coach Rod Brind A’mour to the head coaching position.
Dundon was also amongst the first owners to lay off his staff amidst COVID-19 measures in mid March, giving employees just two days notice.
All of this is to say… Dundon isn’t exactly above making a controversial move if it’ll save him a few bucks. With that in mind, this next story should come as no surprise.
Hurricanes insider Luke DeCock reported earlier this week that Dundon and the Hurricanes are expected to end their decade long affiliation with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in favour of a more lucrative affiliation deal with the Chicago Wolves.
Check it out (courtesy of DeCock):
For a decade, the Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Checkers have been pulling on the same rope when it came to hockey in North Carolina. What was good for the NHL team was good for the AHL team and vice versa — especially last spring, when the Checkers won the Calder Cup and the Hurricanes got within a round of the Stanley Cup with help from several Checkers call-ups.
After a breakdown in the relationship between the two franchises, the Hurricanes are close to a long-rumored deal to move their AHL affiliation to the Chicago Wolves, with the Checkers presumably becoming the Florida Panthers’ top affiliate. The deal is expected to be finalized when the AHL season is officially canceled, which could come as soon as next week. That league has a conference call scheduled for May 8.
Fair play, right? This is business after all…
Well… yes and no. The fact is that the Hurricanes have not negotiated a new deal with the Checkers in good-faith. In fact, the Checkers haven’t heard from the Hurricanes at all.
Check out this statement issued by the Checkers earlier today:
*“While we are aware that the Carolina Hurricanes are nearing an affiliation agreement with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, the Hurricanes have had little dialogue with us regarding this matter. In an era when NHL teams are placing great value on affiliations with closer proximity between the two clubs, we understand the confusion that such a move would cause. We will explore other options for our affiliation and look forward to continuing in the American Hockey League when play resumes.”*
Stay classy, Tom Dundon.