Carolina Hurricanes set to welcome more fans after all for series vs. Nashville Predators

Gentry Estes
Nashville Tennessean

Turns out that more Carolina Hurricanes fans will be allowed into PNC Arena after all for the Stanley Cup playoff series against the Nashville Predators.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Friday lifted state restrictions on indoor events and social distancing, which will allow the Hurricanes to welcome about 12,000 fans in for the playoffs, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. That total is nearly double the expected capacity of roughly 6,000 that the newspaper reported earlier this week.

With the Predators allowing 12,135 fans in Bridgestone Arena for the playoffs, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour had referred to such a discrepancy as a "big advantage" for the Preds in the series.

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State senators in North Carolina – citing the hockey series and the Preds' increased capacity – publicly implored Cooper to move up a timetable to ease restrictions, according to WRAL in Raleigh. Those restrictions had been expected to be reduced on June 1 anyway.

"The Governor's a big hockey fan," Hurricanes GM Don Waddell told the News & Observer's Luke DeCock. "I know he heard about it from a lot of people on social media."

Like the Preds, the Hurricanes must work with the NHL regarding attendance.

To adhere to NHL restrictions about airflow in arenas, the Predators "kind of re-engineered our whole (HVAC) system" to double the amount of outside air being brought into Bridgestone, according to Preds CEO and president Sean Henry.

Reach Gentry Estes at and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.