RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A warning for drivers this weekend – there will be lots of traffic near Carter-Finley Stadium for the National Hockey League’s Stadium Series outdoor hockey game.
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals will battle it out on the outdoor rink.
You can feel the anticipation at the stadium, where the NHL is gearing up for all the fans.
By 6 p.m. Saturday, the stadium is expected to be filled with 56,000 people.
Fans are already arriving from near and far.
“We’ve got a whole thing planned,” said Alex Everett, a Carolina Hurricane fan from Fuquay-Varina who came to see the game with his wife Sarah. “We’re cooking a lot of food, and friends and family will be over here to join in on it.”
They were among many fans who arrived early and decided to camp out nearby to beat the traffic.
“We knew that we had to get in here first and foremost because it’s going to be quite the weekend,” said Everett.
RJ and Erica Marquette, husband and wife Capitals fans from outside of Washington D.C., were also in the mix.
They told CBS 17 they’ve been to several other outdoor Stadium Series games, and that they take their RV all over.
“We’ve been in other stadiums where you literally wait in line for like half an hour, 45 minutes to even get out of the parking lot, and I think for me avoiding that is key,” Erica said.
The NHL said these fans had the right idea — with more visitors, comes more traffic.
To prepare for the crowds, they’re opening the lots early at 2 p.m. and holding events to spread people out.
“My advice for anybody coming to the game, come early. Just don’t wait until the last second. We have so much to do,” said Steve Mayer, an event producer and senior content officer for the NHL.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol tells CBS 17 there won’t be any road closures for the game, but they are expecting heavy traffic.
NCSHP said lanes closed because of the nearby construction will be opened early Saturday morning to accommodate the traffic.
Parking for the game
The NHL is encouraging people to buy pre-paid parking to keep the lines moving. They said information has been emailed directly to Stadium Series ticket holders.
Parking lots open at 2 p.m. Saturday and all parking is general admission, according to the NHL.
They said parking will cost $40, and fans should arrive early and be prepared for any stoppages near the stadium.
“Our hope is that people listen and people understand that all the lots around the stadium are a short walk,” said Mayer. “And usually we get great cooperation. We’re hoping we get the same here.”
The NHL shared a parking map that outlines exactly where you should park for the game.
Click here to download the parking map.
The NHL said all cars need to be out of the lots by 8 a.m. Sunday because of the NC State and UNC basketball game at PNC arena that day.