Count Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the United States, among those who were impressed with how the Triangle handled NHL All-Star weekend.
During an interview this morning at downtown Raleigh's Cardinal Club, Doer said he'd heard nothing but praise from visiting Canadian hockey fans and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who he watched the All-Star game with.
"Three cheers to the community," Doer said.
Doer said he knew he was in good hands when he walked into the RBC Center and the band was playing Randy Bachman's "Taking Care of Business." Like Doer, Bachman is a native of the Canadian province of Manitoba.
(Doer was the province's premier before being named ambassador in 2009.)
Doer described Sunday as a "Chamber of Commerce Day," because of the weather and the hospitality.
"When you can golf in winter and watch hockey that's a Canadian's idea of a good time," he said.
While in town, Doer met with both Gov. Bev Perdue and Sec. of Commerce Keith Crisco.
Canada is North Carolina's largest trade partner.
In 2009, more than 443,000 Canadians made overnight visits to North Carolina, spending $123 million.
A total of 118 Canadian companies have locations in North Carolina.
Doer said increasing tourism and connecting Canadian's high-tech, pharmaceutical and biotech industries with the Triangle region are two potential growth areas.
One of Canada's most innovative companies, Blackberry maker Research in Motion, has announced plans to open an office in the Triangle. Raleigh is also home to RBC Bank, which is the U.S. subsidiary of Canada's largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada.
Doer said he plans to attend the Southern Governors Association's annual meeting in Asheville later this year. Perdue is currently the chairwoman of the association.
Sec. Crisco also will attend the annual meeting of the Southeastern United States - Canadian Provinces Alliance in June in New Brunswick, Canada. The alliance promotes trade and investment between member states and provinces.
Crisco said this morning that he was more of a fan during the weekend, though he did admit that several economic development meetings took place.
"They'll be some lasting impact," he said of the weekend. "It's another step to show that Raleigh can prove itself ... and attract more events."