April 13, 1997. A day that’ll live on as one of the most depressing days in the history of a small city in New England called Hartford. This was the day that the city’s most beloved icon, the Hartford Whalers, played their final game in the city. After that season it would be the end of pro hockey in Hartford and the team would relocate to Raleigh to become the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was a harsh day to be a hockey fan.
Because of business decisions that the fans had no say or control over, a team that the city lived and died by, that fans had stood by through thick and thin was leaving. The fans loved that team and even now, at college hockey games in the city the team’s iconic goal song, Brass Bonanza still plays at games occasionally along with that goal horn. You know the one. It was about as close to a whale as you can get.
The team may have left 21 years ago this year, but the Whalers still have a dedicated and loyal fanbase in the area. So why haven’t there been expansion efforts? Why hasn’t a team that was or is in dire straits (Like the Thrashers, Panthers, Coyotes, etc.) relocated there to gain a new lease on life? There are quite a few reasons. What’s keeping The Whalers From Hartford?
What’s Keeping The Whalers From Hartford?
Proximity to other NHL teams
The whalers started off life behind the proverbial eightball, considering that most hockey fans in the area were already deeply entrenched fans of either the New York Rangers or the Boston Bruins. Now the Penguins, Flyers, Devils, and college teams have scooped up fans in the area.
2. The Hartford Civic Center
About 90% of the issues that plagued the team and a good chunk of the reason that they ended up leaving, was the arena. It was basically a mall. It’s a shame too because from what I’ve researched all it needed was some minor upgrades for it to be viable for the next few years. Now it’s in dire need of remodelling in order to make it NHL viable. They desperately need a new building.
3. Owner with enough capital
They say money is the root of all evil, but if it is evil, its a necessary one. Quite simply, running a sports team of any size – minor or major league – is an expensive business. If there’s an owner in the area that has the capital and goodwill with the city of Hartford to pay for the expansion and refurbish the building, then it could happen. Until then, no way
Those are what’s keeping the Whalers from returning, at least in my view, maybe one day the team could return, but until then, I’ll keep playing brass bonanza on youtube.
got any other reasons why the whalers aren’t in Hartford? feel free to tweet me @nero_Alucard or @LWOSports on twitter.
Embed from Getty Images