Blog Entry

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 6:59 pm
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By Brian Stubits

Could the Hartford Whalers return to the NHL? The question has been asked every day since they left for Carolina in 1997.

But where there's a will, there's a way. And there is definitely a will from Howard Baldwin, the CEO of the Connecticut Whale, and now he's trying to find a way.

This week Baldwin revealed a plan to renovate the XL Center and completely upgrade it as well as the surrounding mall. The building is old and out of date, so before an NHL team could ever return, the arena issue would have to be taken care of. That's the idea for Baldwin.

The tough part, as with any arena idea, is the public funding. Baldwin's plan calls for $105 million of it to execute the plan. Especially in today's economic climate, that's one tall task.

Even more important according to Hartford Courant writer Jeff Jacobs is that the number of $105 million be accurate. If it's wrong, it could spell trouble. Read Jacobs' entire story for full details on the arena plans as well as a video with artist renderings and more from Baldwin.

So before you crank up the Brass Bonanza again, temper the enthusiasm. First of all, even in Baldwin's ideal world, the Whalers don't return until 2017. Assuming that the NHL liked the arena enough and was willing to commit to the Hartford market again, there would still be an issue of a team.

There seems to be a waiting list right now to be the next hockey market. Quebec City is the hottest host candidate, especially with a new arena in the works. Kansas City is begging for a primary tenant in its new arena. Seattle, Las Vegas and Houston are lurking in the background as well.

As far as teams in danger of relocating, it appears only the Coyotes fit that mold right now. The Islanders would be in the conversation, but I am all but convinced the commissioner won't let the Isles leave the New York area. Although Hartford wouldn't be a far relocation, it would be about a three-hour drive from their home now, not exactly close enough to keep the fan base.

But in the meantime, keep the hope alive, Hartford. I think it would please a lot more than the people of Connecticut to see the Whalers back in the NHL. Just in case the Whalers do come back, make sure the old logo returns.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

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Comments

Since: Nov 1, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

Good post FinkleKJ5.  I agree, Florida would be a great candidate.  And if anyone remembers, it was the arena that forced the Whalers out, not the lack of a fan base - remember the 'Save The Whale' campaign which netted season ticket sales totaling 8,563 in less than a 45 day span despite the Whalers raising ticket prices by an average of 20%.



Since: Apr 8, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:25 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

Pipe dreaming.  If an idiot needs $105 million to fix an arena he doesn't own, then how does he plan to buy a team and pay to relocate it when he doesn't even have the $105 million to make sure this anonymous team a place to play?



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

If this works, I think I'll open a bookstore like Tony LaRussa, or maybe I'll open up "Hockeybob's Typewriter Emporium".    I love good ideas.



Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

....Ummmm Packrat.......

The Russian Lady IS back.......Where the hell have you been??????

...And the NHL will never be back here in Hartford because of two big reasons....

New York and Boston......

Noway in hell they let the Whale squeeze inbetween their markets......



Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

Holy Smokes!! I live in Texas and I have a "Razer" Reigh Whalers sweater.  I think the fan base is big enough to bring them back.



Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:33 am
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

The statement " The Islander fan base" is a joke.....I think those 200 fans wouldn't miss them............



Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:24 am
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

Whaler fans are nuts.  I've gone to a few Bruins games against the Hurricanes and I see more Whaler jerseys in the corwd than Carolina ones.  They obviously still have a fan base and a pretty good following.  I would love to see the Whale back in New England. I've got the perfect team to move to Hartford.  The Florida Panthers.  Their fan base is not very strong since they are no longer allowed to throw plastic rats on the ice (95-96) and who better to be the first head coach back in Hartford than the current head coach - Kevin Dineen!  The fans would love that.  As a Bruins fan I would welcome this team back.  It would make for another great rivalry in the northeast division (Adams division).
We know realignment is coming with the Jets in Winnepeg and there is talk about going to four divisions in two conferences.  Why not bring back the old conference and division names as well as the old playoff system where the division champions play for the conference championship.  There is a reason the Bruins and Canadiens have played more playoff series against each other than any other teams in professional sports.   



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:51 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

LOL...just as I started typing, my phone rang....ring-tone is Brass Bonanza....bring back the Whale!! oh, and the Russian Lady, also. ;)



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:49 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back




Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

I do miss Pucky the Whale


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