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"NHL dream still alive in Connecticut"

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02-03-2013, 12:58 PM
  #1
Le BlueNote
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"NHL dream still alive in Connecticut"

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/...ut-4173025.php

I don't mean to be rude to any Whale fans and I know there is still a lot of you here, but seriously, a return of a NHL team in CT seems to be very unlikely. Basically, the governor said that there are potential investors, hypothetical money but isn't the market the biggest problem ? I wasn't following hockey and old enough during the Whale era, but everything I read about it suggested it.

So, is the dream still alive or not ?

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02-03-2013, 01:03 PM
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I loved the Whalers and followed them for a while after the Nordiques left... but they always had underwhelming attendance, as far as I can remember. I'd love to see them back though. It's a different league in general nowadays, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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02-03-2013, 01:41 PM
  #3
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Originally Posted by Ugmo View Post
I loved the Whalers and followed them for a while after the Nordiques left... but they always had underwhelming attendance, as far as I can remember. I'd love to see them back though. It's a different league in general nowadays, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Based on these stats from hockeydb, Hartford fans filled between 60 and 80% of their arena during the last years of the Whalers. If we compare those with the Jets numbers, it's not even close, though I don't know the major reason why Winnipeg lost their team in the first place. Yet, the Jets example is a good one about absence. I still think that this would be a bad idea, especially considering there are other cities dying to get a team and with a much better market.

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02-03-2013, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Le BlueNote View Post
Based on these stats from hockeydb, Hartford fans filled between 60 and 80% of their arena during the last years of the Whalers. If we compare those with the Jets numbers, it's not even close, though I don't know the major reason why Winnipeg lost their team in the first place. Yet, the Jets example is a good one about absence. I still think that this would be a bad idea, especially considering there are other cities dying to get a team and with a much better market.
The Jets left Winnipeg because of a weak Canadian dollar, extremely weak local economy, lack of funds for a new arena and no potential local owner for the franchise. In the years after the Jets left the economy of Winnipeg improved greatly and the city has continued to grow into what is now a great NHL market again. They could have had a team again in the mid-2000's, but it took a bit longer than that to happen.

I've heard Hartford wasn't the greatest market and had a slimy owner, which isn't a good move. He ended up moving the team to NC and Hartford got an AHL franchise.

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02-03-2013, 01:58 PM
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I've heard Hartford wasn't the greatest market and had a slimy owner, which isn't a good move. He ended up moving the team to NC and Hartford got an AHL franchise.
Karmanos is obviously a villain in CT and I don't blame Whalers fans for bashing him, but he isn't a "slimy owner" and certainly not by NHL standards.

Anyway, inter-market competition is the biggest issue with a return to Hartford. They struggled to find a niche between Rangers and Bruins territory even when those teams had both gone two generations or more without winning anything. Now? It would be a major uphill battle for fans outside the immediate city environs.

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02-03-2013, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le BlueNote View Post
http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/...ut-4173025.php

I don't mean to be rude to any Whale fans and I know there is still a lot of you here, but seriously, a return of a NHL team in CT seems to be very unlikely. Basically, the governor said that there are potential investors, hypothetical money but isn't the market the biggest problem ? I wasn't following hockey and old enough during the Whale era, but everything I read about it suggested it.

So, is the dream still alive or not ?
Seeing the article is about a month old, I wouldn't put too much stock into the pending Whalers return (though I would love to see it).

The timing of the article coincided with the end of the lockout announcement so it was the governor looking for his 15 minutes of fame thinking the new CBA would allow the NHL work in Hartford...at least my interpretation.

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02-03-2013, 02:14 PM
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Yeah, can't see Hartford getting a NHL team again. The population is just not there to support a NHL team again.

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02-03-2013, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Ugmo View Post
I loved the Whalers and followed them for a while after the Nordiques left... but they always had underwhelming attendance, as far as I can remember. I'd love to see them back though. It's a different league in general nowadays, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I'd like them to return, too, but right now there are stronger markets in Canada in line ahead of them. With the proper marketing, though, they might be the strongest potential U.S. market available, even ahead of Seattle in some ways. I think they'd have to market to the whole state, though, not just primarily to the Hartford area, and that starts with probably naming the team Connecticut something. I'm guessing Howard Baldwin's marketing research told them the same thing when they renamed the Hartford Wolf Pack the Connecticut Whale. So if an NHL franchise returns some day, and I hope it does, it might have to come with a name change, but that's a small price to pay to get NHL hockey back.

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02-03-2013, 02:57 PM
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The population isn't large enough and it's in too crowded of a region for it to happen.

It took a perfect storm for Hartford to get a NHL team in the first place...it's not happening again.

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02-03-2013, 03:02 PM
  #10
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I went to high school in Ct. Hockey is huge there. Our high school hockey team was more popular than the football team who won back-to-back state titles. The problem as others have mentioned is that people in western ct identify with NY and people in eastern ct identify with Boston.

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02-03-2013, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by aqib View Post
I went to high school in Ct. Hockey is huge there. Our high school hockey team was more popular than the football team who won back-to-back state titles. The problem as others have mentioned is that people in western ct identify with NY and people in eastern ct identify with Boston.
That's why I think marketing of a new team would have to start with giving the team a Connecticut name, and then do a lot of outreach, maybe cut the fees to run the team's games on western CT cable, get real involved with sponsoring youth teams throughout all of CT, etc. There is enough population state-wide and enough hockey interest - look at all the high school and college teams, Divisions I and III, men's and women's. If done right, it could work.

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02-03-2013, 03:44 PM
  #12
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The dream is absolutely still alive in Connecticut. But, [mod], it's probably not happening.

There are just too many issues working against Hartford getting the Whalers back, not the least of which is the lack of a suitable arena, for them to realistically be ahead of at least a half dozen other markets, like Seattle, Quebec City, Portland, Houston, Hamilton, and Markham, and probably a few others.

I honestly think that there's more interest in the Whalers brand than there is in hockey itself.


Last edited by Hank Chinaski: 02-04-2013 at 01:17 PM. Reason: keep it PG-13
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02-03-2013, 04:20 PM
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It is all about the money....Ownership group + new arena/renovated XL center and a team would be here soon...minus that..i don't see anything happening..hockey is big here..i would not judge on AHL attendance..although they had 13,250 people last night....many people here hate the rangers and especially don't like how they swooped in within 1-2 of losing whalers wiith there wolf pack crap....there is a lot of bitterness..I had some..then followed hockey again when the Wild came into the NHL...I was so happy to Minnesota get a team back!

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02-03-2013, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le BlueNote View Post
it's not even close
Year Winnipeg / Hartford attendance
96-97 0 / 13680 difference of 13680 -H
95-96 11316 / 11983 difference of 667 -H
94-95 13012 / 11835 difference of 1177 -W
93-94 13130 / 10407 difference of 2723 -W
92-93 13550 / 10144 difference of 3406 -W
91-92 12931 / 10896 difference of 2035 -W
90-91 12931 / 12404 difference of 527 -W

therefore, using math, we can conclude that during the period in the 90's between 1990 and 1997, Hartford outdrew Winnipeg by 4,479 fans. Shame on Winnipeg.

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02-03-2013, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by buketdude View Post
It is all about the money....Ownership group + new arena/renovated XL center and a team would be here soon...minus that..i don't see anything happening..hockey is big here..i would not judge on AHL attendance..although they had 13,250 people last night....many people here hate the rangers and especially don't like how they swooped in within 1-2 of losing whalers wiith there wolf pack crap....there is a lot of bitterness..I had some..then followed hockey again when the Wild came into the NHL...I was so happy to Minnesota get a team back!
Hopefully, over time, the four hockey-loving cities that had their teams gutted in the 1990s will get their teams back. Minnesota got its team in 2000; Winnipeg finally in 2011. Quebec looks like it's on the verge of something and eventually I hope Connecticut gets a team back. I hate to see any fans lose their teams, but there was something especially wrenching for the the thousands of fans in those 4 traditional hockey markets. When there discussions about the Jets and Hartford moving to the Twin Cities in the mid-90s to replace the North Stars, some of us opposed it because it would just be creating another big hurt for loyal hockey fans somewhere else. Sadly, those teams ended up moving away anyway. Now two of the four mistakes have been corrected - Gary and Co. need to fix the other two.

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02-03-2013, 09:10 PM
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They should of moved the islander there for a laugh.

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02-03-2013, 09:17 PM
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I'd be delighted, but if it ever happens it's going to be because one very rich man made it his crusade.

And I DON'T MEAN HOWARD BALDWIN.

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02-03-2013, 09:29 PM
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I would love to see the whalers back. I was only 7 when they moved. Would be nice to enjoy that rivalryfor NYR

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02-03-2013, 09:41 PM
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I think the arena is the biggest barrier here. Build a brand spanking new arena to share with Huskies basketball (much like RBC, ironically). Suddenly, I think you're talking about a top (if not the top) U.S. market to host an NHL team. Assuming that a new team would be building upon the Hartford Whalers identity that clearly still holds a lot of equity.

Are there any former Hartford Whalers fans out there that started following the Bruins or Rangers and would have zero interest in the rebirth of this franchise? Just based on the number of "Bring back the Whale" threads that seem to constantly pop up on this board, there seems to be an honest clamoring to reclaim a team. I don't get the sense that there are scores of Seattle and Houston NHL fans banging down the door for a team. If anything, more Canucks fans excited for a close roadtrip.

I wouldn't take 90s attendance figures as a damnation for the return of this team. The numbers really weren't too bad. The Minnesota North Stars had some brutal years for attendance in the late 80s and early 90s. Much worse than any of the number cited above. This was followed by a couple of lackluster seasons in the IHL.

The demographics of Wild and North Star fans are very different. There was great growth in women's hockey during the NHL's absence. I would assume that New England has seen a lot of this same growth since the Whalers left. This is only going to help build upon the fanbase that was there.

Also, we talk about the challenges that NY and Boston present, but what about the benefits? You're going to have a lot of home games against the Rangers, Bruins, Habs, and other teams in the NE.

So if you build a new arena and give an owner a sweetheart deal to play here as the only professional tenant and the only pro team in Connecticut, Hartford is going to look very attractive (albeit after 1-2 locations in Canada):

Seattle- second fiddle to the NBA group

Portland & Houston- blocked by NBA owners who currently aren't interested in an NHL team

Kansas City- put Sprint Center in Hartford and I would take my chances with the New England hockey culture

Milwaukee- would be an attractive option with a new arena and w/o the Bucks

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02-04-2013, 01:48 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sushinsky4tsar View Post
I think the arena is the biggest barrier here. Build a brand spanking new arena to share with Huskies basketball (much like RBC, ironically). Suddenly, I think you're talking about a top (if not the top) U.S. market to host an NHL team. Assuming that a new team would be building upon the Hartford Whalers identity that clearly still holds a lot of equity.

Are there any former Hartford Whalers fans out there that started following the Bruins or Rangers and would have zero interest in the rebirth of this franchise? Just based on the number of "Bring back the Whale" threads that seem to constantly pop up on this board, there seems to be an honest clamoring to reclaim a team. I don't get the sense that there are scores of Seattle and Houston NHL fans banging down the door for a team. If anything, more Canucks fans excited for a close roadtrip.

I wouldn't take 90s attendance figures as a damnation for the return of this team. The numbers really weren't too bad. The Minnesota North Stars had some brutal years for attendance in the late 80s and early 90s. Much worse than any of the number cited above. This was followed by a couple of lackluster seasons in the IHL.

The demographics of Wild and North Star fans are very different. There was great growth in women's hockey during the NHL's absence. I would assume that New England has seen a lot of this same growth since the Whalers left. This is only going to help build upon the fanbase that was there.

Also, we talk about the challenges that NY and Boston present, but what about the benefits? You're going to have a lot of home games against the Rangers, Bruins, Habs, and other teams in the NE.

So if you build a new arena and give an owner a sweetheart deal to play here as the only professional tenant and the only pro team in Connecticut, Hartford is going to look very attractive (albeit after 1-2 locations in Canada):

Seattle- second fiddle to the NBA group

Portland & Houston- blocked by NBA owners who currently aren't interested in an NHL team

Kansas City- put Sprint Center in Hartford and I would take my chances with the New England hockey culture

Milwaukee- would be an attractive option with a new arena and w/o the Bucks
+1 This is one of the more level headed analysis I've seen from someone on Hartford's prospects. I live 15 min outside of Hartford and there's still a large Whalers presence and while some chose other teams, those teams are mostly used as a placeholder. In my case I follow the Bruins, but I'd drop them for the Whale in a second and many others would do the same with their respective teams.

Hartford needs an arena first, but as you said if that were to ever come to fruition Hartford would jump to the top of the list for American relocation and it might not be as far off as people think because UConn will soon be clamoring for some type of solution.

For those who discredit Hartford as being too small it's simply not true. It's metro is 1.2 Mil (larger than Buffalo, Raleigh, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary) and there's 3.1 Mil within an hour drive of the XL Center. Not to mention, Connecticut is top 5 in disposable money with not many other competing entertainment options.

Connecticut hosts 2 AHL teams, 2 top 10 College programs, over 100 youth programs, high school and even the Danbury Whalers are the most supported team in the FHL. (There were over 25,000 people watching hockey in CT last night for god sakes)

What Hartford needs to have a shot is 3 things:

1. Corporate/Political willingness
2. Solution for XL Center
3. Ownership (only happens once #1-2 are done with)

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02-04-2013, 02:02 AM
  #21
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We also should take into account the Whalers were one of the most mismanaged operations in sports. This is the same team that hired Pierre McGuire as head coach and was involved in some of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. The team only had 3 winning seasons out their 18 year existence in Hartford and made it past the 1st round of the playoffs once (and were thrown a parade lol). That's extraordinarily putrid for a franchise. Hartford got a raw deal, if Atlanta received another shot at a franchise so does Hartford.

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02-04-2013, 06:53 AM
  #22
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02-04-2013, 07:02 AM
  #23
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The latest out of Hartford:

From late last night
http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-...5955626.column

1/31
http://articles.courant.com/2013-01-...t-dave-andrews

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02-04-2013, 07:57 AM
  #24
TheTakedown764
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So, even the future of the Whale's Arena use is in ownership hands then?

Man, being a real sports fan sucks lol

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02-04-2013, 08:10 AM
  #25
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The Internet was buzzing with rumors after a report that Gov. Dannel Malloy was talking to investors seeking to get an NHL franchise. Well, a month later, no group has publicly introduced itself . And short of that, they're all ghosts to me. If a group is serious, why pour hundreds of millions into the XL Center, when a new arena, maybe downstate, would be needed for a major league franchise? Wouldn't that be vital in the CRDA decision?
Do this means that even a XL center renovation wouldn't be enough ? And I kinda disagree with Jacobs because, as said on this thread, an investor won't necessarily declare himself prior to any political "commitment", right ?

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