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NHL Hockey Coming Back to Hartford?

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Old
04-15-2010, 04:39 PM
  #1
whalers2010
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NHL Hockey Coming Back to Hartford?

Former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin has moved back to Hartford to make it happen

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/201...-dennis-house/


http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/201...tford-whalers/

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04-15-2010, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by whalers2010 View Post
Former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin has moved back to Hartford to make it happen

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/201...-dennis-house/


http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/201...tford-whalers/
My Brother. Haha...

We've got a long way to go, but anything is possible. What Baldwin is trying to do here has been needed since the team left. He is going to start with the AHL team and do some cosmetic changes, to market it to the hockey fan again (right now it's marketted as grublets on ice or a disney movie) and go from there - in small steps.

We've got some issues to address, but I still have hope that one day there will be hockey in Hartford again.

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04-15-2010, 08:01 PM
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The same Howard Baldwin that ran the Pens into bankruptcy? I wouldn't get too excited about him.

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04-15-2010, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonjmc View Post
The same Howard Baldwin that ran the Pens into bankruptcy? I wouldn't get too excited about him.
I do not know too much about what did/did not happen in Pitt, so I'll take your word for it.

He is also the owner that brought the Whalers to Hartford. In the time that he was managing general partner, he did a great job of marketting the team and growing the business. After Baldwin left, things went downhill from there.

Let's not get too ahead of ourselves either, what he is proposing now is to run the AHL Franchise (Hartford Wolfpack - NYR affiliate). What he plans to do is put a Whalers twist on the WP, and change the way it is marketted (or not marketted) in the state. Those games are marketted to kids, and people with families. It's a pretty sad state of affairs. (see if you can find the jingle, "Its a wolfpack world" if you do not believe me)....

He has met with the NHL and is hoping to boost attendance to the AHL games, thus generating a buzz about the possible return of the NHL. But, as I said, a lot of things need to happen between now and the point where Hartford can be in a spot where Winnipeg is now. They will need a new arena, local tv contract, better corporate sponsors, updated revenue stream....etc, et al.... before we can even have the Return of the Whale conversation.

Frankly, I am just happy that someone in Hartford cares about hockey again.

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04-15-2010, 09:48 PM
  #5
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Originally Posted by Harpoon Pete View Post
I do not know too much about what did/did not happen in Pitt, so I'll take your word for it.

He is also the owner that brought the Whalers to Hartford. In the time that he was managing general partner, he did a great job of marketting the team and growing the business. After Baldwin left, things went downhill from there.

Let's not get too ahead of ourselves either, what he is proposing now is to run the AHL Franchise (Hartford Wolfpack - NYR affiliate). What he plans to do is put a Whalers twist on the WP, and change the way it is marketted (or not marketted) in the state. Those games are marketted to kids, and people with families. It's a pretty sad state of affairs. (see if you can find the jingle, "Its a wolfpack world" if you do not believe me)....

He has met with the NHL and is hoping to boost attendance to the AHL games, thus generating a buzz about the possible return of the NHL. But, as I said, a lot of things need to happen between now and the point where Hartford can be in a spot where Winnipeg is now. They will need a new arena, local tv contract, better corporate sponsors, updated revenue stream....etc, et al.... before we can even have the Return of the Whale conversation.

Frankly, I am just happy that someone in Hartford cares about hockey again.
Didn't mean to deflate any hope in Hartford, but the basic problem with Baldwin in Pittsburgh was that he simply didn't have enough money to run the franchise. Times, people and fortunes change. Maybe he is in a better position now than he was then.

He is best remembered in Pittsburgh as the owner that didn't jump onto the stadium/arena bandwagon with the Steelers and Pirates, but instead chose a quick-fix infusion of cash from the city for immediate arena upgrades. He needed the money right then and this decision and a few others like it (deferring player salaries because he couldn't afford to pay them either) started the Pens down the path toward bankruptcy.

Oh, and his other legacy in Pittsburgh is the movie "Sudden Death". Can't forget to give him credit for that.

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04-15-2010, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjmc View Post
Didn't mean to deflate any hope in Hartford, but the basic problem with Baldwin in Pittsburgh was that he simply didn't have enough money to run the franchise. Times, people and fortunes change. Maybe he is in a better position now than he was then.

He is best remembered in Pittsburgh as the owner that didn't jump onto the stadium/arena bandwagon with the Steelers and Pirates, but instead chose a quick-fix infusion of cash from the city for immediate arena upgrades. He needed the money right then and this decision and a few others like it (deferring player salaries because he couldn't afford to pay them either) started the Pens down the path toward bankruptcy.

Oh, and his other legacy in Pittsburgh is the movie "Sudden Death". Can't forget to give him credit for that.
the problem, though is Baldwin isn't the incompetent owner, it's the owners he sells them to ie Kirby Schlegel, jon.... Maybe Iowa would have hockey instead of nothing when Schlegel violated a basic bylaw of not putting a franchise you operate up for personal gain/collateral

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04-16-2010, 12:03 AM
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I lost an agrguement on another board a few weeks ago,

Hartford falls within the territorial rights of 4 teams(NYR, NYI, Boston and NJD) and all four teams would need to sign off on a team moving there

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04-16-2010, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jumptheshark View Post
Hartford falls within the territorial rights of 4 teams(NYR, NYI, Boston and NJD) and all four teams would need to sign off on a team moving there
I thought they would only have to sign off if they were within the 65-mile-or-whatever-it-is no-fly zone. Hartford's at least 80-90 miles as the crow flies from Boston or New York.

If that's not the case, I wonder if there's a legal way around this .. suppose a new Hartford team was to be legally considered a 'reinstatement' of the original Whalers, and they assume the history of the previous incarnation (sort of like the agreement that the Cleveland Browns have). Could such a scenario extend as far as reclaiming the original TV rights?

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04-16-2010, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonjmc View Post
The same Howard Baldwin that ran the Pens into bankruptcy? I wouldn't get too excited about him.
According to Wikipedia....


"Baldwin's specialty was buying franchises with very little of his own money invested. For example, his actual cash investment in the Penguins was just $1,000. The rest was assumed debt and capital provided by other partners. His purchase of the Penguins was bankrolled largely by Morris Belzberg. Baldwin served as the Penguins Chairman of the Board and represented the club on the NHL Board of Governors. Under his direction the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, two Patrick Division regular season titles and the Presidentís Trophy. In addition to the NHL team, Baldwin and his partners created The American Hockey League expansion franchise in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1998 as the minor league affiliate of the NHL Penguins. When Belzberg left the ownership group, Baldwin recruited Roger Marino, a Boston investor. By that time, the Penguins were struggling financially and wound up declaring bankruptcy in November 1998."

Hmmm... bought a franchise with very little of his own money... now what does that sound like?

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04-16-2010, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Haymaker View Post
If that's not the case, I wonder if there's a legal way around this .. suppose a new Hartford team was to be legally considered a 'reinstatement' of the original Whalers, and they assume the history of the previous incarnation (sort of like the agreement that the Cleveland Browns have). Could such a scenario extend as far as reclaiming the original TV rights?
I might be wrong, but I think that kind of arrangement would have been made prior to their departure. To the best of my knowledge, Karmanos et al are still in legal possession of the Whalers brand.

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04-16-2010, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I might be wrong, but I think that kind of arrangement would have been made prior to their departure. To the best of my knowledge, Karmanos et al are still in legal possession of the Whalers brand.
Just checked and you're right, the arrangement was made at/around the time the Browns moved to Baltimore. It'd probably be harder to make this arrangement retroactively.

But at the same time, the battle for possession of the Whalers brand and the battle for possession of what were once broadcast rights/territory are two very different things (since Karmanos doesn't own the Hartford broadcast rights). For my scheme to work, either Karmanos would have to sell/relinquish the Whalers brand, or the Whalers franchise and the Whalers brand would have to be considered two distinct entities, and that's some pretty murky water.

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04-16-2010, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Haymaker View Post
Just checked and you're right, the arrangement was made at/around the time the Browns moved to Baltimore. It'd probably be harder to make this arrangement retroactively.

But at the same time, the battle for possession of the Whalers brand and the battle for possession of what were once broadcast rights/territory are two very different things (since Karmanos doesn't own the Hartford broadcast rights). For my scheme to work, either Karmanos would have to sell/relinquish the Whalers brand, or the Whalers franchise and the Whalers brand would have to be considered two distinct entities, and that's some pretty murky water.
the state of Connecticut owned the logo & name for years until the trade mark expired last year. Point is, Karmanos doesn't own it, so his input isn't required....

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04-16-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by edog37 View Post
the state of Connecticut owned the logo & name for years until the trade mark expired last year. Point is, Karmanos doesn't own it, so his input isn't required....
That makes life easier

I guess the question now, is who owns the 'legacy' of the Whalers, 1979 to 1997? Is it the property of the league or of what is now the Carolina Hurricanes? Does the league have the right to strip the history/records/etc. of the Whalers from the present-day 'Canes, and appropriate it to a team that expands/relocates to Hartford (not to mention, if it's through relocation, "terminate" the history/legacy of the team that moves there)?

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04-16-2010, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by edog37 View Post
the state of Connecticut owned the logo & name for years until the trade mark expired last year. Point is, Karmanos doesn't own it, so his input isn't required....
Why on earth did they let it expire? It seems crazy that they would passively give up ownership of something that valuable.

Quote:
Does the league have the right to strip the history/records/etc. of the Whalers from the present-day 'Canes, and appropriate it to a team that expands/relocates to Hartford (not to mention, if it's through relocation, "terminate" the history/legacy of the team that moves there)?
I'm not sure you would want that fight. It would be like the Balsillie thing all over again, bringing both sides down in the dirt. If you can get the trademark secured for the name and logo, without even having to go across Karmonos' desk in the process, that's a huge win with zero casualties.

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04-16-2010, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Why on earth did they let it expire? It seems crazy that they would passively give up ownership of something that valuable.
Agreed. I can only assume that it was perceived that there was no chance of a team returning to the area when they let it expire (even now, there are 1000 things that have to happen, and we're at number 4).

I also think that its value was grossly underestimated - think about how much Whaler swag you see around in the last year or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm not sure you would want that fight. It would be like the Balsillie thing all over again, bringing both sides down in the dirt. If you can get the trademark secured for the name and logo, without even having to go across Karmonos' desk in the process, that's a huge win with zero casualties.
It definitely could be a fight, but I wouldn't be surprised if the only way for a Hartford franchise to get its original broadcast territory back without requiring approval from (and possibly paying indemnity fees to) the Bruins, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils is to have the new franchise deemed a 'continuation' of the previous franchise.

One legal case to repatriate the Whalers 1979-1997 history is an easier fight than four cases to determine territorial rights.


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04-16-2010, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by edog37 View Post
the state of Connecticut owned the logo & name for years until the trade mark expired last year. Point is, Karmanos doesn't own it, so his input isn't required....
Actually, according to the USPTO TESS database, Connecticut (actually the Connecticut Redevelopment Authority) has not owned the servicemark on the Hartford Whalers name and logo for use with a professional hockey team since 1994 - when they assigned the mark to the team.

Quote:
1189/0003 Received: Recorded: 07/05/1994 Pages: 3
Conveyance:

RELEASE AND REASSIGNMENT
Assignor:

CONNECTICUT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Exec Dt:

06/28/1994
Entity Type:

PUBLIC INSTRUMENTALITY AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Citizenship:

NONE
Assignee:

HARTFORD WHALERS HOCKEY CLUB LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
HARTFORD CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM
242 TRUMBULL STREET HARTFORD, CT. 06103-1212

Entity Type:

CORPORATION
Citizenship:

CONNECTICUT
Correspondent:

THOMAS P. FLYNN, ESQ.
SHIPMAN & GOODWIN
ONE AMERICAN ROW
HARTFORD, CT. 06103-2819
The last listed assignee for the mark is the Carolina Hurricanes.

Quote:
Reel/Frame: 1714/0924 Received: 04/22/1998 Recorded: 04/10/1998 Pages: 5
Conveyance:

MERGER
Assignor:

KTR HOCKEY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, L.P.

Exec Dt:

12/31/1997
Entity Type:

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
Citizenship:

NONE
Assignee:

HURRICANES HOCKEY, L.P.
31440 NORTHWESTERN HIGHWAY
FARMINGTON HILLS, MICHIGAN 48334

Entity Type:

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
Citizenship:

DELAWARE
Correspondent:

NHL ENTERPRISES, L.P.
SAMANTHA PAYNE
1251 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10020-1998
The mark is not currently active. It is listed as expired/canceled in 2001 - but that does NOT mean that the name is available.

The file/serial number is still active - the most recent activity a change of contact address in 2008.

Quote:
SERIAL NUMBER 74027896
REGISTRATION NUMBER 1625309
MARK SECTION
MARK HARTFORD WHALERS
CORRESPONDENCE SECTION (current)
ORIGINAL ADDRESS
Mary J. Sotis
NHL Enterprises, Inc.
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York New York 10020-1198
United States
NEW CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS
NEW ADDRESS
Corby C. Anderson
c/o Jayne C. Hunter, Helms Mulliss & Wicker
201 North Tryon Street, Box 26
Charlotte
North Carolina
United States
28202
(704) 343-2042
(704) 805-5069
jayne.hunter@hmw.com
SIGNATURE SECTION
SIGNATURE /Jayne C. Hunter/
SIGNATORY NAME Jayne Conway Hunter
SIGNATORY DATE 01/14/2008
SIGNATORY POSITION Attorney of record
FILING INFORMATION SECTION
SUBMIT DATE Mon Jan 14 13:19:44 EST 2008
The only active hockey related trademark or servicemark for "Whalers" is for Karmanos' OHL Plymouth Whalers.


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Old
04-16-2010, 12:19 PM
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Once again, I fail to understand why you would want to call a new team in Hartford the Whalers. Isn't that an insult to the original Whalers -- trying to assign their history to a team that has nothing to do with them but be located in the same city?

Suppose you're a parent whose child grows up, leaves home, and changes his name (because he's going into show biz or something), but you always liked the original name. Do you go out and adopt a kid and give him that name? I suspect not.

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04-16-2010, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Haymaker View Post
It definitely could be a fight, but I wouldn't be surprised if the only way for a Hartford franchise to get its original broadcast territory back without requiring approval from (and possibly paying indemnity fees to) the Bruins, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils is to have the new franchise deemed a 'continuation' of the previous franchise.

One legal case to repatriate the Whalers 1979-1997 history is an easier fight than four cases to determine territorial rights.
I see what you're getting at now. Interesting.

My amateur take on that possibility, is that there wouldn't be sufficient legal standing to make it happen. From a rational point of view, a new team wouldn't be a continuation of the old franchise; it would be a completely different entity with a different history (be it expansion or relocation). Any connection to the Whalers would be cosmetic, so I don't see a judge telling Karmanos that someone else now owns the original franchise.

Perhaps it could have been arranged years ago, but it seems like a stretch to make it happen mid-stream. Perhaps Karmanos could somehow sell the broadcast rights back to them? It's not like he's doing anything with them...

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04-16-2010, 01:06 PM
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I see what you're getting at now. Interesting.

My amateur take on that possibility, is that there wouldn't be sufficient legal standing to make it happen. From a rational point of view, a new team wouldn't be a continuation of the old franchise; it would be a completely different entity with a different history (be it expansion or relocation). Any connection to the Whalers would be cosmetic, so I don't see a judge telling Karmanos that someone else now owns the original franchise.

Perhaps it could have been arranged years ago, but it seems like a stretch to make it happen mid-stream. Perhaps Karmanos could somehow sell the broadcast rights back to them? It's not like he's doing anything with them...
At the very least, it's a fun philosophical debate, eh? Kind of like the Ship of Theseus.

It's true that there's no legal precedence (that I know of) for retroactive appropriation of one franchise's history to another - but before the Browns moved to Baltimore late one night, the same could be said that what happened with the Browns' legacy had never happened either.

What might be the saving grace if all this was to go down (I realize I've taken us down a very long hypothetical path) is that the Whalers legacy isn't really worth all that much, so its 'owners' may not fight very hard to keep it. In eighteen years, they acheived one division title - and were bounced from the playoffs by a sub-.500 Nords team - and individual player recognitions are thin on the ground. The only thing that could give it any value is that its possession could facilitate appropriation of former territorial rights.

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04-16-2010, 01:17 PM
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What might be the saving grace if all this was to go down (I realize I've taken us down a very long hypothetical path) is that the Whalers legacy isn't really worth all that much, so its 'owners' may not fight very hard to keep it. In eighteen years, they acheived one division title - and were bounced from the playoffs by a sub-.500 Nords team - and individual player recognitions are thin on the ground. The only thing that makes could give it any value is that its possession could facilitate appropriation of territorial rights.
Believe it or not, I think Hurricanes fans would be a bit upset by losing the Whalers' history. Of course it would vary greatly from one fan to the next, but the Whalers legacy is part of the team's identity. We've spent the past 15 years with Ron Francis as the franchise scoring leader, hearing the old Hartford goal horn, and in many cases wearing Whalers jerseys to the games. It would seem wrong to just suddenly strip all of it away... and yes, I do appreciate the deliciously twisted irony in saying that It's a real mind-bender philosophically.

But if it were to happen, it could be a tremendously cathartic moment to both fanbases if it was done ceremonially and with consideration to the shared identity on both sides. Might even be a great moment for the league, like Bourque handing over his sweater to Esposito.

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04-16-2010, 01:35 PM
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It's definitely good to know that the Whalers' history is recognized and celebrated in Raleigh. I can only imagine the anguish of fans who lose their team to "some place in the south". It's not every relocated team that embraces its roots (the Avs returned to circulation the four numbers that were retired by the Nordiques, which I think is a travesty) and I really hope the city of Hartford knows that the Whalers history has a place in the collective conscience of 'Canes fans.

Even if the 'Canes were to relinquish that part of their history, I'm sure the city of Hartford would be grateful that Raleigh "kept it warm for them"

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04-16-2010, 01:42 PM
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Once again, I fail to understand why you would want to call a new team in Hartford the Whalers. Isn't that an insult to the original Whalers -- trying to assign their history to a team that has nothing to do with them but be located in the same city?
Tell that to Johnny Unitas who refused to take part in any activity regarding the Indianapolis Colts because he felt the name and history of the team belonged to Baltimore.

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(the Avs returned to circulation the four numbers that were retired by the Nordiques, which I think is a travesty)
The Hurricanes did this as well, except for Gordie Howe's... which was unretired but kept out of circulation.

And why is it a travesty? Those players never played for the Colorado Avalanche, I suspect most of them don't care.

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04-16-2010, 01:51 PM
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The Hurricanes did this as well, except for Gordie Howe's... which was unretired but kept out of circulation.
In their defense, John McKenzie's number retirement was a bit of a travesty in itself. Making Rick Ley's the only legitimate retired number that was re-circulated. Incidentally, Ley's #2 was re-retired after Glen Wesley used it.

I wouldn't have done it, and I don't know the rationale behind that decision.

edit: John, not Jim.


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04-16-2010, 02:42 PM
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Why was John McKenzie's number retirement a travesty?

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04-16-2010, 02:52 PM
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karmanos has no say in anything. part of the deal to let the team leave, was the logo and name stay in hartford. the plymouth whalers were already named as such at the time, and thats likely the reason they stayed that way. no video games were allowed to use the whaler jerseys as "unlockables". no vintage merch was made legally. lately ive seen more stuff so maybe something did expire. regardless, karmanos paid millions to eliminate ANY association with the city of hartford - he wants no part of it.

as for baldwin, he is good for hartford. i think the most immediate possiblity over the next couple of years is that the hartford ahl team becomes called the whalers and they build a fan base around them again. baldwin himself has had at least one full on interview in the courant of his intentions. he intends to bring hockey back in, preferably nhl but he knows its a long ways away. he knows and says he knows they must prove that the market wants it back making the ahl team more popular is the first and most important step. getting the guy who know owns that whole operation (larry g-whatever) to fall in line with all that is also a more immediate big first step.

having back in town is great for hartford though, regardless of any nhl effect down the road. i personally dont believe gary b will ever willingly move a team back.

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