First the Hartford Whalers left town back in 1997 and went to Carolina to become the Hurricanes. To add insult to injury, while as the Whalers, Hartford was only able to win one round of playoff hockey in all their years at the then Hartford Civic Center, but when they went to Carolina, they won a Stanley Cup.
Now comes the second big change and it’s the end of the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Saturday night at the now named XL Center, the Hartford Wolf Pack will play their last home game before they are re-branded & renamed the Connecticut Whale two weeks from today.
It’s a mixed bag of emotions for us.
We had no connection to the Hartford Whalers so their leaving really meant nothing to us directly, but the Hartford Wolf Apck do.
We have made some incredible friends both on the ice and in the organization. Some have moved up, some on and some remain, but we are VERY connected to the Wolf Pack brand and enjoy it.
However, “sports business” must take precedent over emotional commitment. The Hartford Wolf Pack brand was irrevocably destroyed by Northland and Larry Gottesdiener in particular. He just buried the name and the brand with his disinterest and lack of money. Had Howard Baldwin not come in to take over the team this would most certainly have been the last year for the team in Hartford. Now at least the team has a modest chance of surviving here.
Now, nobody is kidding anyone. Howard Baldwin doesn’t just want to run a team in the AHL. He wants to bring the NHL back to Hartford. Should he be successful,, and it’s a long shot at best, then the Rangers will take their team elsewhere anyway.
So we’re off to Hartford shortly for the last game with a mixed bag of emotions.
We’ll have all the special events for the last game covered live as well as the game at http://www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.
We hope you’ll join us …