Tag Archives: Emile Francis

FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

EAST HARTFORD, CT – As Howard Baldwin and his son, Howard Jr., walked into the Rentschler Field press box just after noon Thursday, their jaws seemingly dropped to the floor as they spoke as one.

“Awesome,” they said in stereo while getting their first look at the start of the rink that will host Outdoor Harvest-Properties.com Whalers Fest 2011 on Feb. 11-23.

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Connecticut Whale

Ex-Whaler Bob Crawford Named

Senior VP for Whalers Sports and  Entertainment

Whalers Sports and Entertainment Chairman Howard Baldwin announced today that former Whaler Bob Crawford has been named Senior Vice President of hockey operations for WSE.  Crawford will oversee operations of the 13-day outdoor Whalers Hockey Fest hockey to be held February 11-24 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.   In addition, he will also perform many day-to-day functions for the CT Whale including:  spearheading all youth hockey activities, serving as liaison between the Whale front office and hockey personnel, participating in Whale TV, radio and internet broadcasts and re-building the Whalers Alumni Association.

Crawford had most recently served as a consultant for WSE.

“Bob was one of the first people I reached out to when we returned to Hartford last year,” said Baldwin  “His experience as both a Whalers and Rangers player and as the owner of three successful skating rinks makes him perfect for the job.” 

“In addition to Bob’s extensive hockey experience, the business contacts and the relationships he’s developed in his 20-plus years in the Hartford area have been an immeasurable help to us already.”

According to Crawford:  “Mr. Baldwin is one of the most creative and innovative executives in professional sports.   When I played for him in Hartford (1983-1986), Howard and Emile Francis emphasized to all of us how important it was to be involved in the Hartford community.  As a result of this time I spent in the community as a player, it was an easy decision to call Hartford home when I retired.”

“Mr. Baldwin’s commitment to Hartford hockey is even stronger today as we prepare for the Whalers Hockey Fest and the CT Whale’s first AHL season.  With his leadership and the support of the Hartford community, both the team and the Hockey Fest will put Hartford and the state of Connecticut back on the hockey map again.”

Crawford’s 10-year professional career saw him play for the NHL’s Rangers, St Louis Blues and the Whalers. His playing career saw many highlights among them was his 36 goal season with Hartford in 1984 and his trip the 1986 Stanley Cup semi-finals as a member of the New York Rangers.

Crawford’s coaching career has seen him win multiple championships and has seen him transform the Connecticut Junior Clippers/Wolf Pack into one of the top programs in the nation with over 150 of his players graduating to NCAA Division I and III college hockey. The teams have had two national tournament showings and in 2000 the Clippers finished 3rd and won the USA National Championship and the following 2001 season. Winner of the AJHL Coach of the year award in 2004, Bob was selected as a coach for the USA Hockey Select 18 National team that won bronze in Canada in 2006.

Professionally, Crawford is now working in his 15th year as owner/operator of the multi-rink/fitness facility “Champions Skating Center”, “Bolton Ice Palace”, and the International Skating Center of Simsbury CT.  He is on the board of directors for USA Hockey and was named a New England director for his second three-year term in 2009.  He also serves on USA Hockey’s International Council.

More information can be found at www.WhalersSports.com.


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