Tag Archives: Hartford Whalers

SPOTLIGHT: HOWARD BALDWIN

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Howard Baldwin is the “Godfather of Professional Hockey in Hartford” on several fronts, spanning nearly four decades.

First, Baldwin became one of the youngest executive in professional sports when he was a founder and partner of the World Hockey Association’s New England Whalers at the age of 28 in 1971. The Whalers franchise won the WHA’s first AVCO World Cup championship in 1973 and then relocated from Boston a year later to try to find its own identity away from the NHL’s Boston Bruins, in its own building as a vehicle to revitalize downtown Hartford.

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SWAIN COMPLETES THE SOUND OF WHALE BROADCASTS

Connecticut WhaleFORMER WHALER GARRY SWAIN TO JOIN CONNECTICUT WHALE BROADCAST TEAM

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Former WHA and NHL Player Skated in Nine Professional Seasons

Whalers Sports and Entertainment announced today that former New England Whaler Garry Swain will be joining veteran play-by-play man Bob Crawford as a commentator during this season’s Connecticut Whale home game radio broadcasts as part of “Rockin’ Hockey” on 106.9 WCCC-FM.

Swain, a first-round draft pick of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins in 1968 and a veteran of three seasons with the WHA’s Whalers, brings additional broadcast experience to the radio booth. Swain has previously worked with Bob Neumeier, former voice of the Hartford Whalers on WTIC-AM and currently a broadcaster for NBC Sports and Comcast SportsNet New England. He has also done games with former Whaler broadcaster Chuck Kaiton, currently the radio play-by-play voice of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – WHALE OF AN UPDATE FROM MANAGEMENT

BY: Bruce Berlet

Operating a professional sports franchise is never an easy undertaking, but few, if any, companies had more to deal with than Whalers Sports and Entertainment a year ago.

WSE assumed management control of the then Hartford Wolf Pack only 21/2 weeks before the season opener in early October and then had to organize a two-week outdoor extravaganza at Rentschler Field in East Hartford in February for local youth, high school, prep school and college teams. The unprecedented event was capped by a tripleheader of AIC playing Army, followed by a Hartford Whalers-Boston Bruins alumni game and an AHL game between the rebranded Connecticut Whale and Providence Bruins.

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CONNECTICUT WHALE MEDIA DAY VIDEO

Today was media day for the Connecticut Whale at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford. Among those who spoke were Howard Baldwin, Sr., Head Coach Ken Gernander and the Voice of the team, Bob Crawford.

There were several announcements that were made including an announcement that five CTWhale games would be televised on WCCT-TV. It will be the first time that the AHL action has been on local TV since the 2006-2007 season. Continue reading

BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – PARLETT FOR THE DEFENSE

BY: Bruce Berlet

A year ago, a glut of defensemen and some uninspiring play led to Blake Parlett being a healthy scratch for the Greenville Road Warriors’ first two games of the ECHL season.

“He thought he was a little too good for where he was and hadn’t worked all that hard,” Greenville coach Dean Stork recalled. “I didn’t play him the first game and we won, so I didn’t change the lineup for the next game. When he got in there for the third game, he responded with a Gordie Howe hat trick.”

For those not in the know, that’s a goal, an assist and a fight, a frequent occurrence for the legendary Hall of Famer who finished his 32-year pro career with the Hartford Whalers.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – A BOURQUE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

BY: Bruce Berlet

Connecticut Whale veteran defenseman Wade Redden offered a straight-on, right-on reason why rookie left wing Ryan Bourque appears to have a long, strong future in professional hockey.

“He’s got good DNA,” Redden said.

Good, indeed. How about great? Like in some of the best all-time from father Ray Bourque, the Hockey Hall of Famer and all-time leading scorer against the Hartford Whalers, the previous hockey inhabitants in the former Hartford Civic Center.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – RYAN GORDON, A PART OF HARTFORD HOCKEY FOREVER

BY: Bruce Berlet

Phyllis and Barry Gordon thoroughly enjoyed the fourth edition of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale game to benefit the Ryan Gordon/Connecticut Whale Community Scholars Fund, constantly smiling and sharing tales with friends and supporters.

Donations were accepted at the door of the Koeppel Community Sports Center on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford in lieu of an admission charge, and the Wallingford couple again rooted hard for a Whale victory. It ended with a 3-1 loss to the more experienced Albany Devils, but it was fitting that former Hartford Wolf Pack left wing Chad Wiseman scored the first goal, converting his own rebound on a power play, and assisted on the last tally by Darcy Zajac.

Regardless of the outcome, Phyllis and Barry had a special underlying thought Tuesday night.

“If only Ryan could have been here,” Phyllis said. “He would just love that the Whale was back.” Continue reading

BALDWIN, SR. RECEIVES HIGH HONOR

CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION HONORS HOWARD BALDWIN, SR. AS 2011 COMMUNITY LEADER OF THE YEAR

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Will be Saluted at November 12 “Sportscasters’ Super Ball”

Whalers Sports & Entertainment (WSE) announced today that its Chairman and CEO Howard Baldwin, Sr. will be honored by the Connecticut chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as its 2011 Community Leader of the Year.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will officially declare the honor November 12 at its Tenth Annual “Sportscasters’ Super Ball” Gala at The Club at Rentschler Field.

The  Sportscasters’ Gala was established in 2002 by ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and Chris Berman to celebrate Connecticut’s rich sports history.  Since its inception, the Gala has raised much needed research funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Sportscasters’ Super Ball is a black-tie event that commemorates Connecticut’s rich sports history, its athletes and community leaders.

Baldwin joins the company of such past Community Leader honorees as philanthropist Mark Wilson, The Hartford CFO Liz Zlatkus, Open Solutions CEO Louis Hernandez and IAE president Jon Beatty.  Among former Sportscasters’ Super Ball sports honorees are Brian Leetch, Geno Auriemma, Jen Rizzotti, Jim Brown, Steve Young, Luis Tiant and Dwight Freeney.

“Howard Baldwin’s remarkable commitment to Connecticut’s professional sports history, which spans five decades, is legendary. Through his unwavering leadership Mr. Baldwin has indeed helped make Connecticut a whale of a state,” said Paul Drury, Director of Special Projects, Connecticut Chapter Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Tickets to the Sportscasters’ Super Ball event, as well as information on how to get involved, are available by contacting Drury at (860) 632-7300 or pdrury@cff.org. Dinner, Dancing and auctions highlight the evening.

The Whale’s 2011-12 season Home Opener is Saturday, October 15, a GEICO Connecticut Cup game vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center.  Tickets to that game, and all 2011-12 Whale home games, are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats and mini plans, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.

WHALERS WATCH with BRITTANY BURKE

BY: Brittany Burke

The Danbury Whalers of the Federal Hockey League have officially announced the signing of forward, Nick Deschenes.

The Whalers President, partner and CFO, Alan Friedman announced the major signing today at the Danbury Ice Arena, with just a little over five weeks until the puck drops on Thursday, Oct. 7.

Deschenes will be pulling double duty on the team, both as a forward and the team’s assistant coach, helping Head Coach Phil Esposito.

This isn’t the first stint in Connecticut for the Canadian born hockey player; he attended Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in the late 90’s, serving as a Bull dog from 1999-2003. While at Yale, Deschenes scored 36 goals in 114 games.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

BY: Bruce Berlet

After a stellar first season with the New York Rangers, it has been a difficult 12 months for Marian Gaborik.

First, the right wing who signed a five-year, $37.5 million free-agent deal with the Blueshirts on July 1, 2009 saw his goal production plummet from 42 to 22 last season as he battled injuries while trying to find a center to work with on a consistent basis. But that disappointment and angst paled in comparison to what transpired in the past four months.

On May 13, Rangers left wing/enforcer and close friend Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment, the victim of an accidental overdose of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone. Boogaard was 28.

On Wednesday, the 29-year-old Gaborik was trying to come to grips with the tragic death of another of his best friends, former NHL standout center Pavol Demitra, one of 43 people killed in the crash of a plane carrying the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. Demitra was 37.

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