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Hartford Whalers (1972-1997)

Founded:1972Final Game:April 13, 1997
Home Rink: Hartford Civic CenterBecame:Carolina Hurricanes

The Hartford Whalers were a professional ice hockey team based for most of its existence in Hartford, Connecticut. The club played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1972 until 1979, and in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1979 to 1997. Originally based in Boston, the team joined the WHA in the league’s inaugural season, and was known as the New England Whalers throughout its time in the WHA. The Whalers moved to Hartford in 1974 and joined the NHL in the NHL–WHA merger of 1979. In 1997, the Whalers franchise relocated to North Carolina, where it became the Carolina Hurricanes.

Deeper Dive

Brass Bonanza Silenced: The Demise of the Hartford Whalers

Hockey fans love nostalgia. We love the past and all the traditions of the NHL. The retro sweaters and the defunct teams, we all love them. It’s a huge reason why the Hartford Whalers still continue to be a very brand among hockey fans to this day. A couple even once had a Whaler-themed wedding. If the Whalers are still popular now, then why did they even leave in the first place and why are they never coming back in the NHL? Read more…

Ron Francis, Hartford Whalers
Ron Francis, Hartford Whalers (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Players

More Whalers History

Paul Coffey and the Hartford Whalers: Brief But Memorable

Few hockey players have ever been distinguished by a particular sound. One player however, skated so precisely – seemingly as if he possessed the legs of a Clydesdale – that every time he took a stride, the noise of steel cutting through ice resounded throughout the arena from his sheer power alone. There are many who believe that Paul Coffey is the greatest offensive-defenseman to ever play the game. A sizable chunk more would also consider him hockey’s all-time greatest skater too. In his 21 seasons in the NHL he won four Stanley Cups and retired from the game with a whole slew of records, many that still stand to this day. Read more…

Paul Coffey
BOSTON, MA – 1990’s: Paul Coffey #77 of the Hartford Whalers. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)