Hartford Whalers Winter Classic Would Be A Bonanza

Strike up the band. Crank out the Brass Bonanza. Break out the green sweaters. I have an idea that’s just crazy enough to work. It should fetch the NHL a lot of green as well. It’s time to bring back the Hartford Whalers. Just for one day.

This would more than put the throwback into those NHL Winter Classic throwback sweaters. Given how the NHL still hocks its fair share of Whalers gear, along with numerous other defunct teams, the league would make a tenfold killing on swag for this one. With the Carolina Hurricanes drawing the second lowest attendance, at 11,823, I can’t see how they wouldn’t be on board with a potential “home game,” wherein they rake in some serious dough.

Exploring the possibilities, there are multitude of venues that could make this work. Most obvious would be a Fenway Park face-off with the Boston Bruins. A more “neutral” site and one that hasn’t been used yet, could have the “Whalers” play the B’s at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, MA. After all, the New England Patriots were once rumored to move to Hartford, once upon a time.

One could even make the case for a matchup against the New York Rangers or New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium or a new place like Citi Field. Perhaps a game at MetLife Stadium against the New Jersey Devils or the Blueshirts or Isles.

(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
Yankee Stadium. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

It would be a surreal scene, fans loaded up with Whalers hats, sweaters, scarves, jackets, etc. An homage to the green, white and blue, for fans longing for the Whalers and countless more that have only stories Ron Francis, Gordie Howe, Mark Howe, Dave Keon, Mike Rogers, John McKenzie, Rick Ley, Ray Ferraro, Pat Verbeek and of course Kevin Dineen.

If you’ll also recall, Hartford does have some experience at this outdoor game event, at the AHL level. The Hartford Wolf Pack, then named the Connecticut Whale, played the 2011 AHL Outdoor Classic or “Whale Bowl,” at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, where they fell in a 5-4 shootout at the hands of the Providence Bruins.

So while the NHL attempts to get creative and look for new teams for a Winter Classic, why not try and think outside the box by picking an old one? The odds are slim that the NHL will return to Hartford on a regular basis, so why not bring back the Whalers for a day?

If that doesn’t come to fruition, I suppose they could try this…



19 thoughts on “Hartford Whalers Winter Classic Would Be A Bonanza”

  1. As a life long Hartford Whaler fan I got physically ill reading this. What some see as a fun frolic is a kick in the groin to us true Whaler fans. I would rather see the Red Sox in Yankee uniforms playing as the home team at Fenway then this travesty. Karmanos destroyed Hartford fans and our community- he is not welcome back. Carolina is not Hartford and never will be. No one in Hartford wants anything to do with Karmanos or the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes putting on green and blue or playing Brass Bonanza would be equal to the day Karmanos lied to all of us back in 1997. We don’t need to be kicked again.

    • I can understand where Hartford fans wouldn’t want to have any further association with the Karmanos family. That being said, my thought process with this idea is if nothing else to give Hartford and Whalers fans at least one more day to celebrate “having” an NHL team. If you listen to expansion/relocation talk around the NHL, right or wrong, Hartford ranks somewhere behind Las Vegas, Toronto, Seattle, Quebec, Portland, Hamilton, etc., if it’s mentioned at all. So, if nothing else, Hartford fans get to relive the “Whaler experience” again and maybe just maybe it gives the city some exposure and an outside shot at garnering the attention of the league. Thanks for writing.

  2. The East Coast don’t deserve anymore WC games the rest of the country is tired of watching Pittsburg and the Rangers all the time. Its time for new blood in the game. As for Minnesota they get more fans at a high school game then the Whalers used to get!!! Wild vs Dallas @ Target Field where winter is real!

  3. …whalers – still one of the coolest logos in sports, ever…

    …this is kind of a good idea / bad idea simply because it would be cruel & unusual punishment for those diehard whale fans out there, of which there are still plenty & it would be like getting their hopes up for a return of their team, something that will likely never happen again…

  4. Is it too late to have the Sharks wear California Golden Seals uniforms at their stadium game? The Kings could wear LA Sharks gear from the WHA.

  5. Better yet have the Hurricanes play the Avalanche at Coors Field and have the Canes wear Whalers jerseys and the Avalanche put on Quebec Nordique sweaters. Now that would be cool.

  6. to thread jack this from the hockey topic.. interesting you mention the rumored move of the Patriots to Hartford… NOBODY brings this up whenever speaking about Bob Kraft…. oh no.. he’s a model NFL owner.. the most respected. blah blah blah.. NOBODY brings up that fact Kraft bought land outside of Hartford and was going to move the Patriots there until the NFL caved to his demands and guaranteed him low interest loans to build Gillette stadium.. along with serious concessions by the state of Mass and town of Foxborough (interstate exits being built along with tax breaks and other infrastructure at the expense of taxpayers). NOBODY mentions how Kraft blackmailed his way into getting Gillette stadium built with the threat of moving the Pats to Hartford.

  7. I honestly think this is a fantastic idea.

    The NHL should use these opportunities to EXPAND the league. Instead we have the Hawks & Caps playing AGAIN and Boston due up to host next year. AND they keep doing the stadium series to water down a wonderful thing into nothing. I didn’t watch a single other game other than the one in the Big House last year.

    Truthfully I can’t picture Canes fans traveling to Hartford to catch a game though.

    Like Christine, above, said, NBC is too far up their own @$s to allow any other teams that won’t have a large market watching the games. Teams like Yotes, BJs, Preds and Jets will never see a game outside.

    • Thanks for the compliment. I agree wholeheartedly. Honestly, the event itself is bigger than the hockey game. People will come regardless of whether or not the venue is in a traditional hockey market. If anything, it’s only going to infuse more energy into the Winter Classic. Look at Dodger Stadium, that was outstanding for the Stadium Series.

  8. Hartford(carolina) vs Quebec(colorado)…
    Home and home…
    One in Hartford , one in Quebec
    do they have a big outdoor stadium in Quebec?

  9. How about having the Canes play the devils with Whalers and either Rockies or Scouts jerseys. That way you are paying homage to the original teams for these teams and getting new sales for these jerseys.

  10. It’s too bad NBC is so wrapped up with itself and with the NHL that they added extra outdoor games throughout the US rather than focusing on covering the entire week of Heritage Classic activities. I wonder how many people in the ‘expansion team’ geo’s even know about the Whalers. The US is horrible at covering hockey, even if you pay a high price for something like the NHL ticket through a provider. There are games throughout Europe and Canada, and even in the U.S. (OHL, IHL, etc.) that our television providers will just NEVER Ever show. It’s just sad.

    • Thanks for writing Christine. The lack of hockey coverage in the States is very frustrating. Unless you’re in a region with multiple teams like myself with the Devils, Rangers, Islanders and Sabres, you’re either paying through the nose for Center Ice or Game Center or you watch NBC and NBCSN and NHL Network or you’re out of luck. There’s about a 180 degree difference from watching SportsCenter and SportsCentre.

Comments are closed.