Connecticut Is Making A Push To Return To Major Professional Sports

Hartford Whalers Connecticut Goalie NHL hockey save

Photo: Intent to Blow

The New York Rangers’ minor league affiliate will play its first game as the Connecticut Whale tonight. Previously, the AHL club skated as the Hartford Wolf Pack.The name change is the first step in the arduous process of bringing the NHL back to Connecticut, according to the New York Times. The third wealthiest and 29th most populated state in country, hasn’t had a major professional sports franchise since the Hartford Whalers fled to North Carolina in 1997.

To this day, the Whalers maintain a group of loyal supporters. The team’s old theme song, Brass Bonanza can still be heard during sporting events across the state.  

Presiding over the Whale is Howard Baldwin, who first moved the Whalers from Boston to Hartford in 1975. He sold the team in 1988 and pursued a career in the film industry. Baldwin told The Times he “was crushed” when the Whalers moved, and for the last nine years he has worked to rebrand the Rangers’ Hartford affiliate as the Whalers.

Tonight, he finally gets that chance. (Meanwhile, Canadians are still waiting for theirs.)

If the market proves supportive of Baldwin’s initiative, tonight could mark the beginning of a renewed relationship between Connecticut and the NHL.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.