Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Hartford Whalers, previously known as the New England Whalers, were a World Hockey Association and later National Hockey League franchise from 1972 to 1997. In 1997, the Whalers franchise was moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and its name changed to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Inception of the franchise
For the first 2½ years of their existence, the Whalers played home games at the Boston Garden. However, on 11 January 1975, the team played its first game in front of a sellout crowd at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum, which would serve as the team's home until its departure from Hartford in 1997, with the exception of several seasons in the late 1970s when the Whalers played at the Springfield Civic Center while the Hartford Civic Center was being renovated, due to the collapse of a portion of its roof after a blizzard.
- 1973 WHA Avco Cup Champions
- Best WHA season: 1972-1973 (46-30-2, 94 pts)
- Best NHL season: 1986-1987 (43-30-7, 93 pts)
Departure from Hartford
The primary factors for the Whalers' departure from Hartford were the fact that Hartford was not a major market, and the lack of a modern playing facility. The Hartford Civic Center was adequate, but small. In a league where most of its teams played in large, corporately-sponsored stadiums, it was felt that a municipal civic center couldn't compete.
In early 1997, negotiations between the Whalers' new ownership, headed by Peter Karmanos , and the State of Connecticut to build a new $147.5 million arena fell apart and Whalers' ownership made the decision to move the team to Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Hartford Whalers never won a Stanley Cup, and only occasionally so much as made the playoffs. However, the team was adored by its fans, and they were heartbroken when the Whalers left for North Carolina. In the seasons since the franchise has moved, average attendance has dropped, causing many critics, especially former Whalers fans, to suggest the move was a bad decision.
The Hartford Whalers' official theme song was Brass Bonanza , a tune composed by an aspiring musician Jack Say . The song was very popular with Hartford crowds, and continues to occasionally be played at Civic Center events, including University of Connecticut basketball games. It can also sometimes be heard over the PA between innings at Fenway Park.
Notable Whaler players
- 1 Sean Burke
- 9 Gordie Howe
- 10 Ron Francis
- 11 Kevin Dineen
- 55 Keith Primeau
- 77 Paul Coffey
- 94 Brendan Shanahan
- Paul Shmyr
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