On This date in 1979 the NHL/WHA merger is ratified. The New England Whalers are accepted into the NHL for $6,000,000.
ESPN.com: "If it weren't for the Hartford Whalers, chances are Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Smith wouldn't be playing hockey right now."
"The shrine to the Whalers still hangs, untouched, in his older brother's bedroom in Avon. A shirt from the last game. A team photo. The Whalers schedule from the last season. Both home and away Whalers jerseys."
"It's been 17 years. Seventeen years," his brother Chris said. "Every April 13, I wake up in a bad mood."
This is a GREAT read for Whalers fans:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/10879320/chicago-blackhawks-ben-smith-tuning-game-playoffs — with Pete Hindle and 3 others.
"Unplugged Manure!" The Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs Chides Gov. Malloy and Reckless Bloggers on Wild NHL-to-Hartford Rumors.
HARTFORD — Their annual commiseration will be Sunday afternoon, here in a downtown restaurant, and there is no telling how many will attend. The proud members of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club will gather around a table or two at the Black Bear Saloon on Allyn Street and reminisce over the team they still love, the one that played its final NHL game at the Civic Center on April 13, 1997, and then made tracks south for Raleigh, N.C.
At some point during their annual Whaler Fanniversary, with nearly two decades of Sundays gone by, they’ll once more play a tape of that last game. They’ll chitchat about their beloved Hartford players and conjure up their favorite moments in Whaler history.
They’ll come lugging memories, old ticket stubs, scrapbooks, and autographed sweaters, the collective sporting goods and spoils of their lingering, inextinguishable Whaler love affair.
Related Photos Gone but not forgotten: The Hartford Whalers “I wore a black armband to the last game that day,’’ recalled Joanne Cortesa, current president of the Booster Club, who was a Whalers season ticket-holder throughout the team’s NHL days. “They were leaving . . . and it was like someone had died. It was heartbreaking to see it.’’
As the 2013-14 NHL regular season comes to a close Sunday, there is no sign that Hartford — roughly the halfway point between longstanding NHL outposts Boston and New York — will woo back the NHL. Smart money has Seattle and possibly Las Vegas at the top of the expansion list. Quebec City, where a dazzling new rink is under construction, is considered likeliest to receive a transferred franchise. Quebec for 16 seasons was home to the NHL’s Nordiques, who moved to Denver in the summer of 1995.
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"'Brass Bonanza' was silenced in 1997 when the franchise was moved down south and became the Carolina Hurricanes. The Whalers moved to Hartford in 1974 and were basically an institution in town. The next time you talk to someone from Connecticut who lived in-state during the 23 years the team was in town, just ask about the Whalers and watch their eyes light up. National champs or not, not even the UConn Huskies – men or women – get that response. "