Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Whalers Sports & Entertainment today announced a new agreement making Aetna the first member of the "Whalers Alliance." The Whalers Alliance refers to companies and corporations who have made significant, long-term commitments to the mission of Whalers Sports & Entertainment (WSE).
Aetna and WSE have signed a three-year agreement valued at nearly $500,000, which is highlighted by Aetna's becoming the title sponsor of the Whale's new Amateur Hockey program.
"Aetna has really stepped up here with a significant commitment to hockey in Connecticut," said Howard Baldwin, chairman and chief executive officer of WSE. "Aetna's support will allow us to do even more exciting things for youth hockey and adult recreational hockey, helping to grow the game more and more.
Just as importantly, this agreement affirms that Aetna shares our vision of the Whale, and an enhanced hockey market, helping to revitalize downtown Hartford and make our city an even more attractive place for young professionals to live and work. This is exactly the type of corporate backing that we need to make professional hockey in Connecticut absolutely the most it can be."
HARTFORD — — As the green-and-blue uniforms hit the ice a few minutes before 7 p.m. Saturday, "Brass Bonanza" filled the XL Center and 13,089 fans reveled in the nostalgia of the moment.
"It feels like old times," Howard Baldwin said.
And there was indeed a sense that Hartford's downtown arena was in a time warp on the night when the AHL team was re-christened as the Connecticut Whale. With green jerseys throughout the stands, fans roared during a pregame video that interspersed Whalers from the past with Whales of the present — a shot of Kris Newbury followed by the image of Pat Verbeek.