The CT Whale celebrated "Howe Family Night" during their Geico CT Cup match-up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 26th, 2011 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The No. 9 of "Mr. Hockey," one of seven numbers in the XL Center rafters, was refurbished, and a new banner saluting the Howes with their numbers -- 9, 5 for Mark and 18 for Marty -- and Colleen's name alongside a Whalers logo was raised.
Whale players wore special 1978 vintage No. 9 Gordie Howe New England Whales home jerseys in warm-ups, and 10 of them were auctioned after being signed by Gordie. There also was a live auction, and a two-minute video tribute to the Howes during a first-intermission ceremony.
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.