Tag:Hartford Whalers
Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 6:59 pm

Plan unveiled in hopes of bringing Whalers back

By Brian Stubits

Could the Hartford Whalers return to the NHL? The question has been asked every day since they left for Carolina in 1997.

But where there's a will, there's a way. And there is definitely a will from Howard Baldwin, the CEO of the Connecticut Whale, and now he's trying to find a way.

This week Baldwin revealed a plan to renovate the XL Center and completely upgrade it as well as the surrounding mall. The building is old and out of date, so before an NHL team could ever return, the arena issue would have to be taken care of. That's the idea for Baldwin.

The tough part, as with any arena idea, is the public funding. Baldwin's plan calls for $105 million of it to execute the plan. Especially in today's economic climate, that's one tall task.

Even more important according to Hartford Courant writer Jeff Jacobs is that the number of $105 million be accurate. If it's wrong, it could spell trouble. Read Jacobs' entire story for full details on the arena plans as well as a video with artist renderings and more from Baldwin.

So before you crank up the Brass Bonanza again, temper the enthusiasm. First of all, even in Baldwin's ideal world, the Whalers don't return until 2017. Assuming that the NHL liked the arena enough and was willing to commit to the Hartford market again, there would still be an issue of a team.

There seems to be a waiting list right now to be the next hockey market. Quebec City is the hottest host candidate, especially with a new arena in the works. Kansas City is begging for a primary tenant in its new arena. Seattle, Las Vegas and Houston are lurking in the background as well.

As far as teams in danger of relocating, it appears only the Coyotes fit that mold right now. The Islanders would be in the conversation, but I am all but convinced the commissioner won't let the Isles leave the New York area. Although Hartford wouldn't be a far relocation, it would be about a three-hour drive from their home now, not exactly close enough to keep the fan base.

But in the meantime, keep the hope alive, Hartford. I think it would please a lot more than the people of Connecticut to see the Whalers back in the NHL. Just in case the Whalers do come back, make sure the old logo returns.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 11:23 am

Bettman: Would be 'malpractice' if Islanders move

By Brian Stubits

Gary Bettman doesn't think the Islanders are going anywhere.

The commish made a stop on Mike Francesa's show on WFAN in New York and among other things, he discussed the plans to keep the Islanders where they are (not Nassau Coliseum, but Long Island).

"I refuse to accept that this team is not going to get a new building at some point," Bettman said. "[Owner] Charles Wang is committed to the Island, committed to the Islanders. He's devoted almost a decade of his life, tens of millions of dollars in pursuit of this and fortunately there are a few years left. They're not going to stay in the Nassau Coliseum no matter what, so we're going to need to come up with a solution somehow, somewhere."

That's all encouraging for Isles fans to hear. Nobody wants to lose their team.

Bettman continued:

"The team needs a new building and there has to be concrete plans on the horizon that's going to get it done otherwise we're going to have a problem," Bettman said. "I don't know exactly how we're going to solve that problem, but it's inconceivable to me that the Islanders wouldn't be on Long Island because it would be malpractice for those in charge to let that happen."

This part made my ears perk up. A "malpractice" if the Islanders were to leave New York? Well yes, I'd agree. However, why wasn't it a malpractice for the Thrashers to leave Atlanta, or the Whalers to leave Hartford? Bettman's answer probably would be simply that it was a malpractice in those spots too, but don't you think they would have liked to see the commish fight the same way?

The only differences between the Thrashers and Islanders is that the Isles didn't always suck and they are in New York. Then just swap ownership issues for arena issues and you have similar stories. It's just Bettman doesn't seem willing to let this one end the same way Atlanta's did. Which is good. I've stated many times that I don't like the idea of contraction or relocation (although at this point I think I'd be willing to bend on Phoenix).

You can listen to the entire Bettman segment here. One thing Bettman does well is interview on the radio. Just don't ask him to act in any commercials.

H/t to ESPN New York

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

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