Hartford Whalers Team History
While in Boston, the club played their home games at the Boston Arena and Boston Garden. However game scheduling at Boston Garden owned by the rival NHL Bruins became increasingly difficult, and the owners decided to relocate the team to Hartford, Connecticut beginning with the 1974 – 1975 season. The area, aside from various minor league teams in New Haven, had been largely bereft of pro hockey until the team’s arrival. While waiting for their new arena in Hartford, the Whalers played the first part of the 1974 – 1975 season at The Big E Coliseum in West Springfield, MA.
On January 11, 1975, the team played its first game in front of a sellout crowd at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum. The franchise remained in Hartford until it relocated to North Carolina for the 1997 – 1998 season, save for a temporary relocation to the nearby Springfield Civic Center in the late 1970s while their Hartford arena was being rebuilt after heavy snow followed by heavy rain caused the roof to collapse, which suffered from several engineering and construction shortcomings.
In the summer of 1994, the Whalers were purchased, in a deal brokered by the Connecticut Development Authority, by Compuware CEO Peter Karmanos, along with partners Thomas Thewes, and Jim Rutherford. Rutherford became the team’s new General Manager and Holmgren came back as the Head Coach. The new ownership wanted to turn the team into a winner for the 1994 – 1995 season.
Despite assurances made when he purchased the team in 1994 that the Whalers would remain in Hartford at least through 1998, in March 1997 owner Peter Karmanos announced that the team would move elsewhere after the 1996 – 1997 season because of the team’s inability to negotiate a satisfactory construction and lease package for a new arena in Hartford. On May 6, 1997, Karmanos announced that the Whalers would move to the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh.
The Hartford Whalers were an American professional ice hockey team based for most of its existence in Hartford, Connecticut. The club played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1972 until 1979, and in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1979 to 1997.
Boston – Hartford – Raleigh
1980 – Present National Hockey League
1972 – 1979 World Hockey Association
Whalers – Whaling is a major industry in Massachusetts seaport towns.
1997 – Present Carolina Hurricanes
1979 – 1997 Hartford Whalers
1972 – 1979 New England Whalers
Stanley Cups 0
2005 – 2006
2013 – Present PNC Arena
2002 – 2012 RBC Center
1999 – 2002 Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena
1997 – 1999 Greensboro Coliseum
1975 – 1978, 1980 – 1997 Hartford Civic Center
1978 – 1980 Springfield Civic Center
1974 – 1975 The Big E Coliseum
1972 – 1974 Boston Garden
1972 – 1973 Boston Arena
1994 – Present Peter Karmanos, Jr.
1972 – 1993 Howard Baldwin, John Coburn, W. Godfrey Wood and William Edward Barnes
2 Glen Wesley
9 Gordie Howe
10 Ron Francis
17 Rod Brind’Amour
99 Wayne Gretzky
1997 – Present Stormy
1975 – 1985 Pucky the Whale
*Blue is this team’s history