The Return of The Whale? Thursday January 15, 2009

Typically, I’ll add this sort of topic as a blurb in the random thoughts for the week, but this story deserves some spread. (BTW it comes via. The calgarypuck forums )

Anyways, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss the possibility of an NHL Franchise relocating back to the Connecticut Capital.

So does that mean that the old Whale could be returning to the NHL?

There are it’s doubters, like this misinformed NBC analyst and a handful of others that would like to see the NHL back in Quebec before Connecticut. But, with the NHL struggling in Nashville, Atlanta, Phoenix and Miami and the upcoming economic fallout, it is very conceivable that the Whale could be returning. Contracting by 4 teams is not something either the PR reps for the NHL or the accountants at the NHLPA want to even think about. So the numbers look strong for a at least four franchises relocating.

This will anger people in Manitoba, but I think the NHL has a stronger chance of returning to a Hartford (1.5 million population base) than Winnipeg. I know Winnipeg has die-hard fans, but it just doesn’t make economic sense. I don’t think it will for at least 5-10 years. Even then, it would take a new stadium and some dramatic changes to the local Winterpeg economy (i.e. a shift from a government town to a more white collar technology town).

But Hartford, with a new stadium, is a very viable alternative. It could be the second coming of the Minnesota Wild expansion. Knowledgeable Hockey Fans, a strong hockey tradition (look at the success of the AHL Wolves), and a defacto rivalry with Boston Bruins. And If, as the mayor of Hartford has pointed out, Connecticut is looking at a renaissance; then this truly is a recipe for success.

So what are you waiting for Bettman bring back the Whale!

Categories: The-Flames, The-Future,

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