What are the Chances of the Whalers Returning to CT? Expert Says It’s “Unlikely’
Pat Pickens is a writer for NHL.com, formerly an editorial producer for MLB.com and a freelance writer for The New York Times. Pickens is also the author of the book "The Whalers: The Rise, Fall and Enduring Mystique of New England's (Second) Greatest NHL Franchise" which comes out in paperback on October 1, 2023.
We asked Pat to join us on the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Show on I-95 to discuss the many rumors about a potential return to pro hickey in CT. Below is a portion of that discussion.
We've heard a lot from CT Governor Ned Lamont about possibly bringing the Whalers or some other NHL team back to Hartford. Is this something that is likely to happen?
Pat: "It sounds unlikely. It was a really interesting summer with the Governor. I think it's funny, I get asked this all the time and my answer has always been sort of couched, anything is possible, there is always the potential but the overwhelming likelihood is no. Now you hear the Governor really pushing to try and get improvements to the Civic Center, I'm sorry the XL Center, I always call it the Civic Center. I think they're lobbying to try and get Arizona for sure but I think what they're really trying to do is position themselves in the potential for expansion down the road. You know, the NHL does not seem content to stop at 32 teams even though some of their markets struggle at times. You hear rumblings about Houston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City and these are all in response to Arizona's relocation but it's also a matter of potential expansion down the road. I think Hartford with some arena improvements, you know they've been trying to show they have a loud, passionate, more importantly corporate and wealthy market. I think there is a level of intrigue from the NHL, the NHL has proven it is willing to go back certain places. I know Hartford's a pretty small market considering but Vegas is a small market, there's you know Raleigh but it depends on who you ask. The people I talk to sometimes refer to St. Louis as comparably sized markets to Hartford, Springfield and New Haven. Yeah, they are angling to try and get the Coyotes in the short term but I really think they're trying to set themselves up for expansion with the NHL down the road potentially."
You can listen to our complete I-95 Morning Show interview with Pat Pickens below.
MLB and the NHL make me laugh, they are always behaving as if their product is infallible but they are far from it. These leagues are not understanding that they are not at the level of the NFL so they cannot grow their league's using the same template.
Pick up Pat's book on Amazon.com
P.S. We could have spoken with Pat for hours but we only had minutes. We are making plans to get him back on the show in the future for a more in-depth Hartford Whalers discussion.
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