The Hartford Whalers relocated to Raleigh North Carolina in 1971. During the team’s 18-year history they won one Avco World trophy, two conference championships and four division championships. Despite the teams 15-year absence a large fan base still anticipates their return. “The line of thousands of Whalers Fans wearing jerseys and T-shirts with the team logo on Saturday at Rentschler Field was a testament to the lasting popularity of the team and its merchandise in Hartford.” According to Courant.com.
Sports teams are infamous for alienating their fans by relocation. Fortunate cities end up receiving an expansion franchise or their old franchise. The use of social media has allowed loyal fans to raise awareness and persuade their city to relocate an existing or expansion franchise back to their city. A FaceBook page called Hartford Whalers had 50,343 likes. The Whale Watch account, which serves as the official twitter account of the team has 4,220 followers. The Official Hartford Whalers booster club still exists.
A loyal fan base and merchandise sales are in Hartford’s favor but they’re still missing a new team and an arena. Our struggling economy has forced teams in unsupportive hockey markets to relocate. Winnipeg, Manitoba ended up welcoming their Jets back because of this type of scenario. A NHL regulated arena will have to be constructed if Whalers Fans have any hopes of their team coming back.
A professional hockey team should represent Connecticut again. The NHL is currently in a lockout and its financial problems are not helping the situation. Relocating a struggling team back to Hartford, which is in the 30th biggest T.V market will help the league make money. A large fan base that continues to purchase merchandise and support its team online is ready to embrace the Whalers.
Written By Sam Goldman
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