Governor Malloy is a big hockey fan, so I closed out this week’s Face the State with a flashback chosen with him in mind. We look back at 1986, when Hartford hosted the NHL All-Star game and Whalers fever hit Connecticut because of the team’s unprecedented, albeit unsuccessful run for the Stanley Cup.
Even though the Whalers lost in the playoffs, the team was honored with a big parade through Downtown Hartford. In the vintage video we dug up for Sunday, you’ll hear from Ron Francis and some other players, and marvel at the enthusiasm the fans showed. Whalers merchandise was a big seller, even churches got into the act.
You’ll hear the historic Christ Cathedral in downtown Hartford playing the Whalers fight song Brass Bonanza on its tower bells. The crowd at Bradley Airport to greet the team was pretty remarkable to watch. The report was filed by Gayle King in May of ’86.
So, can scenes like this be repeated? Governor Malloy smiled broadly as he watched the 27 year old video, and then we talked about whether major leagues sports can be restored in Connecticut’s capital city. While urging caution, the governor told me there are two groups interested in buying a team and perhaps moving it to Hartford.
He wouldn’t elaborate, but did say if these groups are serious and show him the money, then he would do everything within reason to help bring a team here, and he discussed the role of the XL Center in this and its new management team. The governor told me bringing back the Whalers would be “a unifying force in the state.” He also brought up some interesting food for thought: a team in Hartford could be good for the NHL by reducing costs. Travel for teams between Hartford, New York and Boston would be bus travel and cheaper than a plane. It’s clear the governor has done his homework on this subject.
Malloy also added this…”If I’d been governor, I wouldn’t have let them go.” The Whalers left the state in 1997 when John Rowland was governor. Watch that flashback right here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/face-the-state-flashback-whalers-leave-hartford-in-1997/
You can watch the entire Face the State Flashback on the Whalers and watch the governor’s comments that aired on WFSB Channel 3 right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8349169
About the author: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/marking-20-years-at-wfsb/