An anticipated ordinary media availability with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy a Friday ago quickly churned out some national news when the governor revealed two groups were talking with him about restoring an NHL team to Hartford. The governor’s comments spread across the state via twitter, tv, radio and Facebook and then Sports Illustrated and other outlets. No doubt there were many folks whistling the Brass Bonanza.
Could it really happen? This Sunday on Face the State we talked with two people with some unique insight into the quest to replace the Hartford Whalers, who skated to the Deep South in 1997. First, the governor’s chief spokesman is with us, Andrew Doba. During the taping, Doba explained the machinations that are ongoing and the governor’s openness and commitment to such an undertaking. Who are the groups and what about the aging XL Center? These are some of the questions Doba and I discussed.
Also on Face the State, former Hartford Whalers owner Richard Gordon. Gordon, a successful Hartford developer, saw the ups and downs of owning a pro hockey team in Hartford and knows whether it can be done again. Gordon says absolutely it can, but he thinks one thing would really help speed things up: UConn must join the Big Ten.
You see, Gordon admits the NHL has at times looked at Hartford as a second class citizen, but membership in such an elite NCAA conference would change the view of the city and the state overnight.
“Big crowds, big cable networks and big tv contracts, and when that is brought to the National Hockey League, it means something. Coming along with the Whalers is one thing but think of how many national championships and great coaches that have come out of here.”
Gordon commended Governor Malloy for taking on such a big idea, and he agreed with the governor that a return of the Whalers would be great for the community.
“When the were here, the players were everywhere, they formed a brotherhood with the community.”
We also talked about what the governor should do and look out for, the corporate support needed, and the Whalers merchandise still selling at a brisk pace. Gordon also predicted a new Hartford Whalers would pump $100M a year into the Connecticut economy.
Watch the entire edition of Face the State right here:
photo at top by Andy Hart of the Hartford News
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