EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford Whalers have been extinct since the late 1990s, but Hartford hockey fans remain insanely loyal to their beloved, yet nonexistent, NHL franchise. How many current warm-weather clubs can say that about their followers?
Over the weekend, Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., hosted the Whale Bowl. The all-day event was part of Hockey Fest — a 10-day celebration of Connecticut hockey hosted by UConn’s outdoor football arena — in an attempt to respark some hockey life back into the Nutmeg State.
Despite gusting winds and temperatures in the teens, the parking lots were flowing with a sea of green and white tailgaters as The Zambonis rocked out for the masses.
Inside the stadium, the triple-header kicked off with Army taking on American International College before Bruins and Whalers alumni took the frozen pitch for a legends game that featured such greats as Brian Leetch, Pat Verbeek, Brad Park and more.
The event was capped off with the Connecticut Whale taking on the Providence Bruins in front of nearly 22,000 paying customers. The P-Bruins and Whale gave fans their money’s worth as Providence edged the home team under a starlit sky in shootouts.
To see a recap of the event and a handful of die-hard Whaler fans, check out the New England Spotlight video above.