Hockey in Hartford? That seems like a time warp back to the 70s, 80s and 90s, but Connecticut governor Ned Lamont said on Friday that he’s planning to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes relocating to Hartford.
According to wtnh.com’s Rich Coppola, the 48-year-old Hartford XL Center would be a better temporary home for the Coyotes than Mullett Arena, since the voters in Tempe, Ariz., recently rejected the proposal for a new arena.
“This is a great hockey state and a great hockey town,” Lamont said, via the Associated Press per SportsNet. “It’s evidenced by the passion we have for the Whalers going back years — still one of the best selling jerseys. I think we can guarantee them a very strong market right here, and a government that’s ready to come and be their partner.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin appears to be on board with welcoming hockey back to the city he calls home when he jokingly updated the social media profile of the Coyotes on Twitter to reflect the relocation. Bronin went as far as to rename the team the “Connecticut Coyotes.”
In their 18-year NHL history, the Hartford Whalers made the Stanley Cup playoffs only eight times and won only one playoff series when they defeated the also defunct Quebec Nordiques 3-0 in the 1986 best-of-five first round.
One of the biggest rivalries the Whalers had were the Boston Bruins since the two clubs were only 100 miles from each other with Boston holding the 69-37-12 head-to-head all-time record. The Whalers relocated to Raleigh, No. Carolina in 1997 and became the Carolina Hurricanes.