Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About The Hartford Whalers

 

With NHL season underway, we're looking back at the Hartford Whalers; perhaps the most beloved defunct team in all of history. Part of the reason for their notoriety is their awesome logo, but there are plenty of other reasons to remember the Hartford Whalers.

History of The Hartford Whalers

 

Early Days 


The Whalers came into existence in 1972 as the New England Whalers, calling Boston their home until 1974 when they moved to Hartford. They played in the WHA, or World Hockey Association, which was a league that competed with and took players from the NHL between 1972-1979. The Whalers came in first place in the WHA for their first 3 seasons as a team. The NHL and WHA merged in 1979, and at that time the Whalers also joined the NHL.


The NHL Whalers 

The Hartford Whalers played in the NHL from 1979-1997.  In their 18 NHL seasons, they made the playoffs 8 times but never won a Stanley Cup. Attendance at their games was weak, as Hartford is located between Boston and New York. Their games only tended to sell out when the Rangers or Bruins came to play in Hartford, and then the stands would be filled with mostly fans of the away team. Nowadays the Whalers are legendary, and hockey fans everywhere are seen sporting Hartford Whalers apparel. The Whalers were pretty good for a while, but between 1989 and 1992 they made a few terrible trade decisions that got rid of many players that had brought success to the team. As a result, the Whalers began to decline in more ways than one.

The End Of The Whalers 

In the 90s, the Whalers started falling apart at the seams. Their last playoff run happened in 1992 when they played and lost a 7-game series against the Canadians. Afterwards they underwent a series of frustrating ownership, coaching, and roster changes in an attempt to salvage what was left of the team. The "Save The Whale" campaign helped to boost ticket sales during the 1994 season, but it was not effective enough to carry them past 1997. The Whalers played their last game in Hartford in 1997, a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The team then moved to Raleigh and became the Carolina Hurricanes.

Legacy of The Hartford Whalers 

 

The Howe Family

Gordie Howe and his two sons, Mark and Marty, played on the Whalers together for three seasons.  Gordie Howe retired as a Whaler at the age of 52, making him the oldest NHL player ever. We think it's pretty awesome how Gordie was in the NHL for long enough that his sons grew up and joined the league before he was too old to play anymore.

 

Pucky The Whale

With the dissolving of the Whalers in 1997, their mascot Pucky The Whale also disappeared. Pucky was not seen for 13 years, but in 1997 the Hartford Wolf Pack changed their name to the Connecticut Whale and Pucky joined the team as a second mascot, in addition to Sonar The Wolf. The Connecticut Whale only lasted until 2013, when they went back to being called the Hartford Wolf Pack. With the changing back to the Wolf Pack, Pucky has again disappeared.


The Brass Bonanza 
The Hartford Whalers Victory March, also known as The Brass Bonanza, is the song that was played after the Whalers scored a goal. Gordie Howe is quoted to have said that this song "drove him nuts" during his tenure on the Hartford Whalers. I can see where Mr. Howe was coming from.


  

Shop Hartford Whalers Apparel 

The Vault is fully stocked on NHL apparel including this awesome Retro Brand Hartford Whalers T-Shirt, featuring the one and only Pucky The Whale. Stop by one of our stores or visit on the web at www.thevaultcharleston.com to check out our selection. Use code "VAULT10" for 10% off your first online order!

Retro Brand Hartford Whalers Pucky Tee


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