Bring Back the Whalers: A Letter to Gary Bettman

Andrew SCorrespondent IMay 6, 2009

13 Feb 1997:  Leftwinger Geoff Sanderson of the Hartford Whalers moves down the ice during a game against the New Jersey Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Devils won the game, 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /A

Dear Mr. Bettman,

I know you're busy squeezing the life out of a once-proud sport, but I'd like a little bit of your time to give you a little business proposal.

We all know that you don't want to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton. So here's an alternative:

Bring back the Whalers!

That's right, if you haven't considered Hartford as a destination for the Coyotes yet; you should.

Hartford might not the biggest city, and it probably won't make you the most money. But, I can guarantee that if you bring the NHL back to Hartford, we will support the team whole-heartedly.

We're like a guy whose girlfriend left them. We haven't messed around with anyone else since then; we want you back. And we promise we'll treat you better this time.

Do you need somewhere that already has an arena?

You're in luck, we have the XL Center, with 15,000 capacity. And Eddie Perez, the mayor of Hartford would be more than willing to build a new one.

Do you need fans with passion and knowledge who will loyally support their team?

Hartford has that as well. The Whalers usually averaged somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 fans. That means full arenas every night. And you'll sell even more tickets when you come back.

Do you need to sell luxury boxes?

Well, Connecticut is the wealthiest state in the Union and has plenty of millionaires and corporations.

Do you need to make television revenue?

Hartford is the 29th largest television market.

I've made my case in the only way that you'll understand, by putting it in financial terms.

Try out some human emotion for a second. Hartford had it's heart and soul stolen in 1997. The city is in a state of decay. 

If you give us back our team, you will be forever beloved in the Nutmeg State.

You'll delight a legion of true hockey fans who live where hockey should be played, in the cold weather. 

The ball's in your court, Mr. Bettman. Give Hartford its heart back.


Andrew Stephan