December 23rd 2018,
The Carolina Hurricanes made a decision at some point in the off season to resurrect the Hartford Whalers. Well at least their jersey and mistake, the franchise is not moving back to their once beloved home. However they are going to wear the timeless logo, colors, and jerseys twice this season. Once at home and once on the road against the Whales biggest Rival the Boston Bruins.
This announcement was met with joy from most of the hockey community. The Hartford Whalers were the gone to soon team of the NHL. The teams mistake has outlasted that of other retired franchises to the point at most hockey bars and rinks you can spot the famous whale tail on at least one person. So for the Carolina Hurricanes to want to bring that piece of their history to the forefront is a no brainer sorta.
As the date approached there was a large out cry from the true fans of both the Hurricanes and Whalers franchises asking the team reconsider. It seemed like fans of the current franchise felt like it was an unnecessary money grab as none of them pine for the old glory days of the Whalers. Mostly because there wasn’t really a hockey fan base in Carolina prior to the team arrival.
The flip side of the coin, fans of the original franchise have not continued their fandom for the Carolina franchise. In spite of Hartford’s best attempts to reclaim a team of their own they have not confined to powers at be in the NHL. So the display of their beloved team felt like a painful reminder of the thing they so desperately want but can not have.
So essentially as most of the hockey community tuned into see those truly glorious jerseys glide up and down the ice, and to hear “Brass Bonanza” be pumped over the speakers after every goal. The people who it should have really mattered to were hurt and scorn. Leaving the Carolina fans feeling like their fandom and franchise haven’t meant anything. While the residents of Hartford were left with a new wound that they will attempt to heel.
A teams re-location is never easy. No matter what someone’s feelings are going to get hurt. Well maybe accept the Atlanta Thrashers. However in the case of the Hartford Whalers it still stings to think about a beloved franchise being ripped out of their home for a chance to expand the game into a southern market. Every sport goes through it and every sport has that one franchise that in hindsight maybe should have never moved. For the NHL that franchise more than any other is the once glorious Hartford Whalers.