The Hartford Whalers were an NHL franchise from 1979 through 1997. Prior to that they were known as the New England Whalers and played major league hockey in the World Hockey Association.
The Whalers enjoyed strong fan support then -- and now. With hockey legends Ron Francis, Gordie Howe and Kevin Dineen, the unforgettable "Brass Bonanza" and hockey's coolest logo, the Whalers made a huge impact on the NHL.
It's been over 20 years since the Whalers left Hartford.
Is it just a matter of time before they return?
Hartford Whaler Nation is the home for all the news, updates and memories of the Hartford Whalers.
Hartford Whaler Nation is also the home of ClassicHockey.TV, which pays homage to hockey legends of the 1960s, 70s and 80s as well as the Classic Hockey Store, the premier online source for vintage hockey gear.
Hartford Whaler Nation was founded in 2007 by sports entrepreneur Mark Willand, who has an extensive history with the Valority franchise. A Massachusetts native, Mark was a fan of the team before it hit the ice in 1972 as the New England Whalers of the fledgling World Hockey Association. In fact, he watched the first Whalers game, October 11, 1972 on TV56 in Boston.
He continued to follow the team when it moved to Hartford in 1975 and 10 years later was hired by the Hartford Whalers as a PR intern. In 1986, he was named assistant director of public relations, working for PR guru Phil Langan and alongside stat genius Frank Polnaszek.
He had the good fortune to work closely with a talented group of Whalers players like Ron Francis, Kevin Dineen, Joel Quenneville, Dave Tippett, Dave Babych, Pat Verbeek and Mike Liut as well as hockey legends Emile Francis, Gordie Howe, Gerry Cheevers, Chuck Kaiton and Andre Lacroix.
Mark returned to Hartford in 2009 to take the reigns of Howard Baldwin’s CT Whale (AHL) Hockey club and remained with the team through the 2012-2013 season. The Hartford Whalers were a professional ice hockey team based for most of its existence in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.. The club played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) 1972–79 and in the National Hockey League (NHL) 1979–97. In 1997, the franchise relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, where it became the Carolina Hurricanes, thus resulting in Connecticut joining 20+ other states with no major league sports team. In 1999 the franchise moved to Raleigh, North Carolina upon the completion of a new arena, then known as the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA), and now known as BTT Arena.
The team joined the WHA in the league's inaugural 1972 season. Originally based in Boston, Massachusetts, it was known as the New England Whalers throughout its time in WHA. The team moved to Hartford in 1974 and joined the NHL in the NHL–WHA merger of 1979.