Skip to comments.Let's Buy The Whalers And Bring Them Back Home
Posted on 05/06/2017 8:47:31 AM PDT by Steven Scharf
Hartford Courant Let's Buy The Whalers And Bring Them Back Home Bring Back The Whalers
Hartford city councilman John Q. Gale has proposed a way for the Whalers to come back to Hartford.
By JOHN Q. GALE Friday, May 5, 2017
Forbes Magazine says that the Carolina Hurricanes (our Hartford Whalers) National Hockey League franchise is worth $230 million. As the team has the lowest attendance in the league, this is likely an overstatement, but let's work with it. Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said earlier this year that he would entertain offers for his team. What if all 38 towns in the Capitol Region Council of Governments banded together to buy the franchise and brought it back to Hartford?
Of course, interest in the Whalers in the Hartford area never waned and recent talk of the New York Islanders coming to Hartford reignited central Connecticut hockey pride. Reebok notes that Whalers paraphernalia is the their top seller of all non-active teams and Sports Illustrated has ranked the Whalers logo third best of all time.
Hockey pride notwithstanding, central Connecticut is facing a crisis in economic development. Our state and local economies are laggards; we are not growing existing business nor attracting new business. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy may have low approval ratings, but he gets it regions that have invested in their cities are thriving.
In his budget address, Malloy said, "We've yet to build enough thriving, vibrant city centers with lower tax rates where industry and business want to grow. The truth is, other states have had the foresight to make necessary investments in these areas, and as a result they've gained a competitive advantage on us."
Yet, even as these truths become more self-evident, towns in Greater Hartford continue to be reluctant to throw their lot in with the city. Regionalism seems to be a dirty word, instead of our salvation. What if we could provide the region with an identity, a rallying point; what if there were a way to bring back the Whale and give it a built-in metro area base of support; and we did it all by regionally cooperating. Such cooperation would be key; we know that when the Whalers were here, not enough of the region was engaged and ticket sales were not robust enough to keep the team here.
Before you dismiss this as a quixotic dream, here's my plan.
Grand lists are representative of the respective wealth of each town. So, the 38 towns would each pay a portion of the purchase price of the Whalers hockey team based on their percentage of the total grand list of all 38 towns. So, for example, by my calculations, Wethersfield is 3.22 percent of the total and Tolland is 1.79 percent. Wethersfield would then pay $7.41 million toward the purchase price, while Tolland would pay $4.11 million. Looking at all the capital region towns, West Hartford, with the highest grand list, would pay $18.69 million, while Andover, with the lowest grand list, would pay $822,000. On a per capita basis, these four towns range from a low of $252 per person to a high of $296 per person. The average per capita cost for all 38 towns is $274 per person.
That's right, for a one time payment of $274 per person, we could all own the Whalers!
With Connecticut's budget plunging deeper into the red, Hartford's finances teetering and towns across the state warily watching allocations of state aid for the coming year, it might hardly seem the time to spend money buying a professional hockey team. But, even as we struggle to straighten out the fiscal situation, we must have an eye on the long-term economic growth of our region. Judicious investments can yield strong results as we regain our fiscal footing and become that place where industry and business want to grow.
In buying the Whalers, each town would have to decide how to raise its portion of the purchase price. Some might just budget for it in one year, others might bond for it, paying the cost over 20 years at an annual per capita expenditure of about $14. In any case, no particular town is overly burdened. The Capitol Region Council of Governments, or a new regional authority, could be designated to manage the team. Done right, each town would potentially stand to receive distributions from profitable team operations.
Profitable operations require support from the community. Because each town would have a stake in the outcome, one might expect each town, indeed each neighbor, to promote attendance. We would be using our entertainment dollars to invest in ourselves. Beyond any financial concerns, we would be investing in the emotional well-being of our community. We would all be in this together; we could all take pride in our Hartford Whalers. Green Bay, where the Packers NFL football team is publicly owned, would have nothing on us. And in the process, we would have advanced regionalism.
John Q. Gale, a lawyer, is a member of the Hartford City Council.
From wiki in part, "The Hartford Whalers were an American professional ice hockey team based for most of its existence in Hartford, Connecticut. . . from 1972 until 1979, and in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1979 to 1997. . .
In 1997, the Whalers franchise relocated to North Carolina, where it became the Carolina Hurricanes."
This has to be the hair brainest crazy idea I have ever heard from a government offical. Not satified with just pouring money into failing arenas, this guy want to sink government money into a losing hockey team that is actually in a growing area.
Hartford-West Hartford, CT Combined Statistical Area is the 37th largest in the US 2016 pop estimate: 1,476,637, 2010 pop: 1,486,436 −0.66%
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area is the 29th largest in the US 2016 pop estimate: 2,156,253, 2010 pop: 1,912,729 +12.73%
As you can see one is growing and the other is not.
I now know why my multiple great grandfather William Kelsey who was one of the founders of Hartford, left to settle his own town nearby.
(Cavet: I hate hockey)
Some additional fuel as to why there has to be something in the water in the Connecticutt River.
State’s Budget Deficit Could Reach $5 Billion Over 2 Years
Income Tax receipts plummet adding more than one billion to two year budget shortfall.
New revenue state estimates show Connecticut’s budget deficit problems continue to worsen.
The current fiscal year is now projected to end June 30 with an approximate $394 million shortfall while the following two fiscal years are now predicted to have deficits of $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion respectively.
The estimates were released Monday by the budget offices for the General Assembly and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Published at 4:00 PM EDT on May 1, 2017
I like hockey but otherwise agree with you. Hartford is a decaying, crime-ridden craphole run by insane democrats in a state run by insane democrats. I mean, c’mon! - when a company (GE) runs to Massachusetts, how effed up is the place?
Why do you think the rest of us care? If CT goes under financially, so much the better for the few remaining conservatives who live there.
I don't think their for sale and I wouldn't recommend making an offer.
I’ve heard variations of this idea, in other cities in which their teams have threatened to move, or actually have moved away. The proponents of this say that the community ownership of the team is the answer, that then it could never move, etc.
If I recall correctly, the Green Bay Packers ownership model was grandfathered in by the NFL; the NFL no longer permits such ownership.
I don’t know if that applies to other sports, or NHL hockey specifically, but it does seem that ownership groups headed by multi millionaires and billionaires are the norm in sports ownership today.
Do the sports leagues actually prefer to have some larger than life bombastic owners, such as Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, and the late George Steinbrenner????
I don’t follow hockey, so don’t know the back story. Why did Hartford lose the Whalers? Poor attendance, team losing money, inadequate arena?? Would any of those same factors face the team if they were back in Hartford?
[New revenue state estimates show Connecticuts budget deficit problems continue to worsen.]
They need to keep electing Democrats including Malloy.
And when he dies, have him stuffed so they can still vote for him.
I feel so guilty feeling joy that CT has not changed in the years since leaving it’s idiocy.
A recent trip back there featured resident targeyed advertising evidence of how far that state standard of living has fallen -
Numerous Hartford capitol highway billboards promoted Pawn shop locations, Cremation $999 specials, and Jewelers that paid cash for Rolex watches.
In 1991 Gov Lowell Weicker and democrats rammed a new state income tax down citizen’s throats with the promise it would have a sunset expiration date and solve immediate budget problems.
CT is now in worse fiscal shape than ever before.
As William F Buckley said during that period,
“As a long time state resident, I’ve come to the conclusion that Connecticut is politically retarded.”
Maybe this guy, instead of committing deficit plagued governments to buy a hockey team, why doesn’t he work to put together an investment group to buy the team?
Win/win situation? The team comes back but is owned privately and will not be a drain on governments in Connecticut if they lose money????
Maybe they can play in the Yard Goats new over-priced stadium
Hello Houston, Texas! Why the 4th largest city in the USA, with lots of yankee transplants, doesn’t have an NHL team is beyond me. The Houston Hurricanes has a nice ring to it.
never mind the fact the NY metro area already has three hockey teams in existence...
Good point about Houston.
Almost all the major cities in America have the big four professional sports : major league baseball, NFL football, NBA basketball, and NHL hockey.
Houston should be high on the list for NHL expansion or relocation of an existing team.
As William F Buckley said during that period,
As a long time state resident, Ive come to the conclusion that Connecticut is politically retarded.
Unfort., the retards procreate or, worse yet, move
Hartford is just far enough away from New York, that it’s not really considered part of the NY metropolitan area, is it??
Though hockey fans there would certainly make a road trip to NY to see hockey if they desired.
Hartford is relatively close to Boston too, I believe, so those fans could go to Bruins games on a Boston road trip.
Besides that,The population of Connecticut has changed since the Whalers left Connecticut so there would be No fan base to support a team.
This Idea should be dropped by our politicians.They have bigger things they need to do to clean up the mess they have created here.
i live less than an hour from Hartford and ten minutes from Danbury in NE Westchester...there are tons of Rangers fans Danbury and that SW part of Connecticut- they won’t be changing their allegiance...
bringing the team back to Hartford from NC is sheer stupidity...
Their competition in that town was rigorous - the 1972 era Boston Bruins, a powerhouse of historic proportions (Orr, Esposito, etc.). Additionally, they had to contend with a new Bruins’ farm team, the Braves, who early on in their existence were drawing 10,000 a night in the old Boston Garden.
I wouldn't call that Whalers’ team inept (remember, this was in the early days of the WHA), but the level of play was so far down from what Boston fans were used to seeing on an almost nightly basis it was ridiculous.
The Whalers, of necessity, didn't last very long in Boston, so they opted for Hartford. I don't know if anyone in the Boston area mourned the move, or even cared.
The reason, I suspect, they were founded in Boston is because the town, always hockey mad, was deemed one of the best places in North America to bring forth a new hockey franchise. Ordinarily, they'd have been right, but (1) the Braves franchise had not yet gotten of the ground, and (2) there were serious questions about the viability of the new league. Sure, they had some stars to offer - J.C. Tremblay, Ricky Ley, Johnny MacKenzie, a few others of note (including an emerging young star from the Indianapolis Racers, Wayne Gretzsky), but certainly not enough to fill houses on a regular basis.
The Whalers, in my estimation, did not make it in Hartford because it's not a Major League city. It's sandwiched between Boston and multiple New York franchises who are at once competing for that area's entertainment dollar.
That franchise moving back to Hartford from Raleigh is a non-starter. They can't afford it, will not be able to afford it in the future, and will doubtless invite bankruptcy and possible dissolution down the road.
These guys, hopeless dreamers all, yearn for a time that never was, and doubtless never will be.
Spare us all, and kill this idea before it goes any further.
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