The Hartford community, in which I grew up, has never quite gotten over the loss of the Whalers. It’s been nearly 20 years, but you can’t spend a day in the area without coming across several people sporting team gear, which is sold in many clothing stores and is one of the only things you can buy at Bradley International Airport.
(The branding is also such that I encounter someone wearing the Whalers logo in Chicago once every week or two, and they’re rarely from Connecticut. “I just like the hat.” I find that positively dumbfounding, but the team clearly resonates with the nostalgia crowd.)
We are convinced that there will be a knight in shining honor to restore the franchise’s former glory, and, once every month or two, a rumor will emerge in various local news outlets that some local gajillionaire is interested in purchasing a moribund NHL franchise and setting up shop in Hartford. The latest round involved Arnold Chase, who received notoriety in 2007 for building a mansion so extravagant that it outsized Bill Gates’.
Rumors that the aristocrat was interested in purchasing and relocating the New York Islanders supposedly originated on social media recently. I say supposedly because I can’t find any evidence of them on Google or Twitter, but they must have been out there somewhere because Chase was asked about the possibility by ancient WTIC personality Scott Gray.
“This rumor is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, ” Chase told him. “It’s total fantasy . With all due respect, sports is the last thing on my mind. I have no idea who the Islanders are.”
Professing total ignorance of an NHL franchise is a fantastically strong method of disavowing any interest in ever being useful to Connecticut sports fans.