Growing up outside of Hartford, it was a real crushing blow when the Whalers headed south to Carolina. Nearly 20 years later, the community still hasn’t recovered, and still wears the team’s apparel with a vigor as if the franchise had never left.
Every time there is a lot of hand wringing about public funding for arenas, I think about what the impact the Whalers’ relocation had on Hartford. I totally agree that football stadiums are completely wasteful uses of public funding, but a good arena in a city without much else going on can be occupied at least 50% of a year’s dates between sporting events, concerts, conventions, monster truck rallies, the circus, and whatever else. While estimates of a reverberation effect can certainly be overstated by owners, there’s a real impact with local bars, restaurants, parking businesses, and more.
Anyways, this Christmas organ version of the Brass Bonanzaa, made by Red Sox organist Josh Kantor, brought back some of the good memories of watching the Whalers as a kid. Hopefully they return someday.