The Whale are no more–again.
The AHL team in Hartford, which changed its name to the Connecticut Whale in 2010, will return to the name “Hartford Wolf Pack,” according to reports by the Hartford Courant and WTIC’s Scott Gray.
The franchise had used the ‘Wolf Pack’ name since its inception in 1998, but changed to the Whale after former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin took over operations in 2010. But his company, Whalers Sports and Entertainment, ran into financial difficulty with the state and will no longer have a role with the team.
The change was announced today and is being made by Madison Square Garden, Inc., which owns the franchise.
In Ferbuary, MSG Inc. reached a deal to keep the team, which is the minor league affiliate of the New York Rangers, in the XL Center in downtown Hartford for at least the next three years.
Professional hockey has been in Hartford since 1975, when the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association (then a competing professional league with the NHL) moved from Boston to the newly constructed Hartford Civic Center. They joined the NHL as the Hartford Whalers in 1979 and spent 22 years in Connecticut’s capital, before owner Peter Karamanos moved the team to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1997.