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Bettman And Hartford Mayor Discuss Nhl Franchise


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via WTIC Radio,

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez is continuing to push for a National Hockey League team in Hartford. Today he updated NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the status of the city’s plans for a new arena and the continuing interest in a future NHL franchise.

Perez says, for his part, Bettman shared his thoughts on what would be needed for an NHL team to succeed. He says both sides agreed they should continue their talks.

Perez goes on to state how he plans to keep the momentum going in Hartford's renaissance. “We must be prepared in the next three to five years to implement a redevelopment plan for a new multi-use arena facility that serves the entire state not only as a world class venue for concerts, family shows and UCONN Basketball, but also as a potential home for a major league sports franchise,” Mayor Perez said. “In light of these difficult financial times, this effort will take a considerable amount of work and partnership between the city, state and corporate community to bring the plans for the development of a new facility to reality, but the benefits have the potential to be exponential.”

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There are many here in Hartford still working hard to get the NHL back. We have perspective owner, we have corporate support to build a new state of the art arena where our existing civic center exists and the state owns the rights to the whalers colors and logo of the Hartford Whalers.

Perhaps just perhaps Bettman sees the faltering clubs in Nashville,Phoenix and Atlanta and perhaps realizes he moved too quickly with his southern dream. Hartford was and is a hockey town. We had some heated rivalries with Boston, NY and Montreal ( will forever hate Claude Lemieux).

On my many trips to Boston to watch the habs play the booins , my son would wear his whaler jersey only to get endless comments from the habs fans on how much they miss the whalers.

Hartford is the largest media market in the USA without a pro sports team. Connecticut, I believe is among the top 5 states in per capita income. Hartford at one point led the NHL with individual season ticket sales, not bad for a club that won only one playoff series.

Let this commissioner know how hockey should be back in Hartford ( where it never should have left). E-mail the NHL and let them know you want Hockey back in Hartford!!

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Ya really. Not like anyone in Carolina will notice =p

ROFL-So true

I respect that Hartford had their franchise pulled out from under them because it was struggling...However all they did was move it to different city to struggle in...Same with the Jets...They pulled them out of Winnipeg because they were in financial trouble...Now here they are 12 years latter as the phoenix coyotes...IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE

The commissioner saw fit to give Atlanta and Minnesota second chances at franchises...So why not Winnipeg? Why not Quebec City? Why not Hartford?

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Why, its for the best of the NHL, this is not a USA vs Canada contest.

Oh, that's not the reason I say that...I have no problems doing what's best for the NHL...What drives me bonkers is watching the Jets lose their struggling franchise...Only to have it struggle in a different city...It's complete non-sense in my opinion...I have no problems with those cities you mentioned getting franchises per say...It's just the 2-faced political posturing that Bettman constantly that drives me nutters.

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Oh, that's not the reason I say that...I have no problems doing what's best for the NHL...What drives me bonkers is watching the Jets lose their struggling franchise...Only to have it struggle in a different city...It's complete non-sense in my opinion...I have no problems with those cities you mentioned getting franchises per say...It's just the 2-faced political posturing that Bettman constantly that drives me nutters.

Well in Phoenix's defense they did suck for a very long time, they have a great young core now but the recession isn't helping things, if they can survive for the next 2 years they should do pretty good afterwards financially.

What can you do? The NHL needs the USA revenues, much larger populations and much less given revenue (people who will watch no matter what) to try and turn around.

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But lets look whats really best for the NHL........expanding the NHL into cities such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Nashville, and Raleigh which are all having trouble. Is it best for the NHL to have a casual on looker tune into a game to see a half empty arena or constantly read headlines of another team in financial ruin. Is that what is really best for the NHL?

There is a huge difference from the US and Canada when it comes to Hockey. There is no interest in hockey from the casual sports fan unless they are from a city that has a team in place. Take a look at the US newspapers and see the coverage the NHL gets compared to Canada, it is laughable.

Bettman had a dream that is just not working because the interest in those cities don't exist and the TV revenue is not there to support them like Baseball has. I saw a survey in Kansas City if they would rather have the NBA or the NHL....there was not much interest in bringing back the NHL there. Look at the dismal crowds in Phoenix and Nashville. Raleigh, the year after winning the cup could only sell out the RBC center on weekends and not every time. I spoke to someone from Raleigh at a work convention and he laughed when I asked him the interest in hockey...he said there really is none.

Why put a team where there is no demand , when in 10 years or so the NHL will have to face the same issues they are facing now. If Quebec could gather the corporate support they need then attendance would never be an issue. Same with Hamilton and Winnipeg. The demand is there , Bettman needs to realize that the NHL will never be like the NBA here in the states. We had our chance when hockey was getting big here in the late 80's and early 90's but something happened. Some say it was partly because of the move of the Hartford Whalers and how it was handled.

Now one could argue that the demand is not here in Hartford because of our past attendance and our attendance with AHL team. Lets take a quick look back at the whalers. We suffered thru endless ownership changes, ***** poor management and terrible trades. We watched our team for almost every year suffer thru below .500 hockey and win only one playoff round ( sweeping the Nords). Thru all of that we still averaged an attendance of 12,000. No, not great but really look at what we had. When we did make a run and were competing. We sold out, damn when we lost to the habs in game 7 the team came home to 40,000 people on the streets of Hartford for a parade and thats for losing, and yet still a bigger crowd than Raleigh got for winning the cup.

The whaler booster club is still active. There is a petition with thousand of signatures to push our lawmakers into approving a new arena. The whaler jersey being worn in Connecticut will always get people to cheer "Lets go Whalers" and start singing Brass Bonanza.

Its time for Bettman to cut his losses and realize the mistakes he had made. Hopefully he will and not continue to put teams in non-hockey markets such as Las Vegas, Kansas City and Seattle but take a look where hockey can actually be a success such as Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg.

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Also , just want to add as far as the AHL goes here in Hartford. We average about 3,000 per game with the average ticket being about $25 bucks. Ofcourse this is minor league hockey. Also , keep in mind that the Hartford Wolfpack is the minor league team of the NY Rangers. Who were a big rivalry of the Whalers. Imagine if Montreal lost their team and the Toronto Maple Leafs moved in their farm team the next year....how would that go over in Montreal?

Also, show me an AHL team that has or had incredible attendance and was awarded a NHL team......doesn't happen

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@ old whales fan (I'm not gonna quote that huge post):

IMO the NHL is on a upswing, if you compare the coverage of it compared to 4 years ago, while its still not great it had made great strides. People can actually tune into ESPN and get a decent hockey fix on Sportscenter, and ATH and PTI actually say 1 story about the sport per week, yes I realize its pathetic to say thats an improvement but its true and moving a team from the USA to Canada would be a step backwards in the gradual progres being made in the states.

The recession isn't helping, but the NHL has kept pushing and are starting to get some benefits from all their work, they are actually doing close to the NBA attendance-wise this year which is a great indicator (and this is in USA cities), while the NHL isn't at NBA level yet, many large media outlets are beginning to pick up on this new hockey swing and coverage is slowly accelerating.

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Come on Bettman! Enough is enough! No more expansion! If anything, relocate the Coyotes (back) to Winnipeg, move the Panthers to Quebec City, the Lightning to Hamilton, the Thrashers to Kitchener/Waterloo, the Predators to Regina, and the Hurricanes to Halifax. I guarantee all of those new markets would sell out every game.

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It's hard for people to pick up a new sport to follow when they're not kids.

I moved to Ohio a year ago and am slowly picking up college and NFL football, NBA interest and MLS interest. It's less interesting when you don't know the players and harder to get into it. The NHL can grow in the USA but it will take time.

I do not think it would be bad for the NHL to expand in Canada. If it did expand up here it would be at most 2 or 3 teams out of Winipeg, Southern Ontario and Quebec City. Victoria, Regina and Halifax are not viable. I think the NHL might wait till after the financial crisis and hope the Canadian dollar stabilizes, which unfortunately has not been true for 30 years.

In the long run there is room for growth in the USA. Las Vegas, Kansas City, Hartford, Seatle, Portland (Oregon), Cleveland ... for example here in Columbus there is an undercurrent of Blue Jackets interest; and I think it will take off now with Steve Mason, Derrek Brassard and Nikita Filatov being useful as opposed to only Rick Nash being useful.

We have an intelligent salary cap structure so going to from 32 to 40 teams would be great. It would add a lot of fans to the league; it would make playoff spots more competitive; and the temporary decrease in talent would bring in the excitement of record smashing.

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In the long run perhaps but as one can see from my posts I am anti-Bettman. He was very visible to prevent the moves in Pittsburgh and Nashville but was nowhere to be seen in Hartford. Even when we offered the owner a new arena, with all concessions, parking not only from hockey events but all events . He was still allowed to leave town....shame.

I will and always will believe the NHL needs to right itself by replacing the lost teams in Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg and no one can change my mind :D

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