Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Whalers Fan's Worst Nightmare

Even though the Hartford Whalers moved away 9 years ago, their diehard fans in Connecticut cling to the team's fading legacy much in the same way a wad of gum sticks to a hot sidewalk.

This year's Stanley Cup Finals, like the 2002 Cup Finals before them, are earning more than a casual interest from old-time Connecticut hockey fans, as the following lines from a column written by Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant seem to suggest:

Twelve years ago, it would have been a sublime idea for Hartford hockey fans.

The Stanley Cup finals, Chris Pronger on the ice and Chuck Kaiton behind the microphone. The voice of the franchise describing a title run, the franchise savior leading his team to a championship.

The fantasy is coming true. Thirteen years after he was drafted by the Whalers and 11 years after he was traded to St. Louis, Pronger is in the finals for the first time.

And his Edmonton Oilers are facing the former Whalers. Kaiton is one of the few remaining links, still calling games for the Carolina Hurricanes nine years after the franchise left Hartford.

For the post-lockout NHL, this is hardly a marquee Stanley Cup matchup. But for anyone with a Whalers jersey still hanging in their closet, there is a rooting interest in the Oilers-Hurricanes series.

However, Doyle's relatively mild tone barely scratches the surface of the turmoil being felt by the old Whalers fans. Carolina's success in being up 2 games to none is tearing their hearts out, and they are almost literally out for blood.

Check out the following quotes from members of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club (yes, it still exists), from the official Booster Club web site. These are not the rantings of your typical Internet trolls, but the actual thoughts of former NHL season ticket holders, who post on the Whalers Booster Club message board in-between feedings from the men in the clean white coats, apparently:

"Our worst hockey nightmare is about to be realized! What's worse than losing your team? Watching it win the Cup in its new market. Nordiques fans know that feeling, and I think we're next.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Hurricanes are going to win the Stanley Cup. Honestly, I wish I could feel as though this was still my team. But except for Wally and Skip behind the bench, and Chuck upstairs, this just isn't our Whalers. But boy...what a scene it will be to see Karmanos hold the Cup over his head. I almost hope he drops it...almost...but of course I wish no ill will towards the greatest trophy in the world.

"I'm just sitting here shaking my head. It's going to happen. It COULD have happened here, but it's going to happen in Raleigh. In the meantime, just be prepared for what's on the hockey horizon. The call that Chuck's been dying to deliver for 27 years is on the tip of his tongue... LONG LIVE THE WHALE!!!"
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"What an awful game to watch tonight. Alot of Whaler references throughout the game. At one point Mike Emrick said Whaler fans maybe even more than Hurricanes fans are rooting for the Stanley Cup. Which is totally wrong but whatever I still like Emrick as an announcer.

They showed Karmonos giddy in his little booth. Then John Davidson talks about the growth of Raleigh as a city and fan base and everything. I'm at work and I'm screaming at the TV I can't stand it. Why do I even watch it just gets me more upset. The Whalers in the Finals!? As a kid it was my dream but this is more of a nightmare..these aren't my Whalers."
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"Their attendance still sucked up until about halfway through the season. The supposed growth in the fanbase is just bandwagon fans who will be gone once they suck again."
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"Add me to the list of those thinking that is will happen this year. I just can't see the Oilers beating them. I think I may actually shed some tears when it happens...and they will not be tears of joy."
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"Anybody else see Kid Rock in Karmanos' suite? Pathetic on both ends. Yeah, I was actually watching that instead of the game, too. The faces they made when they realized what was going on was priceless. Kid Rock? Well, if you saw the baffoon who yells, 'THAT'S ANOTHER CAROLINA HURRICANES GOAL!!!' on their Jumbotron after the fog horn for each and every freaking goal, you could understand why they would have Kid Rock in the owners suite. LONG LIVE THE WHALE!!!"
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"I hate the NHL. I was a huge Hartford Whalers fan from when I moved to CT at age 5 in 1986 until the day they moved when I attended the last game. I didn't even watch hockey for two years after the Whale left, and since then have tried desperately to get back into it. I watch a little of the playoffs every year, but it hasn't been the same since.

"This might be the last straw. If the Hurricanes with the Cup, which I think they will, I may never watch another NHL game. It sickens me that teams like Tampa and Carolina, which have no business even having teams, are winning cups, while great hockey cities like Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver fail. It sickens me even more that great hockey cities like Hartford, Quebec, and Winnipeg don't have teams while cities like Phoenix, Anaheim, and Nashville do, and that the North Stars could leave Minnesota without a team for so many years.

"I hate the NHL for ruining my favorite sport, and I hate the Hurricanes for finding success after dumping Hartford. If someone who was such a passionate hockey fan only 10 years ago feels this way, it's no wonder the league is failing.

"Go Oilers... because I hope that I don't have to abandon the NHL for good."

Whalers patch logo (at top) taken from


Anonymous G12 said...


What a bunch of LOSERS!!!!!!

6/10/06, 9:40 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

There's a comment that needed a little editing!

6/10/06, 9:41 PM

Blogger Ritch said...

Great blog dude-

this is good stuff.


6/18/06, 1:41 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

Thanks-- much appreciated!

6/19/06, 8:53 PM


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