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Connecticut Whale? Really?


Brian in Boston

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So, apparently Howard Baldwin's Whalers Sports & Entertainment has struck a deal to assume control of Hartford's American Hockey League franchise, the Hartford Wolf Pack. As part of the agreement, Baldwin has announced that the team will start the 2010-2011 AHL season as the Wolf Pack, but will officially be rebranded some time prior to the team's February 19, 2011 game against the Providence Bruins. That game will most likely be shifted to Rentschler Field as part of Baldwin's Whalers Hockey Fest event.

The team's new identity?

The Connecticut Whale.

Look, Howard... it is either the Whalers, or nothing at all. "The Whale" was an acceptable fan-utilized term of familiarity for Hartford's NHL franchise, but as a team identity it is horrendous. Sure, sure... you'll wind-up telling us that you're looking to save the Hartford Whalers identity for the return of the NHL to Connecticut. First of all, said return is highly - HIGHLY - unlikely to be forthcoming. Second, if you truly believe that having the Hartford Whalers brand grace an AHL franchise would be beneath the heritage of the original NHL team, just dub the soon-to-be-renamed Wolf Pack the Connecticut Whalers. No confusion between the legacy of the two franchises then, right?

The Connecticut Whale. :puke:

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Yeah, a real head scratcher this one is. Especially the decision to wait until mid-season to make the switch.

The mid-season switch doesn't surprise me in the least. Right now, Baldwin's all about ramping-up excitement for his Whalers Hockey Fest at Rentschler Field. The most significant part of his target audience for the event are those former WHA New England Whalers and NHL Hartford Whalers fans who are pining for Howard to lead Greater Hartford back to the "Promised Land" of major-pro ice hockey. By moving the February 19, 2011 AHL contest to Rentschler Field and making it the Whale's official "coming-out party", Howard's ratcheting-up excitement - and attendance - for the Hockey Fest.

Further, I'm sure that even a minor-pro circuit like the AHL has some rules regarding the amount of notice a franchise must give the league regarding identity/branding changes.

Finally, one would hope that Baldwin has secured the services of a reputable and talented design firm (*cough* Studio Simon *cough* Joe Bosack Design Company *cough*) with significant sports branding experience to create a top-notch visual identity package for the team. As it is, that process is going to be rushed, given Baldwin's late closing of this deal. Still, by putting the official unveiling off a bit, he buys the designers time to do a better job.

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My guess is that Baldwin ran into several NHL-centered roadblocks while attempting to secure the rights to obtains the use of the "Whalers" name, so he went with this half-measure. This stupid, silly half-measure.

But if it puts 9,000 a night in the seats at XL Center, good for him. Doubt that it will, but here's hoping.

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The Connecticut Whale. Not even "Whales", just Whale.

A singular noun. Not even an abstract noun like "Wild" or "Liberty".

I question the soberness of these people. What exactly happened during the naming process that made them think "Whale" would be appropriate?

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The new hockey team in my hometown (Danbury, CT) is called the Danbury Whalers. Quite possibly the best minor league identity I've seen in years. Even better than the last minor league hockey team in the same town: Danbury Trashers. THAT teams logo was fantastic. This team's logo is even better. The secondary logo is fantastic. Dare I say it? ...it may even be better than the original Hartford logo. *covers head*

http://thedanburywhalers.com/

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Second, if you truly believe that having the Hartford Whalers brand grace an AHL franchise would be beneath the heritage of the original NHL team, just dub the soon-to-be-renamed Wolf Pack the Connecticut Whalers. No confusion between the legacy of the two franchises then, right?

The Connecticut Whale. :puke:

I'm probably one of the biggest Whalers fans on the boards, but let's be honest for a second. Are they really trampling any sort of "legacy?" I mean, the Whalers aren't really the Montreal Canadiens here as far as historical victories. The team had a friggin' parade just for making the playoffs one year for Pete's Sidorkiewicz-sake.

I mean, I love the Whalers, but maybe having them come back as an AHL-team isn't far from their what their performance was when they were here before....

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I'm probably one of the biggest Whalers fans on the boards, but let's be honest for a second. Are they really trampling any sort of "legacy?" I mean, the Whalers aren't really the Montreal Canadiens here as far as historical victories. The team had a friggin' parade just for making the playoffs one year for Pete's Sidorkiewicz-sake.

Trust me... I'm in agreement with you. I'm just trying to figure out why in God's name Baldwin wouldn't just name the team the Hartford Whalers? Or, if there was a trademark issue preventing him from doing so, the Connecticut Whalers?

The Connecticut Whale? It smacks of the half-assed.

Then again, when it comes to branding, there's even a bargain-basement vibe surrounding Baldwin's Whalers Hockey Fest. The logo for that event looks like nothing so much as several images cut-and-pasted from disparate sources. I alluded to Baldwin hiring a reputable graphic design firm with a track-record of sports identity work to come-up with a new brand package for the AHL squad. That said, based upon what we've seen and heard so far - the Whalers Hockey Fest mark, the Connecticut Whale name - I'm not holding my breath. I think the world of major-pro sports has passed baldwin by. He's in over his head.

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It's not as if the Hurricanes regularly pay homage to the Whalers anyways... if it weren't for Ron Francis, I don't think most Carolina fans would even remember where their team came from.

That said, 'the Whale' is the stupidest name I've heard this side of 'Banana Slugs'.

Basically, they can either be the whaler, the dude that does the harpooning, or the whale, the thing that gets harpooned... is it just me, or does one seem much more logical than the other?

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Basically, they can either be the whaler, the dude that does the harpooning, or the whale, the thing that gets harpooned... is it just me, or does one seem much more logical than the other?

Then again, Phoenix had the Roadrunners and then the Coyotes (as in Wile E., who chased the Roadrunner).

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I see where Baldwin's going with this. Chasing Amy would have us believe that many mid-90's hockey fans lovingly referred to Hartford as The Whale, so he's hoping for a nostalgia kick to help bring in the comic geeks, Kevin Smith fans, and jersey-wearing lipstick lesbian demographics that the AHL has been trying unsuccessfully to cultivate for years.

It's still dumb, but I see where he's going with it.

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I see where Baldwin's going with this. Chasing Amy would have us believe that many mid-90's hockey fans lovingly referred to Hartford as The Whale, so he's hoping for a nostalgia kick to help bring in the comic geeks, Kevin Smith fans, and jersey-wearing lipstick lesbian demographics that the AHL has been trying unsuccessfully to cultivate for years.

It's still dumb, but I see where he's going with it.

Wasn't that Mallrats?

I think I might be the only member of this form that owns NHL All Star Hockey '96 for Sega Saturn.

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I see where Baldwin's going with this. Chasing Amy would have us believe that many mid-90's hockey fans lovingly referred to Hartford as The Whale, so he's hoping for a nostalgia kick to help bring in the comic geeks, Kevin Smith fans, and jersey-wearing lipstick lesbian demographics that the AHL has been trying unsuccessfully to cultivate for years.

It's still dumb, but I see where he's going with it.

Wasn't that Mallrats?

Yes, it was.

Breakfasts come and go, Renee, but Hartford, the Whale, they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.

EDIT: Wow. Mallrats was 15 years ago already.

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