Gov. Lamont seeks meeting with NHL on possible return of hockey in Hartford

Could the NHL return to Hartford?
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 11:23 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Governor Ned Lamont plans to meet with the NHL and let the league know Connecticut is serious about hosting a professional hockey team.

Lamont’s office said the governor requested a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The Arizona Coyotes franchise is talking about moving the team as it deals with arena issues.

Voters in Arizona this week turned down a plan for a new $2.1 billion entertainment district that would host the team.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also likes the idea of professional hockey returning to Hartford:

“I think an NHL team would thrive in Hartford and in Connecticut. We would love to see an NHL team back in Hartford. This is a town and region that rallies around its teams. You see that 70 nights a year at the Yard Goats games and you can see it when UConn basketball is playing. We’re ready to work with anybody who wants to be a part of that,” Bronin said in a statement.

The Hartford Whalers played their last game 26 years ago on April 13, 1997. They became the Carolina Hurricanes.

“Without a doubt, bring it back!”

That’s what hockey fans in CT are saying, and Governor Lamont agrees.

“Connecticut has thousands of hockey fans who remain passionate about the beloved Whalers and are ready and eager to support and rally behind a team.”

Governor Lamont

“As soon as I got the notification that it might be happening, I was like, a season ticket holder right here. And I think it would be great and exciting and a chance to grow the game of hockey,” said Emily Osman, Hartford.

“All I’ve heard in the 20 years of being here is the lamentations of the Whalers not being here. So I think any opportunity to have a hockey team back here would be fabulous for the state,” added Krista Bolem, West Hartford.

With 5 other NHL teams within 3 hours of Connecticut, nobody thinks there will be any problem for a new team to reel in and keep fans.

“I think a lot of people who grew up in CT are split between Boston and NY sports. So I think a lot of them are craving a team from their hometown,” Emily said.

Lamont plans to meet with NHL on hockey in Hartford