Playing in the National Hockey League’s smallest market and arena after the World Hockey Association merger in 1979, they struggled in a division that included both the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens—but their fans were among the NHL’s most loyal. In 1995 new owners demanded a new arena and, when it fell through, moved the team to North Carolina, rebranding as the Hurricanes.
Unlike fellow franchises that have folded or relocated with little fanfare, the Whalers’ fan base stayed with the team, which remains as popular as ever. Even though more than two decades have come and gone since Connecticut’s only professional sports team moved, nobody has truly forgotten the Whalers, their history, and their unique—and still highly profitable—logo. And while the NHL continues to thrive without them, their impact stretches far beyond the ice and into an entirely different cultural arena.
Christopher Price grew up in Connecticut as a diehard Whalers fan, experiencing firsthand the team’s bond with the community. Drawing from all aspects of the team’s past, he tells the uncensored history of Connecticut’s favorite professional sports franchise. Part sports history and part civic history, Bleeding Green shows vividly why the Whalers, despite an inglorious past and a future that unexpectedly vanished, remain firmly embedded in the American milieu and have had a lasting impact on not only the NHL but the sports landscape as a whole.