This month marks a dark anniversary in state history. Fifteen years ago, the Hartford Whalers announced they were leaving Connecticut, a blow to the city and the state, from which it still has not recovered. In this Sunday’s Face the State flashback, we take you back to March of 1997. In the beginning of the month, the effort to save the team was in full gear, but on March 26th, team owner Peter Karmanos announced the team was out of here.
In our flashback, you’ll see a report I filed on March 12th, as talks were going on between state officials and Karmanos, and as a study was released showing the huge impact the Whalers had on the economy.
You’ll hear from John Carbone, who told me that night if the Whalers were to leave, his Gaetano’s restaurant would have a dim future. He was right. Gaetano’s closed less than two years later, as the Hartford Civic Center mall was slated for demolition. In fact, along with Gaetano’s not a single restaurant or store that was in the mall when Whalers played their final game is open today. Not one chose to set up shop again in the renovated Hartford 21 or in downtown.
We also will show you a report from Jeff Cole filed on the day that broke the hearts of fans, merchants, city and state leaders. You’ll hear from Karmanos as he explains why he was yanking the Whale out of the Constitution State.
Here are those reports:
If you last week’s chat with ESPN’s John Buccigross about a Whalers return, you can watch it right here: