He Said/She Said: The Whale

So you’ve probably heard that Howard Baldwin, the new head honcho over at Hartford’s AHL hockey team, is changing the name (and colors) of the team from the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Connecticut Whale. Some people think it’s a marketing scam and other think it’s the first step to getting the Whalers back. Here at The CuT we think it’s a little of both.

He Said

There have been plenty of people saying Baldwin’s name-change is just a way to cash in on the now popular retro-Whalers gear. Megan Fox was recently photographed in a Whalers t-shirt and Adam Sandler wore one in his latest movie Grown Ups. As the person at The CuT who clearly knows the most about sports, you might expect me to agree.

No way.

As soon as I heard of the name change, I became immediately interested in going to more games this year. Yes, I realize it’s not the NHL, they’re not the real Whalers, and the team is still affiliated with the New York Rangers (ugh.) But there’s something about that name and those colors that will draw me and hopefully many others to games this season.

Us sports fans have to look at the bigger picture. Baldwin is not just looking to take over an AHL team. He’s looking toward the NHL. The south and westward expansion of hockey over the past few decades has not exactly gone to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s liking. Go figure, hockey hasn’t taken off in places like Arizona or Miami! Those southern cities’ teams are going to be ripe for the picking in the coming years and Baldwin wants to show that Hartford is a viable option.

In order to do that, Hartford has to be able to draw a crowd to the AHL games, and is there a better way to do that than name the team after the old team that the people of this area loved? I say it’s a great idea. While Bettman would rather cut a finger off than place a team in Hartford, he might not have much of a choice in the coming years unless he wants teams to relocate back to Canada.

While this might strike some as akin to Philip Morris changing its name to Altria, I don’t exactly see it like that. I’m just glad I’ll be able to once again root for “the Whale” and hum along to Brass Bonanza. Let’s go Whale!

She Said

Sometimes, it’s like RingNation is trying to prove my point for me:

“As soon as I heard of the name change, I became immediately interested in going to more games this year.”

He’s a marketer’s wet dream.

I think the name change is stupid for multiple reasons. First of all, what would happen if we did get an NHL team back and we already had the Connecticut Whale? Wouldn’t that get confusing? And will the vintage Whale stuff still be cool and sell like hotcakes when there’s this imposter Whale wandering around?

More importantly, why the hell isn’t Hartford supporting its team now? Wolf Pack games are a lot of fun, and cheap. AHL hockey players really beat the crap out of each other. And if we want the Whalers back, are we really too dense to figure out we have to support the Wolf Pack unless someone changes the team’s name? Oh…and what’s gonna happen to that old guy who goes to all the games and dances like crazy? It seems cruel to take the Wolf Pack away from him.