Whalers Night brings back fond memories, beautiful threads
It’s been over 20 years since the Hartford Whalers took the ice for a hockey game in the National Hockey League. On Sunday, their spirit was resurrected one more time on Whalers Night at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
The Carolina Hurricanes -- who moved from Hartford for the 1997-98 season -- paid homage to their former selves by donning their old threads and green helmets as they faced off against former Northeast Division foes in the Boston Bruins.
And my, oh my, did those sweaters look great on the ice once again.
“The motivation was primarily around [the fact that] it’s interesting, it looks great and it’s a way do something different,” Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon told NHL.com. “It’s a long season and we’re in the entertainment business and this is going to make this night different and enjoyable and connect with fans whether it’s in Hartford or anywhere else. So, I hope they enjoy it.”
Of course, no Whalers game would be complete without that iconic goal song, the Brass Bonanza.
Teuvo Teravainen did the honors, scoring at 12:55 of the first period to get fans into the groove.
And then it happened three more times in succession as the Whalers... err... Hurricanes battled back from being down 2-0 to lead 4-2.
The Hurricanes went on to win 5-3. Teravainen added another goal for a two-goal night, and Sebastian Aho had two of his own in the win.
Petr Mrazek, who had a beautiful special mask made to mark the occasion, made 27 saves.
Other highlights included the return of Pucky the Whale, Hartford’s old mascot (who was never a physical mascot during their time in Conneticutt.
There, of course, was a ceremonial puck drop to be had, too.
Whalers legend Mike Rogers was on hand to do the honors.
The Whalers have quite the history and a who’s who of some of the greatest ever to play the game in their lineage -- from their days in the World Hockey Association to their integration into the NHL.
Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Dave Keon are among the legends to wear Whalers green.
The Whalers uniforms will be back on the backs of the Hurricanes in March when they face Boston at TD Garden.