The Hartford Whalers might be gone, but they are far from forgotten and you can now order a commemorative Hartford Whaler license plate.
A law that went into effect as of Jan.1 makes the plates available and the Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled them today. You can order one here.
State Rep. Matt Ritter, the House majority leader, said the idea for the Hartford Whalers license plate came from an email from a constituent in his district.
Former Hartford Whaler Bob Crawford, who now operates ice rinks in Connecticut, attended the announcement wearing a Hartford Whalers alumni journey and said the Hartford Whalers are part of Connecticut’s positive past, but also part of the state’s present and will be part of the future with the plates benefitting Connecticut Children's Medical Center
The license plates will cost residents $60 and $45 from those plates will go to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center for its new infusion and dialysis center, which performs more than 3,000 infusions per year.
Crawford told the story about how his life changed in 1983, when he was playing hockey in Saint Louis and got the call that he was now a member of the Whalers.
“I’ve never looked back. I’ve made this my home, raised my family here, actually have been a client of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center with my boys for stiches and different things over the years,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to play in four NHL cities and I also played in Europe and Hartford is a special place. I’ve always said it’s a place where it’s large enough to be world class, and it is. This facility is world class. I think the people in this state are world class, but it’s also small enough where you can be an individual. That’s what we’re seeing here today,” Crawford said.
The Hartford Whalers were in Connecticut until 1997, when the team was bought, moved to North Carolina and re-named the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Two decades after having left Connecticut, the Hartford Whalers and their fans are still giving back,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a statement. “There are thousands of kids in Connecticut suffering from kidney disease. The proceeds of these license plates will help build out a pediatric dialysis unit that will make their lives just a little bit easier—and provide a welcome addition to our healthcare system.”
“We are honored to be selected as the beneficiary of this specialty plate. Whalers fans are passionate and supportive of a team that holds a significant place in Connecticut’s sports history,” Jim Shmerling, president and CEO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said in a statement. “This plate has been sought after for many years and we are thrilled it will also help support the lifesaving care Connecticut Children’s experts provide to so many kids across the state and region.”