Does the NHL Have a Future in Hartford? - NBC Connecticut

Does the NHL Have a Future in Hartford?

Hartford Mayor Meets with NHL Commissioner



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    The XL Center, formerly the Hartford Civic Center, has not seen the Whalers skate on the ice since 1997. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to explore the idea of the NHL returning to Hartford.

    It has been nearly 12 years since the Hartford Whalers played their last game before relocating to Raleigh, NC, and once again there is the talk about whether or not the NHL could return to Hartford.

    On Wednesday morning, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at NHL Headquarters in Manhattan to update the commissioner on the status of Hartford's plans for a new arena in the city.

    In a release from the mayor, Perez said, "Today's meeting with Commissioner Bettman was an excellent opportunity to let him know that Hartford remains interested in bringing the NHL back to Connecticut's Capital City."

    In a preliminary report from HOK Sport, who the city retained to develop a plan for a new arena, it stated that the present site of the XL Center was the most viable location.

    "In light of these difficult financial times, this effort will take a considerable amount of work and partnership between the city, state, and corporate community to bring the plans for the development of a new facility to reality, but the benefits have the potential to be exponential," said Perez.

    Perez also stated that all parties at the meeting agreed that there would be ongoing discussions about bringing an NHL team back to Hartford.

    "To keep the momentum going in Hartford's renaissance, we must be prepared in the next three to five years to implement a redevelopment plan for a new multi-use arena facility that serves the entire state not only as a world class venue for concerts, family shows, and UConn basketball, but also as a potential home for a major league sports franchise," said Perez.