I’m referring, of course, to the appearance of the Carolina Hurricanes [henceforth to be known as the Whalers] in the NHL Finals. I’m going to have to sever all ties to anything related to sports for the next two weeks or so because I can’t stand seeing them there.
If you didn’t know already, in 1997 they left Hartford, being one of the last things sustaining the downtown economy. I played hockey at the time and my father and I had season tickets, so from 1992-1997 I was at about 1/3 of their home games [we shared with two of his friends from work], even appearing on the ice once as one of the peewee hockey kids.
They only made the playoffs once during this era, as it was after Ed Johnston drove the team into the ground with his managerial impotence. Our former governor, Lowell Weicker, decided he’d let a vilanous Detroiter called Pete Karmanos [A force of evil words can’t explain] and our current governor, John Rowland, wouldn’t give them a new arena (they played in a friggin’ mall, how embarassing) because he was too focused on trying to move the state capital to Waterbury. These factors led to a move to NASCAR country, where they have a large fanbase of displaced Northerners in the Research Triangle.
The Whalers were truly an obsession for me. Yeah, they were a joke, always collapsing the last week of the regular season and not making the playoffs, getting killed by the nearby Rangers, Bruins, Isles and Devils and trading away any talent they ever had. But they had their moments.
There was this one game where they played the Penguins while Pittsburgh was in the middle of a huuuuuge winning streak, bound to set an NHL record. The Whale, led by Hartford legends Robert Kron and Adam Burt, stopped the streak in an epic battle. Then there was the game against the Lightning where they trailed 2-0, 3-1 and 5-3 but managed to win it on an OT goal. And then there was the one where they trailed 2-0 and 4-2 but managed to win after Kevin Dineen poked it past Dominik Hasek while on his stomach. He made Bobby Orr look like one of the Hanson brothers on that play.
Then the combination of an incompetent boob of a governor (Rowland doesn’t really care that the downtown economy, and pretty much all of Hartford, was destroyed after they left and now he has to spend 4 times as much as a new arena to rebuild it) and a vile shadborn mooncalf of an owner took this love of mine away. It was crushing. The final game was so depressing, the atmosphere was like that of a funeral. It’s really an undescribable feeling that only others who lost sports teams can attest to.
Now my friends seem to have forgotten this. They’re actually rooting for the reincarnated Whalers. They say it’s because of the players, but there are like 4 guys on that team who played in Hartford while we were following them (Sami Kapanen, Marek Malik, Jeff O’Neill and Glen Wesley). They’re really rooting for Ponytail Pete and his band of hoodlums. Nobody else seems to be sharing these feelings with me and it’s awful.
To conclude, fuck you Karmanos, fuck you Rowland, fuck you Weicker, and friends, for the love of God root for the Wings/Avs with me.
Capitals fan once he gets to college.