Friday, January 20, 2012
The Civic Center Collapse
This week marked the 34th anniversary of the Hartford Civic Center roof collapse. As bad as the collapse was, it was very lucky that no one was killed in this mishap. Only hours before, the venue hosted a UConn-UMass basketball game. This was way before Marcus Camby, Cliff Robinson, and even Jim Calhoun.
We looked at these pictures of the roof collapse way, way back in the Sad City vault. Today, a generation has passed since the roof collapse and Hartford is facing a major decision on the future of a downtown entertainment. Many dream of an NHL return. The Civic Center collapse happened before Hartford even had an NHL team.
In 1974 Howard Baldwin moved the WHA New England Whalers from Boston to the Hartford Civic Center. In 1979 four WHA teams joined the NHL as the rest of the league folded. The Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets, and Hartford Whalers survived and joined the NHL.
Only the Oilers remain. The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup five times between 1983 and 1990. None of the other WHA teams won a Stanley Cup, or even made the finals while in their original cities.
The current NHL season saw the Atlanta expansion franchise relocate to Winnipeg, giving the city a hockey team for the first time since the original Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes in the late 1990's. That Phoenix franchise is widely expected to move next season with Quebec considered the favorite and Las Vegas and Kansas City considered strong contenders. If a team were to end up in Quebec City, Hartford would be the last of the four WHA teams to got have an NHL team.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
The Hartford Courant has the best photo gallery of the collapse.
The awesome Facebook page "My NHL Includes Hartford" has more great pics.