With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Endorsement On XL Center Management


With the announcement that the NHL will in fact have a season this year, followed by the curiously vague New York Post story asserting that Governor Malloy is looking into bring the NHL back to Connecticut, hockey is suddenly back in the news.

While we have no idea how dedicated the Governor is to bringing the NHL back to Connecticut, we do know that the Hartford Whalers Booster Club is very dedicated to the idea. Over 15 years after the NHL departed Hartford for tobacco and NASCAR country, the HWBC soldiers on with the dream that the NHL will one day return to Hartford.



As some Hartfordites might know, a bidding process and decision on the future management of the XL Center is currently underway. While on the surface, one might think that the management group of the XL Center might not greatly effect downtown, getting the right (or wrong) group in place could have massive medium and long term effects on the area. Even more so than a grocery store downtown.

Without further ado, we present the endorsement of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club and, as Sad City, endorse this endorsement. If you feel that the reasoning below is sound, don't hesitate to follow through with the contacts at the end of the memo. The NHL is a longshot, maybe a pipe dream at best, but if there's any hope, the right pieces need to be in place.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Larry Gottesdiener (Northland Investments) and Howard Baldwin (Whaler Sports & Entertainment) for all they have done to keep Hartford on the mind and map of the NHL powers that be.  It has been over 15 years since our Whalers left Hartford, our Club's efforts have always been to remind everyone of our place in NHL history and to bring back the NHL to Hartford.  We have done our level best to keep the Whaler name alive and out there.  Thanks to Larry Gottesdiener and Howard Baldwin putting their time and money into bringing back the NHL, Hartford is still in the running as a viable NHL market.  We personally feel that the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut could have done something to be supportive of this effort.  It is not easy battling the naysayers - especially when it is costing you money.  Our Club will be forever grateful to both Howard and Larry for keeping the dream alive.

As you may or may not be aware, Capital Region Development Authority [CRDA] (100 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 500, Hartford, CT 06103-2819   |   860.527.0100) has accepted "requests for proposal" from organizations to manage the Hartford XL Center.

Our Club membership has met and discussed at length the remaining organizations in the running. 


As our mission is first and foremost the return of NHL hockey to Connecticut, we have chosen to support the group most likely to achieve this goal.  We believe Global Spectrum (parent company is Comcast Spectacor) is that organization.  When the Civic Center was originally opened, Frank E. Russo, Jr. was the Executive Director - serving from 1975-1983.  The Civic Center was a profitable enterprise during that time.  Frank is currently Global Spectrum's Senior Vice President for Business Development and Client Relations.  He resides in Glastonbury.  He would personally be a good fit back into the Hartford arena.  Global Spectrum operates over 100 venues world wide including Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia; Mass Mutual Center Springfield, MA; the Roanoke Performing Arts Center in Roanoke, VA; and, the Mullins Center Ice Rink at UMASS Amherst.  They are well known to the NHL powers as the Wells Fargo Center is the home of the Philadelphia Flyers.

To that end, we are writing you to ask you if you agree that Global Spectrum would be the right choice, to email:

Suzanne Hopgood, Chairwoman of CRDA hopsuzcrda@gmail.com
Michael Freimuth, Executive Director of CRDA mfreimuth@crdact.net

to let them know you support Global Spectrum's RFP.  In light of the newly announced interest of Gov. Malloy for the NHL, you may copy

Gov. Dannel Malloy at gov.malloy@ct.gov

I would appreciate receiving a copy of your letter of support as well.  I know this has been quite a discourse, thank you for your patience and hopefully your supportive efforts in writing the CRDA.  We believe your emails of support during the last selection process was instrumental in selecting the group we supported - I believe it can be again.  Thank you."


Alan M. Victor
Hartford Whalers Booster Club

1 comment:

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