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The Hartford Wolf Pack is a professional ice hockey team based in Hartford, Connecticut. A member of the American Hockey League (AHL), they play their home games at the XL Center. The team was established in 1926 as the Providence Reds. After a series of relocations, the team moved to Hartford in 1997 as the Hartford Wolf Pack. It is one of the oldest professional hockey franchises extant, and the oldest continuously operating minor league hockey franchise in North America.

Hartford Wolf Pack
2019–20 AHL season
Hartford-Wolf-Pack-Logo.svg
CityHartford, Connecticut
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
ConferenceEastern
DivisionAtlantic
Founded1926, in the CAHL
Home arenaXL Center
ColorsBlue, red, white
              
Owner(s)Madison Square Garden, Inc.
Global Spectrum
General managerChris Drury
Head coachKris Knoblauch
MediaMSG Network
1410 AM WPOP
AHL.TV (Internet)
AffiliatesNew York Rangers (NHL)
Maine Mariners (ECHL)
Franchise history
1926–1976Providence Reds
1976–1977Rhode Island Reds
1977–1980Binghamton Dusters
1980–1990Binghamton Whalers
1990–1997Binghamton Rangers
1997–2010Hartford Wolf Pack
2010–2013Connecticut Whale
2013–presentHartford Wolf Pack
Championships
Regular season titles1: (1999–00)
Division Championships4: (1999–00, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2014–15)
Conference Championships1: (1999–00)
Calder Cups1: (1999–00)

The franchise was renamed the Connecticut Whale in October 2010, in honor of the former Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League (NHL) but reverted to their current name after the 2012–13 AHL season. The Wolf Pack is the top affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and is one of the three professional hockey teams in Connecticut.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The franchise that became the Wolf Pack was founded in 1926 in Providence, Rhode Island as the Providence Reds, one of the five charter members of the Canadian-American Hockey League. In 1936, the Northeast-based CAHL merged with the Midwest-based International Hockey League to form the International-American Hockey League, which dropped the "International" from its name in 1942.

The Reds —known as the Rhode Island Reds in their later years— folded after the 1975–76 season. Shortly afterward, the owners of the Broome Dusters of the North American Hockey League bought the Reds franchise and moved it to Binghamton, New York as the Binghamton Dusters. After securing an affiliation with the Hartford Whalers in 1980, the team changed its name to the Binghamton Whalers. An affiliation change to the Rangers in 1990—one that continues to this day—brought another new name, the Binghamton Rangers.

After the 1996-97 NHL season, the Whalers moved to Raleigh, North Carolina as the Carolina Hurricanes. Soon after the Whalers' departure, the Binghamton Rangers relocated to Hartford and began to play at the vacated Hartford Civic Center (today known as the XL Center).

Following a "name-the-team" contest, the franchise became the Hartford Wolf Pack, a reference to a submarine class as well as the tactic known as "wolfpacking". With Connecticut being home to both the main builder of submarines (General Dynamics Electric Boat) and the US Navy's primary submarine base, honoring the state's naval tradition was the paramount goal. The name Seawolf, a reference to the Seawolf-class submarine was considered to have been the ideal name for the team, however, it had already been taken by the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL. Following the submarine theme, the mascots were named "Sonar" and "Torpedo".

The Wolf Pack's first coach was E.J. McGuire and in the first game, the team won 2–0 against the neighboring Springfield Falcons. P. J. Stock scored the first goal in Wolf Pack history. The team reached the playoffs during the first 12 years of their existence and won the Calder Cup in 2000, defeating the Rochester Americans in the Cup finals.

 
The Connecticut Whale logo, used from 2010–13

In the summer of 2010, the Rangers entered into a business relationship which gave former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin and his company, Hartford Hockey LLC (doing business as Whalers Sports & Entertainment), control of the team's business operations.[1] On September 20, 2010, Baldwin announced the Wolf Pack would change their name to the Connecticut Whale in honor of the Whalers.[2] The name change took place on November 27, 2010; the final game with the "Wolf Pack" name came on November 26, 2010. The opponent was Connecticut's other AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Sound Tigers won 4–3, in a shootout. On November 27, 2010, the team played their first game under the new "Whale" name. The opponent was, again, the Sound Tigers. The Whale won 3–2, in a shootout. The attendance for the debut game was 13,089, which is the third-largest crowd in franchise history.[3] On January 1, 2011 the Connecticut Whale debuted new home jerseys featuring light blue instead of green, however, the color was shelved for the 2011–12 season.

The Whale were hosts and participants in the 2011 AHL Outdoor Classic, the Whale Bowl, held at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Connecticut fell to the Providence Bruins, 5–4, in a shootout.

In June 2012, after just 21 months, the New York Rangers terminated their business relationship with Baldwin [1] after he and his company ran up a debt of almost $3 million and had about 15 court cases against him.[4]

In April 2013, just two and a half seasons after rebranding as the Whale, the team decided it would revert to the nickname "Wolf Pack" for the following season.[5] Global Spectrum, the group now marketing the team and managers of the XL Center arena, announced in May 2013 that the franchise had officially returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack identity.[6]

Although the Wolf Pack does not officially acknowledge its past in Providence and Binghamton (or the Reds' four Calder Cups), it is the only AHL team to have never missed a season since the league's founding in 1936. In one form or another, the franchise has iced a team every year since 1926. The Wolf Pack and Utica Comets—the descendants of another charter AHL member, the Springfield Indians—are the oldest minor-league hockey franchises in North America. However, the Indians were inactive for three seasons in the 1930s, making the Wolf Pack the oldest continuously operating minor-league hockey franchise in North America. The only professional hockey franchises older than the Wolf Pack are the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.

Team informationEdit

MascotsEdit

The Wolf Pack started in 1997 with one mascot, a wolf named Sonar. The name was chosen to keep with the submarine theme that the team had used in their naming and logo. Shortly after, the team added a second wolf mascot named Torpedo; this mascot has since been retired. In 2010, with the renaming of the team to the Connecticut Whale, Sonar was joined as a mascot by former Whalers mascot Pucky the Whale. Sonar took the 2012–13 season off while Pucky was the sole mascot. When the naming arrangement ended, Sonar came back while Pucky was retired.

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SOL Points PCT Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing Year Prelims 1st
round
2nd
round
3rd
round
Final
1997–98 80 43 24 12 1 99 .619 272 227 2nd, New England 1998 W, 3–0, BNH W, 4–3, WOR L, 1–4, SJF
1998–99 80 38 31 5 6 87 .544 256 256 2nd, New England 1999 W, 3–0, SPR L, 0–4, PRO
1999–00 80 49 22 7 2 107 .669 249 198 1st, New England 2000 W, 3–2, SPR W, 4–1, WOR W, 4–3, PRO W, 4–2, RCH
2000–01 80 40 26 8 6 94 .588 263 247 2nd, New England 2001 L, 2–3, PRO
2001–02 80 41 26 10 3 95 .594 249 243 2nd, East 2002 BYE W, 3–2, MAN L, 1–4, HAM
2002–03 80 33 27 12 8 86 .538 255 236 3rd, East 2003 L, 0–2, SPR
2003–04 80 44 22 12 2 102 .638 198 153 1st, Atlantic 2004 BYE W, 4–1, POR W, 4–0, WOR L, 3–4, WBS
2004–05 80 50 24 3 3 106 .663 206 160 2nd, Atlantic 2005 L, 2–4, LOW
2005–06 80 48 24 6 2 104 .650 292 231 2nd, Atlantic 2006 W, 4–3, MAN L, 2–4, POR
2006–07 80 47 29 3 1 98 .613 231 201 2nd, Atlantic 2007 L, 3–4, PRO
2007–08 80 50 20 2 8 110 .688 266 198 2nd, Atlantic 2008 L, 1–4, POR
2008–09 80 46 27 3 4 99 .619 243 216 1st, Atlantic 2009 L, 2–4, WOR
2009–10 80 36 33 6 5 83 .519 231 251 6th, Atlantic 2010 Did not qualify
2010–11 80 40 32 2 6 88 .550 221 223 3rd, Atlantic 2011 L, 2–4, POR
2011–12 76 36 26 7 7 86 .566 210 208 2nd, Northeast 2012 W, 3–0, BRI L, 2–4, NOR
2012–13 76 35 32 6 3 79 .520 213 222 2nd, Northeast 2013 Did not qualify
2013–14 76 37 32 1 6 81 .533 202 220 3rd, Northeast 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 76 43 24 5 4 95 .625 221 214 1st, Northeast 2015 W, 3–2, PRO W, 4–2, HER L, 0–4, MAN
2015–16 76 41 32 3 0 85 .559 202 199 6th, Atlantic 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 76 24 46 4 2 54 .355 194 280 7th, Atlantic 2017 Did not qualify
2017–18 76 34 33 6 3 77 .507 208 252 6th, Atlantic 2018 Did not qualify
2018–19 76 29 36 7 4 69 .454 209 266 8th, Atlantic 2019 Did not qualify

PlayersEdit

Current rosterEdit

Updated July 30, 2019.[7][8]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
28   Lias Andersson C L 20 2018 Smögen, Sweden Rangers
39   Matt Beleskey LW L 31 2018 Windsor, Ontario Rangers
23   Connor Brickley (UFA) C L 27 2019 Everett, Massachusetts Rangers
15   Bobby Butler (UFA) RW R 32 2018 Marlborough, Massachusetts Wolf Pack
10   Greg Chase LW R 24 2018 Sherwood Park, Alberta Mariners
72   Filip Chytil C L 19 2017 Kromeriz, Czech Republic Rangers
14   Brandon Crawley D L 22 2017 Glen Rock, New Jersey Rangers
74   Sean Day D L 21 2017 Leuven, Belgium Rangers
  Phillip Di Giuseppe C L 25 2019 Maple, Ontario Rangers
10   Ryan Dmowski LW L 22 2019 East Lyme, Connecticut Wolf Pack
59   Jake Elmer RW R 20 2019 Calgary, Alberta Rangers
19   Steven Fogarty (A) C R 26 2016 Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Rangers
37   Gabriel Fontaine C L 22 2016 Montreal, Canada Rangers
30   Alexandar Georgiev G L 23 2017 Ruse, Bulgaria Rangers
26   Tim Gettinger LW L 21 2017 North Olmsted, Ohio Rangers
11   Ryan Gropp LW L 22 2017 Kamloops, British Columbia Rangers
43   Libor Hajek D L 21 2018 Smrček, Czech Republic Rangers
35   Adam Huska G L 22 2019 Zvolen, Slovakia Rangers
17   Nick Jones RW R 23 2019 Edmonton, Alberta Wolf Pack
25   Dawson Leedahl LW L 23 2017 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Rangers
95   Vinni Lettieri C R 24 2017 Excelsior, Minnesota Rangers
5   Ryan Lindgren D L 21 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota Rangers
  Vincent LoVerde D R 30 2019 Chicago, Illinois Wolf Pack
  Tom McCollum G L 29 2019 Amherst, New York Wolf Pack
13   Drew Melanson (UFA) LW L 24 2018 Paramus, New Jersey Wolf Pack
81   Ville Meskanen RW R 23 2018 Tampere, Finland Rangers
29   Patrick Newell RW L 23 2019 Thousand Oaks, California Rangers
24   Boo Nieves C L 25 2016 Baldwinsville, New York Rangers
44   Rob O'Gara (A) (UFA) D L 26 2018 Massapequa, New York Rangers
92   Shawn O'Donnell (UFA) RW R 31 2018 Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia Wolf Pack
22   Darren Raddysh D R 23 2019 Caledon, Ontario Rangers
7   Ty Ronning RW R 21 2017 Burnaby, British Columbia Rangers
20   Jason Salvaggio (UFA) LW L 24 2018 Hanson, Massachusetts Wolf Pack
70   Shawn St. Amant (UFA) RW R 22 2018 Le Gardeur, Quebec Wolf Pack
  Igor Shestyorkin G L 23 2019 Moscow, Russia Rangers
8   Zach Tolkinen D R 29 2019 Lino Lakes, Minnesota Wolf Pack
34   Terrence Wallin F R 27 2018 Yardley, Pennsylvania Wolf Pack
18   Lewis Zerter-Gossage RW R 24 2019 Montreal, Quebec Wolf Pack
  Harry Zolnierczyk LW L 31 2019 Toronto, Ontario Wolf Pack

Retired numbersEdit

  • 12 Ken Gernander: right wing, 1997–2005; head coach, 2007–2017

Team captainsEdit

Notable alumniEdit

The following players have played both 100 games in Hartford and 100 games in the National Hockey League:

Team recordsEdit

Single season
Goals: 50, Brad Smyth (2000–01)
Assists: 69, Derek Armstrong (2000–01)
Points: 101, Derek Armstrong (2000–01)
Penalty Minutes: 415, Dale Purinton (1999–2000)
GAA: 1.59, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
SV%: .936, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Shutouts: 13, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Goaltending Wins: 34, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Career
Goals: 184, Brad Smyth
Assists: 204, Derek Armstrong
Points: 365, Brad Smyth
Penalty Minutes: 1077, Dale Purinton
Shutouts: 21, Jason LaBarbera
Goaltending Wins: 91, Jason LaBarbera
Games: 599, Ken Gernander

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Wolf Pack Name Changing To Connecticut Whale – Hartford Courant". Articles.courant.com. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  2. ^ Wolf Pack's Name Changing To Whale – Hartford Courant
  3. ^ Hockey, AHL, Whale make debut – Courant.com
  4. ^ "Give Howard Baldwin Credit For Trying, But The NHL Dream Is Dead — For Now". Hartford Courant. August 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Connecticut Whale: Exit Whale, Re-Enter Wolf Pack; Source Says Team Name Will Change". Courant.com. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  6. ^ "It's Official! Hartford Wolf Pack Now the Name". Courant.com. 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  7. ^ "Hartford Wolf Pack :: Players". Hartford Wolf Pack. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  8. ^ "Hartford Wolf Pack - Roster". American Hockey League. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  9. ^ "PACK CAN'T MAKE UP GROUND ON SOUND TIGERS". Hartford Wolf Pack. March 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "PACK ANNOUNCE CAPTAIN, ALTERNATES". Hartford Wolf Pack. October 5, 2017.
  11. ^ "Cole Schneider named Captain for the 18/19 season". Hartford Wolf Pack. October 4, 2018.

External linksEdit