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Madison Square Garden Reaches Deal to Keep Connecticut Whale in XL Center

February 26th, 2013 at 5:56 PM
By PJ Foti

'ERI_3392' photo (c) 2011, Sarah Connors - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Connecticut Whale, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers will the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., as its home venue.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Michael Freimuth, Executive Director of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), today announced the multi-year deal has been reached between Global Spectrum and Madison Square Garden (MSG).

The contract calls for the Whale to play at the XL Center through the 2016 season, with provisions that could extend the deal an additional two years.

“I applaud Mike’s team at CRDA, Global Spectrum, and Madison Square Garden for their efforts to ensure Hartford remains home to professional hockey,” said Governor Malloy. “Hartford is a city of tremendous potential — deals like this one will bring more people downtown, help spur additional economic activity, and reinvigorate our capital city. Three more years — and maybe more — of Whale hockey is great news for Connecticut fans, this one included."

The XL Center, formerly the Hartford Civic Center and home to the Hartford Whalers of the NHL, has been home to the Rangers' minor league affiliate for the past 16 seasons, with many Rangers playing there prior to wearing their blue sweater.

“The Whale appreciates the local community and its fans, and has valued the past 16 seasons in Hartford,” said Jim Schoenfeld, General Manager, Connecticut Whale and Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel, Assistant Coach, New York Rangers. “Many Rangers players over the years were developed in Hartford and all enjoyed their time in the area. The experience that our players gain while with the Whale is invaluable, and we look forward to having the Whale call the XL Center home for the next three seasons."

This move benefits Hartford greatly, as it keeps professional hockey in the city. The presence of the Whale greatly impacts the region's economy as well.

The XL Center has been home to hockey for years, so it's good to see the sport will remain at least another three years.

The final contract with the AHL will be subject to approval by CRDA’s Board of Directors at their March 21 meeting.

Tags: AHL, Connecticut Whale, Dannel P. Malloy, Hartford Civic Center, Hartford Whalers, Hockey, Jim Schoenfeld, Madison Square Garden, Michael Freimuth, New York, New York Rangers, NHL

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