The NHL team that I grew up supporting from the plains of South Dakota went the way of extinction in 1997. Even though I support the Carolina Hurricanes which came into existence from the moving of the team out of Hartford, I still long for the Blue, Green, and White of the Hartford Whalers. I still have Brass Bonanza playing every week on my computer, that was the song that played when the Whalers scored a goal at home. And yet even though the team was moved and changed their name, maybe just maybe us Whalers fans are a resilient lot. We have proved it not on the ice, but in sales of NHL apparel. From the Hartford Courant.
The line of thousands of Whalers Fans wearing jerseys and T-shirts with the team logo on Saturday at Rentschler Field was a testament to the lasting popularity of the team and its merchandise in Hartford.
But Whalers goods are hot sellers beyond the hometown market – creating an oddity that's hard to explain. After all, the Hartford Whalers haven't touched hockey stick to ice in 13 years, and the team never made it further than the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And yet, all these years later, newly made Whalers jerseys, T-shirts and caps are among the hottest sellers of all NHL teams.
"It's been one of the top lines, and it's not just Connecticut," said Marc D'Amelio, an East Coast sales representative for Mitchell & Ness, a major vendor of Whalers T-shirts, jackets and caps. "Nationally, it's in the top five, no problem."
The Whalers can't touch the champion Chicago Black Hawks this year, but the distinctive blue, green and white merchandise could easily tie with the Detroit Redwings, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, D'Amelio said.