It’s not time to strike up Brass Bonanza or scrape the barnacles off Pucky the Whale just yet, but hockey fans in the Nutmeg State got an injection of hope that the NHL might yet return to Hartford.
Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy told reporters today that he’s spoken with “at least two groups” that are interested in acquiring an NHL team about the possibility of relocating or expanding to Hartford.
“In the last six months, I have been contacted by several groups who are interested in knowing, should they acquire a team and win the rights to move that team, would we be interested in competing for that team,” Malloy said. “I have indicated time and time again that we would be interested, though probably not at our sole expense.”
That expense would be associated with the construction of a new arena in downtown Hartford. In the meantime, the state is investing $35 million to extend the life of the XL Center, current home of the AHL Connecticut Whale, for an eight-10 year period of time. The 16,000 seat facility is expected to get new locker rooms, loge seating and more restrooms as part of a renovation that would allow it to be NHL-viable for a short period of time.
“We go forward–no promises made–but I have encouraged at least two groups who have expressed interest in acquiring a team to do so and we would be active participants,” Malloy said.