Ladies and gentlemen… the Whale has returned to the NHL.
This afternoon the Carolina Hurricanes, who previously played as the Hartford Whalers from 1979 through 1997, announced they would wear a Whalers road green throwback uniform for *two* games in the upcoming 2018/19 season.
Going with the design the Whalers wore from 1985-89 (and then again for the 1990/91 season), the Hurricanes will be in green from head-to-toe, helmets, pants (no, not Cooperalls), socks, gloves all match what the Whalers wore during this era. Sadly, no “Pucky” logo on the shoulder, the beloved mascot was removed from the Whalers uniform for the 1985/86 season.
Carolina was able to work in a subtle reference to tie-in with their current identity, a tonal black and blue storm warning flag pattern on the inside collar.
As mentioned earlier, the throwback uniforms will be worn on two occasions, both times against the Boston Bruins who were a geographic rival of the Whalers, and in a move that’s pretty awesome of the Hurricanes one of the throwback games will be *in* Boston, giving fans of the area a chance to see their former team again in-person, wearing the historic uniform.
The Bruins are expected to wear their modern 2018/19 uniforms, wearing the road whites for both including the game in Boston.
The Hartford Whalers logo, my all-time favourite, was designed by Peter Good in 1979 as the team was preparing to shift from the World Hockey Association to the NHL.
When Good started to design the now iconic logo, the only precedent he had to work with was the logo for the WHA’s New England Whalers, who used a logo featuring an actual harpoon, the likes of which actual people use to kill actual whales. While sensibilities may have been different then, this still caused some conceptual problems. For obvious reasons, Good wanted to take a completely different approach.
“I did a version, it had the negative H in the W, but instead of the whale’s tail, it had harpoons working with it. And [team owner] Howard Baldwin actually chose it. He said ‘I like that one.’ I said ‘Why do you like that one?’ He said, ‘Because it has the H for Hartford,’ and I said, ‘Wait a minute. That was not a requirement. That was just one that I tried. Now that I know that, give me some more time.'”
The logo has certainly survived the test of time, it’s far more popular now than it ever was while the team was actually in existence, this announcement today and the anticipated positive reaction to it only confirms that.
“I was asked for an interview on a North Carolina radio station,” Good told us back in 2014, “because they were saying that all the Carolina Hurricane fans were coming in with Whalers apparel on.”
And that there is one good reason for the team to really start acknowledging and appreciating their Connecticut origins.
Carolina’s first game wearing the Whalers 1980s throwback uniform will be at home against the Boston Bruins in Raleigh on December 23rd; they’ll wear them again at Boston for their game there on March 5th. Jerseys will not be available for purchase for a few months, expecting to be available in time for the game in December.