Gov. Dannel P. Malloy won’t have to worry about the AHL’s Connecticut Whale slipping out of town on his watch.
Malloy and the Capitol Region Development Authority’s director, Michael Freimuth, announced a multi-year deal today that will keep the minor-league hockey team as a tenant in the state-control XL Center in downtown Hartford through 2016, a full two years past the next gubernatorial election.
“I applaud Mike’s team at CRDA, Global Spectrum, and Madison Square Garden for their efforts to ensure Hartford remains home to professional hockey,” Malloy said.
MSG controls the Whale. Global Spectrum recently took over management of the XL, which was known as the Hartford Civic Center back when the NHL’s Whalers was the building’s prime tenant.
“The ability to secure a professional hockey team for Hartford was a major consideration in selecting Global Spectrum as the management team for the XL Center,” Freimuth said.
John G. Rowland was governor in 1997 when the Whalers decamped for North Carolina. It didn’t keep him from easy re-election wins in 1998 and 2002, but Malloy faced being the de facto landlord of an aging coliseum without an anchor tenant if the Whale left, so the stakes may have been higher without the high-profile drama of a major-league franchise at stake.