The Mad Hatters name refers to Danbury's nickname as the "Hat City." The city was the former center of the hat industry, at one point producing 25% of America's hats. The "mad" was added to the nickname to differentiate the team from the athletic teams of Danbury High School, and also as a reference to the common colloquial expression, "mad like a hatter.
The Danbury Mad Hatters were founded in 2008 as an Eastern Professional Hockey League expansion team. The Mad Hatters had on-ice success during their first season, as they finished their inaugural regular season at 30-18-0-2, finished 3rd and missing the playoffs by 4 pts. They also finished 2nd in attendance with average attendance 984.