Howard Baldwin is an American entrepreneur and film producer. He is the CEO of Baldwin Entertainment, which has produced films such as the Academy Award-nominated Ray. Baldwin founded the New England Whalers ice hockey franchise in the WHA and has also owned part of the Minnesota North Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins NHL franchises. He won the Stanley Cup in 1992 with Pittsburgh. The WHA's coach of the year award was originally named the Howard Baldwin Trophy in his honor.
Professional ice hockey
Baldwin has a long standing involvement with Connecticut starting in 1974, when he relocated the New England Whalers to Hartford, and continuing with that after taking control of the Hartford Wolf Pack's business and every thing non-hockey releated, he has also renamed the team the Connecticut Whale.
New England/Hartford Whalers
Baldwin became one of the youngest executives in professional sports when he became a founder and partner of the World Hockey Association's (WHA) Boston-based Whalers in 1971 at the age of 28. Five years later he was president of the league. The Whalers first season in the WHA was a success both on and off the ice with coach Jack Kelley's team winning the 1973 AVCO World Cup Championship. In 1974, Baldwin determined that the team needed its own building. He moved the Whalers from Boston to Hartford's new Civic Center Coliseum, a vehicle for the revitalization of downtown Hartford. In 1979 Baldwin guided the WHA into a historic merger with the National Hockey League. Baldwin served as the managing general partner of the Whalers until the team was sold to local ownership in 1988.
Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale
In 2009, Baldwin founded Hartford Hockey LLC, better known as Whalers Sports & Entertainment, to promote ice hockey throughout Connecticut. In August 2010, Whalers Sports and Entertainment was hired by the NHL's New York Rangers to manage the day to day business and marketing affairs for their AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack. As part of the marketing agreement, the minor league team was renamed the Connecticut Whale, as tribute to the former Hartford Whalers team.
He was then released from his contract with MSG for amassing millions of dollar in debt for not paying his bills with companies like Reebok ($1 million), MSG ($1.4 million), the state of Connecticut ($250,000), and many more.
Baldwin was also involved in creating the San Jose Sharks as an expansion team, later taking a controlling interest in the Minnesota North Stars, and before later purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins, all of which with NHL ice hockey teams. He also at one time held a 50% interest in the "Red Army" team in Moscow, Russia. Baldwin also became involved with the American Hockey League, a player development league affiliated with the NHL, forming the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Pennsylvania, and Manchester Monarchs in New Hampshire.
Baldwin's specialty was buying franchises with very little of his own money invested. For example, his actual cash investment in the Penguins was just $1,000. The rest was assumed debt and capital provided by other partners. His purchase of the Penguins was bankrolled largely by Morris Belzberg. Baldwin served as the Penguins chairman of the board and represented the club on the NHL Board of Governors. Under his direction the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, one Patrick Division regular season title and the President's Trophy. In addition to the NHL team, Baldwin and his partners created The American Hockey League expansion franchise in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1999 as the minor league affiliate of the NHL Penguins. When Belzberg left the ownership group, Baldwin recruited Roger Marino, a Boston investor. By that time, the Penguins were struggling financially and wound up declaring bankruptcy in November 1998.
Baldwin Entertainment Group
In addition to his interest in professional hockey, Baldwin has also enjoyed a successful career in film as a producer with his wife and producing partner, Karen. Baldwin produced Mystery, Alaska, written by David Kelley, directed by Jay Roach and starring Russell Crowe. He also produced Sudden Death, From The Hip, Spell Binder, and Joshua. Baldwin's other credits include SOUND OF THUNDER, directed by Peter Hyams for Warner Bros., based on the Ray Bradbury short story of the same title, RAY, the true story of Ray Charles, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jamie Foxx for Universal, SWIMMING UPSTREAM starring Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis for MGM and DANNY DECKCHAIR with Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto for Lion's Gate. Most recently was GAME OF THEIR LIVES in which Baldwin has re-teamed with Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh, the writer and director of HOOSIERS and RUDY.
- Howard Baldwin at the Internet Movie Database
- Baldwin Entertainment
- Official Website of Whalers Sports and Entertainment