Hartford Wolf Pack

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Hartford Wolf Pack
2021–22 AHL season
Hartford-Wolf-Pack-Logo.svg
CityHartford, Connecticut
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
ConferenceEastern
DivisionAtlantic
Founded1926, in the CAHL
Home arenaXL Center
ColorsBlue, red, white
     
Owner(s)Madison Square Garden, Inc.
General managerRyan Martin
Head coachKris Knoblauch
MediaMSG Network
AHL.TV (Internet)
AffiliatesNew York Rangers (NHL)
Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL)
Franchise history
1926–1976Providence Reds
1976–1977Rhode Island Reds
1977–1980Binghamton Dusters
1980–1990Binghamton Whalers
1990–1997Binghamton Rangers
1997–2010Hartford Wolf Pack
2010–2013Connecticut Whale
2013–presentHartford Wolf Pack
Championships
Regular season titles1: (1999–00)
Division Championships4: (1999–00, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2014–15)
Conference Championships1: (1999–00)
Calder Cups1: (1999–00)

The Hartford Wolf Pack are a professional ice hockey team based in Hartford, Connecticut. A member of the American Hockey League (AHL), they play their home games at the XL Center. The team was established in 1926 as the Providence Reds. After a series of relocations, the team moved to Hartford in 1997 as the Hartford Wolf Pack. It is one of the oldest professional hockey franchises in existence, and the oldest continuously operating minor league hockey franchise in North America.

The franchise was renamed the Connecticut Whale in October 2010, in honor of the former Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League (NHL) but reverted to their current name after the 2012–13 AHL season. The Wolf Pack is the top affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and is one of the four professional hockey teams in Connecticut.

History[edit]

The franchise that became the Wolf Pack was founded in 1926 in Providence, Rhode Island as the Providence Reds, one of the five charter members of the Canadian-American Hockey League. In 1936, the Northeast-based CAHL merged with the Midwest-based International Hockey League to form the International-American Hockey League, which dropped the "International" from its name in 1942.

The Reds —known as the Rhode Island Reds in their later years— folded after the 1976–77 season. Shortly afterward, the owners of the Broome Dusters of the North American Hockey League bought the Reds franchise and moved it to Binghamton, New York as the Binghamton Dusters. After securing an affiliation with the Hartford Whalers in 1980, the team changed its name to the Binghamton Whalers. An affiliation change to the Rangers in 1990—one that continues to this day—brought another new name, the Binghamton Rangers.

After the 1996-97 NHL season, the Whalers moved to Raleigh, North Carolina as the Carolina Hurricanes. Soon after the Whalers' departure, the Binghamton Rangers relocated to Hartford and began to play at the vacated Hartford Civic Center (today known as the XL Center).

Following a "name-the-team" contest, the franchise became the Hartford Wolf Pack, a reference to a submarine class as well as the tactic known as "wolfpacking". With Connecticut being home to both the main builder of submarines (General Dynamics Electric Boat) and the US Navy's primary submarine base, honoring the state's naval tradition was the paramount goal. The name Seawolf, a reference to the Seawolf-class submarine was considered to have been the ideal name for the team, however, it had already been taken by the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL. Following the submarine theme, the mascots were named "Sonar" and "Torpedo".

The Wolf Pack's first coach was E.J. McGuire, and their first home game was played in front of a sold-out crowd on October 4, 1997. P. J. Stock scored the (home game) goal in Wolf Pack history. The first franchise goal was scored the night prior in Providence, RI, by Johann Witehall. The team reached the playoffs during the first 12 years of their existence and won the Calder Cup in 2000, defeating the Rochester Americans in the Cup finals. Brad Smyth and Derek Armstrong both amassed 23 points in 23 games.

The Connecticut Whale logo, used from 2010 to 2013
The Connecticut Whale logo, used from 2010 to 2013

In the summer of 2010, the Rangers entered into a business relationship which gave former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin and his company, Hartford Hockey LLC (doing business as Whalers Sports & Entertainment), control of the team's business operations.[1] On September 20, 2010, Baldwin announced the Wolf Pack would change their name to the Connecticut Whale in honor of the Whalers.[2] The name change took place on November 27, 2010; the final game with the "Wolf Pack" name came on November 26, 2010. The opponent was Connecticut's other AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Sound Tigers won 4–3, in a shootout. On November 27, 2010, the team played their first game under the new "Whale" name. The opponent was, again, the Sound Tigers. The Whale won 3–2, in a shootout. The attendance for the debut game was 13,089, which is the third-largest crowd in franchise history.[3] On January 1, 2011, the Whale debuted new home jerseys featuring light blue instead of green, however, the color was shelved for the 2011–12 season.

The Whale were hosts and participants in the 2011 AHL Outdoor Classic, the Whale Bowl, held at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Connecticut fell to the Providence Bruins, 5–4, in a shootout.

In June 2012, after just 21 months, the New York Rangers terminated their business relationship with Baldwin[1] after he and his company ran up a debt of almost $3 million and had about 15 court cases against him.[4]

In April 2013, just two and a half seasons after rebranding as the Whale, the team decided it would revert to the nickname "Wolf Pack" for the following season.[5] Global Spectrum, the group now marketing the team and managers of the XL Center arena, announced in May 2013 that the franchise had officially returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack identity.[6]

Although the Wolf Pack does not officially acknowledge its past in Providence and Binghamton (or claim the Reds' four Calder Cups), it is the only AHL franchise to have never missed a season since the league's founding in 1936. In one form or another, the franchise has iced a team every year since 1926. The Wolf Pack and Abbotsford Canucks—the descendants of another charter AHL member, the Springfield Indians—are the oldest minor-league hockey franchises in North America. However, the Indians were inactive for three seasons in the 1930s, making the Wolf Pack the oldest continuously operating minor-league hockey franchise in North America. The only professional hockey franchises older than the Wolf Pack and the Canucks are the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.

Team information[edit]

Mascots[edit]

The Wolf Pack started in 1997 with one mascot, a wolf named Sonar. The name was chosen to keep with the submarine theme that the team had used in their naming and logo. Shortly after, the team added a second wolf mascot named Torpedo; this mascot has since been retired. In 2010, with the renaming of the team to the Connecticut Whale, Sonar was joined as a mascot by former Whalers mascot Pucky the Whale. Sonar took the 2012–13 season off while Pucky was the sole mascot. When the naming arrangement ended, Sonar came back while Pucky was retired.

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SOL Points PCT Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing Year Prelims 1st
round
2nd
round
3rd
round
Final
1997–98 80 43 24 12 1 99 .619 272 227 2nd, New England 1998 W, 3–0, BNH W, 4–3, WOR L, 1–4, SJF
1998–99 80 38 31 5 6 87 .544 256 256 2nd, New England 1999 W, 3–0, SPR L, 0–4, PRO
1999–00 80 49 22 7 2 107 .669 249 198 1st, New England 2000 W, 3–2, SPR W, 4–1, WOR W, 4–3, PRO W, 4–2, RCH
2000–01 80 40 26 8 6 94 .588 263 247 2nd, New England 2001 L, 2–3, PRO
2001–02 80 41 26 10 3 95 .594 249 243 2nd, East 2002 BYE W, 3–2, MAN L, 1–4, HAM
2002–03 80 33 27 12 8 86 .538 255 236 3rd, East 2003 L, 0–2, SPR
2003–04 80 44 22 12 2 102 .638 198 153 1st, Atlantic 2004 BYE W, 4–1, POR W, 4–0, WOR L, 3–4, WBS
2004–05 80 50 24 3 3 106 .663 206 160 2nd, Atlantic 2005 L, 2–4, LOW
2005–06 80 48 24 6 2 104 .650 292 231 2nd, Atlantic 2006 W, 4–3, MAN L, 2–4, POR
2006–07 80 47 29 3 1 98 .613 231 201 2nd, Atlantic 2007 L, 3–4, PRO
2007–08 80 50 20 2 8 110 .688 266 198 2nd, Atlantic 2008 L, 1–4, POR
2008–09 80 46 27 3 4 99 .619 243 216 1st, Atlantic 2009 L, 2–4, WOR
2009–10 80 36 33 6 5 83 .519 231 251 6th, Atlantic 2010 Did not qualify
2010–11 80 40 32 2 6 88 .550 221 223 3rd, Atlantic 2011 L, 2–4, POR
2011–12 76 36 26 7 7 86 .566 210 208 2nd, Northeast 2012 W, 3–0, BRI L, 2–4, NOR
2012–13 76 35 32 6 3 79 .520 213 222 2nd, Northeast 2013 Did not qualify
2013–14 76 37 32 1 6 81 .533 202 220 3rd, Northeast 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 76 43 24 5 4 95 .625 221 214 1st, Northeast 2015 W, 3–2, PRO W, 4–2, HER L, 0–4, MAN
2015–16 76 41 32 3 0 85 .559 202 199 6th, Atlantic 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 76 24 46 4 2 54 .355 194 280 7th, Atlantic 2017 Did not qualify
2017–18 76 34 33 6 3 77 .507 208 252 6th, Atlantic 2018 Did not qualify
2018–19 76 29 36 7 4 69 .454 209 266 8th, Atlantic 2019 Did not qualify
2019–20 62 31 20 6 5 73 .589 171 173 4th, Atlantic 2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 24 14 9 1 0 29 .604 82 74 2nd, Atlantic 2021 No playoffs were held

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated January 25, 2022.[7][8]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
2 United States Anthony Bitetto (A) D L 31 2021 Island Park, New York Rangers
40 Canada Francois Brassard G L 27 2021 Gatineau, Quebec Wolf Pack
22 United States Jonny Brodzinski (C) RW R 28 2021 Blaine, Minnesota Rangers
96 Canada Cristiano DiGiacinto LW L 26 2021 Hamilton, Ontario Wolf Pack
59 Canada Jake Elmer RW R 23 2019 Calgary, Alberta Rangers
11 Canada Tanner Fritz C R 30 2021 Grande Prairie, Alberta Wolf Pack
26 United States Tim Gettinger (A) LW L 23 2017 North Olmsted, Ohio Rangers
28 United States Anthony Greco RW R 28 2021 Queens, New York Rangers
4 United States Zach Giuttari D R 25 2020 Warwick, Rhode Island Wolf Pack
6 United States Zac Jones D L 21 2021 Glen Allen, Virginia Rangers
55 United States Patrick Khodorenko C L 23 2020 Walnut Creek, California Rangers
71 United States Keith Kinkaid G L 32 2021 Farmingville, New York Rangers
10 Canada Aaron Luchuk C L 24 2022 Kingston, Ontario Wolf Pack
13 Sweden Nils Lundkvist D R 21 2022 Piteå, Sweden Rangers
9 Canada Mike O'Leary LW L 24 2020 Halifax, Nova Scotia Wolf Pack
48 Finland Lauri Pajuniemi RW R 22 2021 Tampere, Finland Rangers
51 Finland Tarmo Reunanen D L 23 2021 Äänekoski, Finland Rangers
19 United States Justin Richards C R 23 2021 Orlando, Florida Rangers
24 Canada Matthew Robertson D L 20 2021 Edmonton, Alberta Rangers
7 Canada Ty Ronning RW R 24 2017 Burnaby, British Columbia Rangers
21 United States Austin Rueschhoff RW R 24 2021 Wentzville, Missouri Rangers
61 United States James Sanchez LW L 23 2021 Northbrook, Illinois Wolf Pack
20 United States Hunter Skinner D R 20 2021 Wyandotte, Michigan Rangers
3 United States Jeff Taylor D L 27 2021 Clifton Park, New York Wolf Pack
33 Canada Tyler Wall G L 24 2021 Leamington, Ontario Rangers
8 United States Alex Whelan RW R 24 2020 Ramsey, New Jersey Wolf Pack

Team captains[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Hartford Wolf Pack retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
12 Ken Gernander RW 1997–2005 October 8, 2005[13]

Notable alumni[edit]

The following players have played both 100 games in Hartford and 100 games in the National Hockey League:

Team records[edit]

Single season
Goals: 50, Brad Smyth (2000–01)
Assists: 69, Derek Armstrong (2000–01)
Points: 101, Derek Armstrong (2000–01)
Penalty Minutes: 415, Dale Purinton (1999–2000)
GAA: 1.59, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
SV%: .936, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Shutouts: 13, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Goaltending Wins: 34, Jason LaBarbera (2003–04)
Career
Goals: 184, Brad Smyth
Assists: 204, Derek Armstrong
Points: 365, Brad Smyth
Penalty Minutes: 1077, Dale Purinton
Shutouts: 21, Jason LaBarbera
Goaltending Wins: 91, Jason LaBarbera
Games: 599, Ken Gernander

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Doyle, Paul (September 20, 2010). "Wolf Pack Name Changing To Connecticut Whale". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 24, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (September 20, 2010). "Wolf Pack's Name Changing To Whale". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  3. ^ Doyle, Paul (November 28, 2010). "Hartford Hockey: A Whale Of A Debut". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  4. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (August 6, 2012). "Give Howard Baldwin Credit For Trying, But The NHL Dream Is Dead — For Now". Hartford Courant. Retrieved August 6, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Doyle, Paul (April 23, 2013). "Connecticut Whale: Exit Whale, Re-Enter Wolf Pack; Source Says Team Name Will Change". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "It's Official! Hartford Wolf Pack Now the Name". Hartford Courant. May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Hartford Wolf Pack :: Players". Hartford Wolf Pack. Retrieved January 25, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Hartford Wolf Pack - Roster". American Hockey League. Retrieved January 25, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "PACK CAN'T MAKE UP GROUND ON SOUND TIGERS". Hartford Wolf Pack. March 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "PACK ANNOUNCE CAPTAIN, ALTERNATES". Hartford Wolf Pack. October 5, 2017.
  11. ^ "Cole Schneider named Captain for the 18/19 season". Twitter. Hartford Wolf Pack. October 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Wolf Pack Name Steven Fogarty Captain". Hartford Wolf Pack. October 3, 2019.
  13. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (May 17, 2017). "Gernander's firing is Hartford's biggest loss since Whalers". Hartford Courant. Retrieved May 18, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]