Like an an uninvited party guest bursting through the front door, the Carolina Hurricanes announced via Twitter — “Brass Bonanza” blaring — that they will wear Hartford Whalers throwback uniforms this season, triggering instant blowback from defenders of the defunct NHL franchise.
“It’s back. 12.23.18,” read the well-intentioned tweet, which was accompanied by a whale emoji and a 35-second video set to the Whalers’ beloved on-ice anthem. A follow-up tweet showed multiple angles of the primarily green sweaters — trimmed in white and blue and modeled after the road uniforms the team wore from 1979-1992 — further inflaming the social-media masses.
The Hurricanes announced they will first wear the uniforms at home on Dec. 23 against the Boston Bruins for what they’ve dubbed “Whalers Night.” They’ll wear them again in a visit to Boston on March 5.
“We’re proud of the history and traditions that we’ve built in 21 years in North Carolina. But we’ve never thrown away the records established during this franchise’s 18 NHL seasons in Connecticut,” said Don Waddell, Hurricanes president and general manager. “This is a chance to celebrate our team’s heritage and the players and coaches who laid the groundwork for this franchise.”
While some replies were positive, such as an innocent inquiry into whether the jerseys would be available for purchase (yes, at a later date) most were, predictably, not. Here are some highlights:
I knew it was a matter of time (especially since the new owner mentioned interest in doing it last year), but it just sucks so much.— Chris Boulay (@chrismboulay) September 27, 2018
And people are gonna eat it up because they love the logo and like vintage hockey stuff, and it's the absolute worst.
So, it's OFFICIAL! @AdidasHockey has just released the @NHLCanes new Hartford Whalers-inspired third jerseys and they are absolutely gorgeous. Love the throwbacks, as per usual. Adidas is absolutely rocking these third jersey releases.#Adizero pic.twitter.com/25JNRyGZU3— Hockey Daily #StickTogether (@HockeyDaily365) September 27, 2018
You fired Ronnie Francis. You fired Chuck Kaiton, but NOW you want to honor your history? This is a huge slap in the face to the people who supported the Whalers for the 19 years they were here.— Hockey Night in Hartford (@HockeyNightHFD) September 27, 2018
This is all about making money. Nothing else. If Carolina or the NHL cared at all about the Whalers history, they'd have regular preseason games in Hartford. But they don't. All they want is your money.— Dave (@baltimoredavey) September 27, 2018
The Carolina Hurricanes wearing Hartford Whalers jerseys is like if I stole my friend's Playstation then asked if they wanted to come over to watch me play video games.— STAY HYDRATED (@jeffisrael25) September 27, 2018
They're not the (bleeping) Whalers. They are the CAROLINA FREAKING HURRICANES!— x - Vinylholic (@FulhamTarheel) September 27, 2018
This is an organizational embarrassment. So what are Canes fans supposed to chant? Let's go Whalers? Or Let's go Canes?
This organization just embarrassed itself over a blatant cash grab.
Don’t buy Whalers jerseys from these jackals. Get originals off EBay etc. or buy stuff when you’re in CT from local retailers.— Nick Mercadante (@NMercad) September 27, 2018
I love the Whalers and their uniform is a classic. The Carolina Hurricanes are not and have not been the Hartford Whalers for many years. This just comes off as a cruel gut punch.— Sym (@symmering) September 27, 2018
If you know the story of how they left Hartford you would understand. Lots of Whalers fans not thrilled to see this franchise use the Whalers logo or look— Andrew Stockey (@astockeyWTAE) September 27, 2018
You ripped the Whalers away from Hartford. You shouldn't get to now profit off their sweet unis.— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) September 27, 2018