The Whalers logo came about during the 1980-81 season through the efforts of Bill Barnes, Whalers Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, and Peter Good, a successful commercial designer in the area...
"We wanted to use the 'W,' of course," Barnes explained, "which was part of our previous two logos, and develop the Whale's tail, which is the strongest part of the animal. Bringing those two elements together formed a third, the 'H' for Hartford. By juggling these around awhile, that's what we came up with...
"The use of the 'W' was important, beacause of it's link to the past history of the franchise," Barnes said. "The tail stood for out nickname, which is the official animal of the state of Connecticut, and the tail is also the most identifiable part of the whale...
"Many people don't recognize the third element immediately, but it's a very important dimension since it identifies the change from the New England Whalers to Hartford's team, the start of the NHL era of the franchise's history. Fans of the club in its World Hockey Association days will remember the team's previous logos - the 'W' with the harpoon through it, in the club's first year in Boston, and the caricature of the whale, with 'ers' trailing behind it."
But Barnes feels the present logo has the right appeal to all fans and works well to communicate the message of Whalers Hockey. "I feel our logo is one of the most attractive in the league," he said, "and it will be ours for years to come."
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During their existance the Hartford Whalers changed the look of their jersey a number of times. The more "environmentally-aware" society of the late 1970's saw the end of the harpoon.
The introduction of the full length "Cooperalls" was met with bad reviews in the early 80's. Pucky the Whale patches even fell off the shoulders by the mid-1980's.
In the 1990's, merchandising became the top priority as hockey jerseys began to see a surge in sales in the United States. For the Hartford Whalers, the color green was seen as a problem from a marketing standpoint and before you knew it, green was a secondary color...
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1972-1973 New England Whalers
In the New England Whalers' inaugural season while still in Boston, and playing in the legendary Boston Garden, the team established the green and white colour scheme that they would wear for over twenty years.
The Whalers would wear this style for three seasons in the WHA.
1975-1976 Hartford Whalers
New name, new city, new logo, new colours. The move from Boston saw the Whalers change from the New England Whalers to the Hartford Whalers. The logo was simplified and gold trim was added to the jersey.
The Whalers would wear this style for four seasons in the WHA.
1979-1980 Hartford Whalers
The jump to the NHL saw yet another uniform change. Pucky the whale, which adorned the shoulder of the jersey since day one in Boston, made the cut, but with the environmental movement gaining steam, a less controversial harpoon-less crest became the Whalers' primary logo.
The Whalers would essentially wear this style until the 1992-93 season.
1981-1982 Hartford Whalers
After 10 years of existance the Whalers added an additonal patch to sleeve of their jersies to celebrate the anniversary and altered the striping on the lower hem slightly.
CCM also began making a name for themselves as "the" jersey supplier of the NHL and the Whalers jumped on the boat.
1982-1983 Hartford Whalers
The 1982-83 season saw two teams in the NHL, the Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford, switch to full length hockey pants -- commonly referred to as CooperAlls.
The fad was shortlived though and the following season, both teams were back to the regular length hockey pant with socks.
1985-1986 Hartford Whalers
Once again, the Whalers re-arranged the striping on the bottom hem of the jersey and they also switched to a more durable mesh material.
Pucky the whale was also removed from the shoulders of the jersey as the logo had unfortunately become the laughing stock of the enitre league.
1989-1990 Hartford Whalers
The end of the decade saw more of the same as the Hartford Whalers again re-worked the striping on the lower hem of jersey.
They also switched from the heavy mesh material to a thin air-knit material.
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Green to Blue
Here's a switch, new road jerseys on the drawing board...A blueprint for merchandising.
This is not the best time of year to bad mouth the color green. And, really, we had no such intentions, anyway.
Although Whalers owner Richard Gordon has said Quebec Nordiques president Marcel Aubut told him his club's road green uniforms made his players look small, there is nothing wrong with the all green look.
Certainly the uniforms are unique in the NHL.
Just as hulking Boog Powell was accused of looking like a gigantic Bloody Mary when the Cleveland Indians took their short lived shot at all red baseball uniforms, it's really the size of the player that determines the perception. Dave Semenko looked like the Jolly Green Giant in the Whalers' road outfit.
No matter what color you dressed Dean Evason and Ray Ferraro in, they weren't going to look like Joel Otto and Mark Messier. And, besides Monsieur Aubut, people think your road blue uniforms with the fleur-de-lis
make your Nordiques look like a lousy team.
How else can you explain that 11-75-11 road record in the past three years?
The Whalers have one of the worst home records in the NHL in the past three years. And those home jerseys will continue to be white.
But the rest is going to change. The Whalers sent their proposal to the NHL a few weeks back. And pending final color coordination between the NHL and the club hierarchy, the Whalers will have different color uniforms next season. There is no Board of Governors approval needed, Whalers vice president Rick Francis said.
The major change is that navy blue -- not green -- will be the dominant color for the road jerseys. Francis said he believes the pants for home games will be navy blue, too.
The real issue here is green -- as in dollar bill green. Green merchandise does not sell with fans. Black and blue do.
"Kelly green or Dartmouth green...it doesn't matter if you are a dynasty like the Celtics, not too many people look great in green," Francis said. "The Celtics' white jackets outsell their green jackets something like 25 to 1."
But at this rate isn't every team in sports going to be black or silver by the year 2000? San Jose Sharks, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Kings and Raiders are top sellers. Is the bottom line on uniform colors the bottom line at the souvenir shop?
"We came up with different color schemes that might be popular from a merchandising standpoint," Francis said. "Black was always at the top. It's a hot color.
"There are seven-eight teams that have base blue in the NHL. I haven't seen our full uniforms, home and away, all at once yet. But the navy blue we're going to is a color no other team has."
Equipment manager Skip Cunningham, who has been with the Whalers since day one, is coordinating the uniform change. Color and design are obviously matters of taste, but few people in the NHL would have a better handle on the equipment world.
Skip says the new uniform is going to look terrific. Evidently, they're going to look a little like Dallas Cowboys uniforms -- fitting, since Roger Staubach is on Gordon's advisory board.
"The uniform still has green striping," Francis said. "It also has brought in a silver-gray. When you lay silver-gray over navy blue, it's a very rich and classy combination. It's not the same as the Cowboys."
From our perspective, lanky Chicago goalie Ed Belfour, with the indian head crest in red and black road uniforms, is the most stylish player on ice. Those crossed tomahawks on his shoulders, the fierce hawk painted onto his goalie mask and the longish hair coming out the back all help, too.
In teel and blue with the "jaws" mask and shark logo, San Jose goalie Brian Hayward looks much better than his goals-against average.
At any rate, the new Whalers uniforms are sure to look better than those long green pants of a decade ago. They made the Whalers look like tourists in Atlantic City.
Francis said the last he heard from Cunningham the Whalers still were waiting to get a crest design back from a company in Attleboro, Mass. The club is looking at putting the nautical rope circle -- like in the original uniforms -- around the Whalers' logo. In light of some complaints, they have no intentions of bringing back the harpoon.
Francis' dad, Emile, got rid of the Gumby-looking Whale on the uniform shoulder six years ago. That was a good move. But NHL clubs are looking for secondary logos for the shoulders and other merchandising.
"I had one idea of a killer whale crashing through the ice," Francis said. "But at this point it might be too late to do anything on the game jerseys except for the shoulder or on other merchandise."
The crashing whale is a terrific idea for the center crest. Maybe use the current W-tale on the shoulder or within the crest, too. Anything to play up the mightiest of creatures and play down the slaughter of them.
"You want to be respectful of the club's tradition, but a uniform change is an opportunity to rebuild some loyalty and excitement," Francis said.
The Whalers' tradition is not so deep in decades and championships that a change from green to navy blue is a problem. If new uniforms are as good as advertised, it's a good move. But let's not forget the move from green to blue is a move to chase the green.
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1992-1993 Hartford Whalers
The 1992-93 season was the first with out the green road jersey. Blue was now the more prominent colour and the logo and striping were enhanced with silver highlights.
As with all teams, the Whalers wore the 100th anniversary Stanley Cup patch on the right brest that season.
1993-1994 Hartford Whalers
In the team's final seasons in Hartford, the CCM brand was no longer used in favor of the Connecticut based Starter Corporation.
The blue of the road jersey was darkened to the point that it almost appeared black in an attempt to mimic the merchandising success of the Los Angeles Kings' switch to black uniforms.