Global Spectrum, which will take control of the XL Center later this year, is on the verge of keeping the New York Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford beyond this season.
A deal is close and an announcement from Madison Square Garden could come any time. An agreenment was expected last week, but top executives at MSG and Global's parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, are said to be ironing out details.
So what will the team be called? The Connecticut Whale brand was created by Howard Baldwin's Whalers Sports & Entertainment in 2010 and that company no longer runs the business side of the franchise, although it allowed current XL Center operator AEG to use the name and logo this season. The franchise is owned by MSG, but Global will run the team's day-to-day operation in Hartford and handle the marketing.
Unless MSG and Global decide to work out an agreement with WSE, the team's name will likely change. The team could return to the Hartford Wolf Pack, the name of the franchise from 1997 until it was re-branded in 2010. MSG has kept the brand alive by retaining uniforms and has even renewed the hartfordwolfpack.com domain name, updating data base information on the domain name Saturday.
Another possibility is to simply call the team the Rangers -- Hartford or Connecticut preceding the name -- although that could be a public relations risk. Returning to the Wolf Pack would be simple, especially with the still visible around the team and the XL Center.
And given the recent activity involving the Wolf Pack web site domain, it seems MSG is at least considering a return to the franchise's old brand.
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