November 1971 -- The World Hockey Association awards franchise to sports enthusiasts and businessmen Howard Baldwin, John Colburn, Godfrey Wood and William Barnes.
January 1972 -- Jack Kelley, a successful coach at Boston University, joins the New England WHA franchise as coach and general manager. Newly formed team is named ``Whalers'' because it contains the letters of the new league, and it carries with it a part of the New England heritage.
April 19, 1972 -- Larry Pleau becomes the first player to sign a Whalers contract. Later in the month, Brad Selwood, Rick Ley and Jim Dorey from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tim Sheehy of the Boston College/U.S. Olympic team also join the team.
Oct. 12, 1972 -- Whalers play their first WHA game. Rebounding from a 2-0 deficit, the Whalers defeat the Philadelphia Blazers 4-3 before 14,442 at Boston Garden. Tommy Williams scores the first Whalers goal, Pleau scores the first game-winning goal.
May 6, 1973 -- Whalers defeat Winnipeg Jets 9-6 on national television ( CBS) to win the WHA's first title, the World Trophy. Later in the month, Jack Kelley is named WHA coach of the year and Terry Caffery is named top rookie.
April 6, 1974 -- Whalers play their first game in Springfield. They come back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Chicago Cougars in the first game of the playoffs, 6-4.
Jan. 11, 1975 -- Whalers play first game at new Hartford Civic Center before a sellout crowd of 10,507. After falling behind, they come back to defeat the San Diego Mariners 4-3 in overtime, with Garry Swain scoring at 5 minutes, 45 seconds.
Dec. 26, 1975 -- Don Blackburn named replacement for coach Jack Kelley.
March 11, 1976 -- Harry Neale takes over for Blackburn.
Jan. 18, 1977 -- Hartford hosts the WHA All-Star Game. The East Division defeats the West, 4-2. Future Whalers goaltender Louis Levasseur is the East's Most Valuable Player.
May 23, 1977 -- Whalers outbid the NHL to sign the entire Howe family, Gordie, Mark and Marty, to long-term contracts.
May 1977 -- Kelley hired as director of hockey operations.
Jan. 18, 1978 -- At 4:19 a.m., under the weight of snow and ice, the Civic Center Coliseum roof collapses. Springfield welcomes the Whalers and the 91 Club is born. Over the next two years, the Whalers ask fans to remain loyal while the Hartford roof is repaired and the building enlarged. Fewer than 300 cancel their season tickets. The 91 Club, when the building reopens, has 4,200 members.
May 1979 -- The New England Whalers change their name to the Hartford Whalers.
June 22, 1979 -- Whalers join the National Hockey League with three other WHA teams as the NHL expands to 21 teams for the 1979-80 season. The WHA officially ends operation.
October 1979 -- Howe family splits when Marty Howe is sent to Springfield Indians of AHL.
Oct. 11, 1979 -- Whalers play their first NHL regular season game, at Minnesota. The North Stars win 4-1. Gordie Roberts scores the Whalers' first NHL goal at 14:15 of the third period.
Feb. 6, 1980 -- After an absence of two years and 19 days, the Whalers return to the Civic Center. The Whalers come back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 7-3 before a sellout crowd.
April 6, 1980 -- The Whalers defeat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 to finish their first NHL season and qualify for the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. The Whalers set six expansion team records.
June 6, 1980 -- Gordie Howe, 52, announces his retirement, ending a 32-year career. He joins the Whalers' front office.
Feb. 18, 1981 -- Howe's No. 9 is retired.
Feb. 20, 1981 -- Blackburn is fired and replaced by Pleau as coach.
April 1, 1981 -- Kelley fired as director of hockey operations.
April 2, 1981 -- Pleau named director of hockey operations and will double as coach.
June 2, 1982 -- Larry Kish hired as coach.
Jan. 24, 1983 -- Kish fired as Whalers coach. Pleau assumes coaching duties.
May 2, 1983 -- After building winning teams in New York and St. Louis, Emile Francis joins the Whalers as president and general manager.
May 1983 -- Pleau named assistant GM.
July 7, 1983 -- Jack Evans hired as coach.
March 24-April 1, 1984 -- Whalers earn seven points in their final six games, and finish the season as the most improved team in the NHL. They total 66 points, 21 more than the previous season and tie or break 57 team records.
February 1985 -- Ron Francis becomes the first Whaler to play in two NHL All-Star Games.
Feb. 22, 1985 -- Whalers acquire Mike Liut and Jorgen Pettersson from St. Louis for veterans Greg Millen and former team captain Mark Johnson. Francis is named team captain.
March 10-29, 1985 -- Whalers go on nine-game unbeaten streak, including team-record seven consecutive victories.
Feb. 4, 1986 -- Whalers host the 38th NHL All-Star Game before a sellout crowd of 15,126. Bryan Trottier scores the winner in overtime to give the Wales Conference a 4-3 victory over the Campbell Conference. Sylvain Turgeon records an assist.
April 12, 1986 -- Whalers complete a three-game playoff sweep of regular season Adams Division champ Quebec with a 9-4 victory at the Civic Center. John Anderson leads the Whalers with six points.
April 29, 1986 -- Montreal's Claude Lemieux scores at 5:55 of overtime to give the Canadiens a 2-1 victory over the Whalers in the seventh game of the Adams Division championship series.
June1986 -- Emile Francis is named NHL executive of the year by the Sporting News and the Hockey News.
Dec. 26, 1986 -- Doug Jarvis supplants Garry Unger as the NHL's Ironman by participating in his 915th consecutive NHL game, a 1-1 tie with Montreal.
Jan. 1, 1987-- Frank Deford, when asked for a sports-related prediction, tells Ted Koppel on ``Nightline'' that the Whalers will win the Stanley Cup in 1987.
April 4, 1987 -- The Whalers score three goals in less than four minutes during the third period to overcome a 3-2 deficit to beat the Rangers 5-3 and clinch first place in the Adams Division.
April 1987 -- Whalers eliminated in first round of playoffs 4-2 by Quebec.
Feb. 7, 1988 -- Pleau is named coach. Pleau, 40, replaces Evans, who was fired after coaching the Whalers since the start of the 1983-84 season.
Feb. 9, 1988 -- Kevin Dineen becomes the first Whaler to start an NHL All-Star Game, and helps lead the Wales Conference over the Campbell Conference 6-5 with two assists, including one on the winner by Mario Lemieux in overtime.
March 29, 1988 -- The Buffalo Sabres defeat the Quebec Nordiques 3-1, eliminating the Nordiques from playoff contention and clinching a playoff spot for the Whalers for the third consecutive year. The Whalers, who trailed the Nordiques by three points March 19, make up 10 points in 10 days to push Quebec out of the playoffs.
June 28, 1988 -- A letter of intent to sell total control of the Whalers to Donald G. Conrad and Richard Gordon is signed. The Whalers were owned by 16 partners: Aetna Life and Casualty, 40.45 percent; Hartford Insurance Group, 13.7; CIGNA, 11.4; The Travelers, 8.6; UTC, 6.1; Connecticut Mutual, 4.9; Bank of Boston Connecticut, 3.3; CBT, 3.3; Hartford National, 3.3; Heublein, 1.6; Howard Baldwin, 1.0; Hartford Attractions, 1.0; The Hartford Courant, 0.6; Hartford Steam Boiler, 0.6; CL&P, 0.1; Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce, 0.05. The corporate partners have the option to buy back 25 percent of the Whalers.
Sept. 7, 1988 -- The sale of the Whalers for $31 million by the team's 16 partners to Conrad and Gordon is approved by the NHL Board of Governors. Gordon and Conrad end up owning 74.5 percent, worth $23 million. Aetna owns 13 percent, while CIGNA and Travelers own 2 percent each. The other 11 partners and Baldwin, at .82 percent, will own less than 2 percent.
Jan. 20, 1989 -- Gordie Howe, Rick Ley, Jack Kelley, Bob Schmertz, Frank Keyes and the late Gov. Ella Grasso are honored as charter inductees of the Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame.
Jan. 23, 1989 -- Gordon sends Conrad a letter requesting they end their partnership and Gordon offers to buy Conrad's 37.15 percent interest.
March 15, 1989 -- A compromise leaves Gordon with his share of the Whalers and major decision-making powers, while Conrad will sell the bulk of his share to Colonial Realty Co.
May 11, 1989 -- Ed Johnston is named vice president and GM of the Whalers. Francis retains position as team president (formally announced June 6).
June 7, 1989 -- Former Whalers captain Rick Ley is named coach of the Whalers, replacing Pleau.
June 18, 1989 -- The NHL approves Gordon and Colonial Realty as Whalers owners.
Sept. 6, 1989 -- Whalers officially open their training and practice facility at Avon Old Farms School.
March 5, 1990 -- Liut traded to Washington for Yvon Corriveau.
March 21, 1990 -- Dave Keon and Baldwin are inducted into Whalers Hall of Fame.
Nov. 13, 1990 -- Doug Crossman acquired from Islanders for Ray Ferraro.
Feb. 23, 1991 -- Whalers clinch playoff spot for sixth consecutive season.
March 4, 1991 -- John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker are acquired from Pittsburgh for Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings.
April 1, 1991 -- Pat Verbeek is only NHL player to lead team in goals scored and penalty minutes for second consecutive year.
May 29, 1991 -- Ley is fired.
June 7, 1991 -- Jim Roberts is named coach, replacing Ley.
June 7, 1991 -- Conrad sues Colonial Whalers for $4.4 million for nonpayment and Gordon for a guarantee of $1.4 million of that $4.4 million. Colonial has been unable to pay Conrad the remainder of a $7.9 million 1989 ownership buyout of his now 37.5 percent interest.
Oct. 22, 1991 -- Gordon, managing general partner, issues a $13 million cash call for what he says were expenses and anticipated losses by the Whalers.
Nov. 6, 1991 -- Colonial Whalers files for bankruptcy protection in response to Gordon's attempt to gain control of the group's 37.5 percent interest.
Nov. 26, 1991 -- Defenseman Randy Ladouceur named 10th captain in team's 20-year history.
April 1, 1992 -- NHL players strike, suspending the season 10 days.
May 2, 1992 -- Whalers extend the Montreal Canadiens to the second overtime in Game 7 of the Adams Division semifinals. Russ Courtnall's goal at 12:02 a.m. (25:26 of OT) ends the Whalers' first NHL season to extend into May.
May 12, 1992 -- Ed Johnston fired as vice president and GM.
May 26, 1992 -- Whalers name Brian Burke GM.
June 2, 1992 -- Whalers introduce new uniforms. The team changes to a predominantly navy blue scheme after 20 seasons in green.
June 15, 1992 -- Whalers hire Paul Holmgren to replace Roberts as coach.
Aug. 28, 1992 -- Pierre McGuire joins team as assistant coach. Whalers acquire Sean Burke and Eric Weinrich from New Jersey for Bobby Holik, draft pick and future considerations.
Sept. 9, 1992 -- Gordon receives final approval for acquisition of Colonial Whalers' 37.5 percent of the team in a bankruptcy court hearing in Hartford. The deal between Conrad, court-appointed trustee Hal Hirsch, representing bankrupt Colonial Realty, and Gordon was originally agreed upon April 17, 1992. Gordon pays $2.5 million to the creditors and $1.5 million to Conrad. As part of the deal, Conrad drops his lawsuit against Colonial and Gordon.
Oct. 1, 1992 -- The Connecticut Development Authority makes a $4 million loan, through the Connecticut Growth Fund at a market rate for seven years, and provides a 40 percent ($10 million) guarantee on up to $25 million in loans from Fleet Bank N.A. and Connecticut National Bank. The loan guarantee is made through the Connecticut Works Fund. As part of the agreement, a provision was added that if the franchise is put up for sale by Gordon, the state has the first option to buy it at 85 percent of a bona fide offer, less any transfer fee. The $4 million loan is to cover the cost of Gordon's acquiring 37.5 percent of the team, formerly owned by Colonial Whalers.
Nov. 24, 1992 -- Cullen traded to Toronto for conditional draft choice.
April 16, 1993 -- Whalers finish 26-52-6 and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1985.
May 12, 1993 -- Gordon travels to Minneapolis and meets with Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson and tours Target Center. Gordon says his visit was not about moving the Whalers; it was to look for sites for Whalers' neutral-site games.
June 26, 1993 -- The Whalers swap first-round draft picks with San Jose and select Chris Pronger second overall in the NHL Entry Draft.
June 30, 1993 -- Emile Francis announces his retirement, ending a 47-year hockey career.
July 14, 1993 -- Brian Burke named team president.
Sept. 1, 1993 -- Burke resigns as team president and GM to join the NHL front office as executive vice president and director of hockey operations.
Sept. 1, 1993 -- The Whalers receive $30 million from the state to erase the team's debt and also receive the right to use the Civic Center rent-free. In return, the Whalers agree to stay at the Civic Center 20 years and sign over the rights to luxury skybox revenue to the state. The CDA gets control and revenue from the Civic Center Coliseum Club and skyboxes, 100 percent of the parking garage revenue, repayment from the Whalers of a $4 million loan and $10 million in loan guarantees, and the first option to buy the Whalers for $45 million if the team continues to lose money.
Sept. 8, 1993 -- Holmgren is named acting GM. He remains as coach. Assistant coach McGuire is named assistant GM.
Nov. 15, 1993 -- Gordon advises NHL of intent to move franchise. Gordon says he did this to protect himself should he decide to sell the team and the CDA did not exercise its option to buy the Whalers under the terms of the 20-year lease.
Nov. 16, 1993 -- McGuire replaces Holmgren as coach. Holmgren is named GM.
March 10, 1994 -- Whalers acquire Gary Suter, Ted Drury and Paul Ranheim from Calgary for James Patrick, Zalapski and Michael Nylander.
March 11, 1994 -- Whalers acquire Frantisek Kucera and Jocelyn Lemieux from Chicago for Suter, Randy Cunneyworth and a 1995 third-round pick.
March 24, 1994 -- Verbeek, Pronger, Mark Janssens, Marc Potvin, Geoff Sanderson, Todd Harkins and assistant coach Kevin McCarthy are arrested at 4 a.m. after an altercation at Network nightclub in Buffalo, N.Y. They plead guilty to reduced charges of trespassing in Buffalo City Court and each is sentenced to 20 hours' community service.
March 31, 1994 -- Holmgren arrested in Simsbury for driving under the influence and evading responsibility after hitting mailboxes, a newspaper tube and a utility pole.
April 1, 1994 -- Holmgren enters Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
April 8, 1994 -- Defenseman Bryan Marchment arrested for driving under the influence in Farmington at 3 a.m.
April 8, 1994 -- Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. says the state will step forward if necessary to buy the Whalers, but says the state is vigorously trying to find private ownership.
April 14, 1994 -- Whalers finish 27-48-9, miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
April 17, 1994 -- Pronger arrested for driving under the influence, prohibitive alcohol content and erratic driving in the Bowling Green, Ohio, area.
April 27, 1994 -- Holmgren returns to work as GM after being released from the Betty Ford Center April 26.
May 5, 1994 -- William F. Dowling group is the first bidder to publicly step forward, saying it wants to buy the Whalers and keep them in Hartford.
May 19, 1994 -- McGuire is fired as coach of the Whalers. McGuire, the fifth coach in six seasons, was 23-37-7 since replacing Holmgren Nov. 16.
May 24, 1994 -- Peter Karmanos Jr. and Thomas Thewes, principal officers in Michigan-based Compuware Corp., become the second group to confirm interest in buying the Whalers and keeping them in Connecticut.
May 26, 1994 -- Robert Caporale, the lawyer for Gordon, sends a proposal to the CDA to sell all of the team immediately. According to terms of the previous agreement between the CDA and Gordon, the CDA is prepared to pay Gordon $45 million for the team and $2.5 million to help cover his losses. He will pay 24 percent (about $11 million) to his corporate partners.
May 30, 1994 -- Gordon says there are some ``fine points'' remaining and approval by the CDA, but his half of the sale is essentially complete.
June 1, 1994 -- CDA buys Whalers for $47.5 million from Gordon and the corporations that own 24 percent of team.
June 1,1994 -- Whalers are officially purchased by Karmanos, Thewes and Jim Rutherford (KTR) for $47.4 million, but only $22 million in cash. Rutherford is named president and GM. Holmgren is named coach. Whalers draft Jeff O'Neill as they host the 1994 NHL Entry Draft at the Civic Center.
Aug. 25, 1994 -- Whalers acquire defenseman Glen Wesley from Boston for first-round picks in 1995, '96 and '97.
May 3, 1995 -- Whalers complete the strike-shortened 1994-95 season with an increase in average attendance for the first time since 1987-88 (12.8 percent), but miss playoffs for third consecutive year.
July 27, 1995 -- Whalers acquire Brendan Shanahan from St. Louis for Pronger.
Nov. 6, 1995 -- Whalers replace Holmgren with Paul Maurice as coach.
Dec. 28, 1995 -- Whalers reacquire Dineen from the Philadelphia Flyers for future considerations.
Jan. 31-Feb. 11, 1996 -- The Whalers win the final five games of a six-game trip, the best trip in team history.
April 2, 1996 -- Gov. John G. Rowland kicks off ``Save the Whale'' ticket campaign to run until May 1 to double season ticket base to 11,000.
April 14, 1996 -- Whalers complete the season with their best record (34-39-9) since 1989-90 (38-33-9), but miss the playoffs again. The team's home record is 22-15-4, the Whalers' best since 1986-87.
May 1996 -- The ticket campaign is extended until May 14. The ticket drive had reached 7,601 tickets as of May 3.
May 15, 1996 -- The Whalers announce that after 45 days of the ticket campaign, about 8,300 season tickets are sold, about 3,000 more than the previous year. The Whalers also announce they will stay in Hartford two more years, in accordance with their lease with the state-run Civic Center.
Oct. 9, 1996 -- Whalers acquire Paul Coffey, Keith Primeau and 1997 first-round pick from Detroit for Shanahan and Brian Glynn.
Nov. 9, 1996 -- Whalers acquire Curtis Leschyshyn from Washington for Andrei Nikolishin.
Dec. 15, 1996 -- Whalers acquire Kevin Haller and first- and seventh-round 1997 picks for Coffey.
March 5, 1997 -- Whalers acquire Steve Chiasson from Calgary and a draft pick for Hnat Domenichelli, Glen Featherstone and draft picks.
March 18, 1997 -- Whalers acquire Chris Murray from Phoenix for Gerald Diduck.
March 18, 1997 -- Whalers acquire Derek King from Islanders for fifth-round pick.
March 18, 1997 -- Acquire fourth-round pick and rights to Bates Battaglia from Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Janssens.
March 26, 1997 -- After two months of negotiations, Gov. Rowland and Karmanos say the Whalers will leave Hartford after the season because they remain far apart on several issues, with the main sticking points linked to a new arena deal. The team has agreed to pay a $20.5 million penalty to leave at the end of the season, a year before its four-year commitment expires.
March 29, 1997 -- Corporate leaders try to organize a long-shot effort to keep the team in Connecticut.
April 1, 1997 -- Karmanos tells The Courant he's shutting the door on Hartford: ``It's dead. Absolutely dead. It's dead. What else can I say.''
April 2, 1997 -- Corporate leaders decide their effort to keep the Whalers in Hartford should conclude when Karmanos does not return their calls.
April 2, 1997 -- House Speaker Thomas D. Ritter tries to block the agreement between Rowland and Karmanos, asking for a $40 million exit fee.
April 12, 1997 -- The Ottawa Senators defeat the Buffalo Sabres 1-0, eliminating the Whalers from the playoff race.
April 13, 1997 -- The Whalers finish 18 years of NHL play in Hartford with a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay. Kevin Dineen scores the last Whalers goal at the Civic Center (Geoff Sanderson and Andrew Cassels assisting). Tampa Bay's Dino Ciccarelli scores the last NHL goal at the Civic Center with 2:50 left. Rowland (no Ella Grasso, he) and Karmanos (no Baldwin, he) are nowhere in sight. But a full house cheered and cried and spilled its guts for a team it loved and at one time, worshiped. The Whalers finish 32-39-11.
April 21, 1997 -- Simsbury developer Stephen D. Fish announces he is trying to formulate a plan to keep the Whalers in Hartford. Under his scenario, Fish and a group of investors would buy 49 percent of the team from Karmanos.
April 29, 1997 -- Fish announces he is abandoning his effort to form a deal to buy the Whalers.
May 6, 1997 -- Karmanos, with Rutherford, North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt and other officials present, announces at a press conference in Raleigh, N.C., that the Whalers, after playing at an interim site while an arena is built, will move to Raleigh and be known as the Carolina Hurricanes.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun