If you’re wondering why you’re seeing and hearing more advertising featuring the logo and theme song of the defunct Hartford Whalers than the tryin’-to-survive Hartford Wolf Pack, the Connecticut Lottery is the reason.
The lottery is in the midst of a very visible media campaign prominently featuring the sound of “Brass Bonanza,” the former team’s distinctive anthem, and a computer animated rink with the Whalers logo glistening at center ice.
The television and web promotions for the scratch tickets come, coincidentally, as Gov. Dannel Malloy indicated in recent weeks that he’s spoken with “at least two groups” that are interested in acquiring an NHL team about the possibility of relocating or expanding to Hartford.
The Whalers were moved by their owner to North Carolina in 1997, despite solid attendance and a successful season ticket sale drive, after two decades in the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League, first in Boston, then Hartford.
Last month, the State Bond Commission approved funds for improvements at the 34-year-old XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center, rebuilt after a roof collapse three decades ago). Improvements will include an upgraded videoboard, a new fan club area, renovated bathrooms, concession stand upgrades, a new bar area within the arena bowl, renovated locker rooms and improvements in handicap accessibility. Construction is expected to take place in the summer and be completed by the start of the 2014-15 hockey season.
The CT Lottery received permission to use the Whalers logo for this promotion from the National Hockey League (NHL), which retains rights to the logo. The scratch game tickets cost $3 and the maximum winning prize is $30,000. It is anticipated that 1,200,000 tickets will be sold, and the overall odds of winning a monetary prize is 1 in 3.67. The game launched at the start of the hockey season last fall, and will continue “until the last top prize in the game is claimed” according to lottery officials.
As of last Friday, there remained two $30,000 winning tickets, 15 tickets with a prize amount of $1,979, 105 tickets worth $500, and 300 tickets worth $250 yet to be claimed. More than 7,500 winning tickets between $25 and $100 have also yet to be claimed.
The CT Lottery's use of the Hartford Whalers® logo is a first for Connecticut, according to lottery officials Other CT Lottery sports branded scratch tickets have included the NY Giants®, NY Yankees® and the Boston Red Sox®. The last time that the Whalers were front and center on a CT Lottery ticket was in 1992, when the team was still in town. At the time, “Whalers Power Play” tickets cost $1, with prizes ranging from $2 to $1,000, including some drawings between periods at Whalers games.
“I have encouraged at least two groups that have expressed interest in acquiring a team to do so and that we would be active participants should they acquire a team and win the rights to that team,” Malloy said last month. In the meantime, die-hard Whalers fans in Connecticut can buy lottery tickets - as they hope that an even bigger bonanza is in the cards.