Connecticut governor wants to bring NHL Coyotes to Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Friday he plans to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes moving to Hartford.

Lamont told reporters during a press conference that he has been in contact with the NHL and hopes the meeting can take place sometime next week.

“This is a great hockey state and a great hockey city,” Lamont told CT Insider. “It shows in the passion we've had for the Whalers for years – still one of the best-selling jerseys. I think we can guarantee them a very strong market here and a government that's willing to be their partner.”

Talks about a Coyotes move have gained momentum since voters in Tempe, Arizona, this week rejected a referendum for a $2.3 billion entertainment district that would allow the franchise to build a new arena there.

Connecticut has not had an NHL team since the Hartford Whalers left for North Carolina in 1997. The state has only one top-level professional sports team, the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, who play at Mohegan Sun Arena, a 10,000-seat facility not built for hockey.

The possibility of a move to Connecticut is considered unlikely. Hartford's 48-year-old XL Center, where the Whalers once played, is in dire need of renovation. The operator, the Capital Region Development Authority, is expected to soon solicit bids for repairs estimated to cost at least $107 million.

A number of other cities have been mentioned as possible locations for the Coyotes should the franchise decide to relocate, including Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Kansas City, Houston, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Quebec City and Hamilton, Ontario.


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Anna Harden

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