Seventeen years ago this very day the Whalers played their final game. April 13 was a Sunday and the teams final game was an afternoon game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, neither team was going to the playoffs.
It wasn't just any Sunday but it was just a regular NHL game in Hartford. It just happened to be the last. I think there is a flaw in the Whaler fan law that all of Hartford hockey should remember this game.
Have you seen the game? 15,635 fans crammed in to see the final Whalers game and not one dry eye in the house that Howard Baldwin built. The fans suffer because a city and a politician let its team just walk away. Thankfully it looks like they've come to their senses now, we should celebrate that.
That last game was painful for many but who wants to relive it? We can always remember this day but it's not the game we should celebrate annually.
The Whalers may be known as the forever five hundred but they did have their high moments. Why don't we spend time remembering little Hartford taking on the titans from Boston or Montreal?
When I choose to remember the Whalers I think of three game six's. Games where Boston and Montreal were driving back to the edge of a playoff extinction, Hartford did that twice to Montreal. It very refreshing to see Montreal and Boston fans biting their nails instead of Whaler fans.
I remember a game in '87 where the Whalers clinched the Adams Division title while holding off Montreal, the Whalers were the fourth best team in the NHL that year with 40-30-7 record for 93 points.
I remember a game in March of '87 where the Bruins ran out of goalies in a 10-2 loss. The concourse within the XL Center was full of chants about the Bruins that I cannot repeat here, Whalers fans were a little cocky, a rare form indeed.
The greatest Whaler highlight is not the final game. That game is always mentioned first in by the media, it appears to be the only highlight they have.
I never saw that game until 10 years after it was played, I watched it, they Whalers won 2-1, Dineen scored and that was it. I haven't watched it since, and I don't expect to ever again.
People should watch game four in the Adams Division Semi Final in 1987. The greatest Whaler highlight of all time is Kevin Dineen blowing by Larry Robinson and beating Patrick Roy in overtime in front of a sell out crowd. Dineen beat two future hall of famers on the same play.
There aren't millions of Whaler great moments or games but there is plenty to remember instead of just the last game.
Those are the games we should remember every year not the game where Hartford's major league sports team walked out the door.