Ice Skates, Harpoons and Hockey

Today is a happy yet ultimately sad day in Connecticut History. On this date in 1986 Hartford hosted the annual National Hockey League All-Star Game. This was when Hartford still had its beloved (at least in my opinion) Hartford Whalers playing NHL hockey here in little old Connecticut. Alas, the Whalers left town in 1997, bound for the hockey hotbed of North Carolina. (Take note of my sarcasm please.) The Whalers were a huge part of my youth. Inspiring in me a love of playing and watching hockey that still goes on today. I even have one of my old Whaler banners hanging in my son’s room and I’m trying to teach him to hum “Brass Bonanza” (awesome song, listen!!)each time he scores a goal when we play street hockey together in our driveway……But I digress.

In the spirit of this momentous date I decided to see if there are any notable inventions from Connecticut that have something to do with hockey. From the Union Hardware Company of Torrington we have an improved ice skate dating to 1931:

Ice Skate Circa 1931

There is also the Water Retaining Recreational Structure for Swimming Pools and the Like (read: “backyard ice-rink”) from Coleco Industries in 1966:

Water Retaining Structure

Now the Whalers had an cool logo that they wore on their early jerseys,(when they were known as the New England Whalers) featuring a harpoon of the type used in Connecticut’s past when whaling was one of the state’s leading industries.

So naturally we have some harpoon inventions from Connecticut:

Oliver Allen, Norwich, 1848

H.W. Harkness, Bristol, 1858

The Whalers are alive and well in the hearts and minds of many hockey nuts in Connecticut today. We even have a couple Whalers souvenirs as part of the museum’s collection. Someday maybe NHL hockey will return to Hartford……:) Occasionally I see someone wearing a retro Whalers hat or jersey which makes me smile and start humming Brass Bonanza. I think I still have a T-Shirt from that All Star game I bought back in 1986. Now that I think about it, maybe it will fit my son…….! Long Live the Whale!!!


3 thoughts on “Ice Skates, Harpoons and Hockey

  1. Thanks for the roundup of Whalers memories (and inventions!) I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since they left. That hole has never been filled. Hartford deserves batter.
    Long live the Whale.

  2. Thanks for the info. I came to find it after seeing a pair of skates for sale at They were the oldest pair of hockey skates I have ever seen. I was going to bid on them but after seeing you posting I think that you should be the one that gets them. I am a hockey fan an ex-player, but first and foremost a lover of the history of hockey. I am not affiliated with the website that I mentioned. Just thought that this might help heal a wound that has been open for a while.

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