The Hartford Whalers Booster Club (HWBC) was founded in 1972, almost as soon as the team was created. There were eleven original members and for many years, membership hovered around between 400 and 600, although in the 1987-88 the club broke the 1000 member-mark.
Back in the World Hockey Association days, most teams found that they had to rely on volunteer help for many of their tasks. Due to this, the Booster Club developed a close relationship with the team. Club members helped with seasons tickets, mailings, promotional handouts and other office work. Perhaps the most famous incident occurred when the roof collapsed on the Whalers’ arena in 1978. Members of the club reported to the office and worked over 24 hours straight, reorganizing all the season tickets for the Springfield Civic Center. The members then in turn, became the core of the now famous “91 Club”, driving up Interstate 91 to the games in Springfield until the Whalers returned to Hartford.
In January 1900, the Hartford Whalers Bestowed a great honor on their Booster Club when they raised a Hartford Whalers Booster Club banner in the Civic Center. After the final game the banner was taken down along with all other Whaler items on display in the Coliseum. Presently, some of the Whalers banners and items are returning to the Coliseum, but we are working to establish the Whalers’ proper place in the history of Hartford.
The Booster Club currently holds meetings and social events to foster awareness of Hartford’s place in NHL history and to improve fan knowledge about hockey in general. The Booster Club continues to financially support non-profit charities which the Whalers supported during their tenure in Hartford. HWBC’s biggest fundraiser throughout the year is the annual, April FANniversary. April 13, 1997 was the last NHL hockey game played by the Whalers in Hartford. The Hartford Whalers Booster Club has also established through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving a scholarship fund which awards a $1,000 scholarship annually to a Connecticut graduating senior who will continue to play hockey in college.