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Way-back Playback: Whalers bid farewell to Hartford

Todd Warshaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

April 13, 1997 marked the end of an era in Hartford.

The Connecticut capital was the home of the Hartford Whalers since 1974, when the franchise was still a member of the World Hockey Association. The Whalers joined the NHL in 1979 and lasted 18 memorable seasons in Hartford before bidding a tearful farewell and moving south to become the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hartford hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning in their final game at XL Center (known as the Hartford Civic Center at the time) and earned a 2-1 victory, giving its loyal fans a fitting send-off in the process. Captain Kevin Dineen scored the team's final goal.

The Whalers skated around the ice saluting the fans, who stuck around long after the contest to cheer their team one last time. Players handed out equipment and pucks amid the ongoing standing ovation.

Fans saved their biggest cheer for Dineen, who was named the game's first star.

Way-back Playback: Whalers bid farewell to Hartford
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