SBD/March 29, 2013/Franchises

Howard Baldwin Discusses Moving On Without A Role With The AHL Connecticut Whale

Whalers Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO Howard Baldwin said that he believes people "at the state level" discouraged Global Spectrum and other companies recently bidding to run XL Center from working with him with the AHL Connecticut Whale because his company "still owes the state money associated with snow-removal costs from the 2011 outdoor hockey festival he staged at Rentschler Field," according to Paul Doyle of the HARTFORD COURANT. Baldwin and his son, Howard Jr., said that they have been "paying back creditors, but the debt to the state lingers and they believe that's the reason they won't have a role." Baldwin: "We made mistakes, absolutely. But we've tried to work with people. Both city and state." The Whale's lease with the XL Center under Baldwin "called for a $25,000 a game rent, the highest in the AHL." When the Capital Region Development Authority corresponded with the AHL in February, the league noted Baldwin's lease was "not sustainable" and was one of the most "onerous" in the league. Baldwin said of running the team, "It was harder than I thought, I wouldn't kid you. But we were starting to make it work. The revenues were going up, the interest was going up." He added, "We didn't do everything right. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably say to hell with the team and I'd just do the winterfest and the summerfest and that will be that. But we felt that hockey might be on its way out, based on what we were being told. So I really wanted to give the team a try." Baldwin's son said that the company "could have survived with a more favorable lease, even with the loss from the outdoor event" (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/29).
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