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Hartford Athletic rolls out team logo, merchandise sales

BY Joe Cooper

12/6/2018
Photo | Hartford Athletic
Photo | Hartford Athletic
The Hartford Athletic team logo.
The Hartford Athletic soccer club ended months of anticipation Thursday morning unveiling a new blue and green team logo, honing the colors used by the Hartford Whalers and Yard Goats.

The logo unveiling is tied with the team's merchandise and apparel launch, which are now available online. The team on Thursday also released a video featuring local players, fans and coaches.

"We are proud to unveil our crest, which represents both a nod to our heritage and a symbol of our aspirations," said Bruce Mandell, CEO and chairman of Hartford Sports Group (HSG), the three-man investor group overseeing team operations.

Over the coming weeks, the Athletic will announce player signings and begin selling game tickets for its inaugural season in the division II United Soccer League. Details about membership pricing and benefits are available online.

Team officials recently told Hartford Business Journal they have signed 15 players, including several international athletes, and 18 front-office staffers. Team offices are situated in Hartford's Colt building overlooking the Athletic's home field at historic Dillon Stadium.

Mandell recently said the ongoing renovations at Dillon Stadium, which suffered a setback in September, remain on budget and are on pace to be completed in mid-May. The Athletic will begin its inaugural season on the road in April.

The Athletic last month held a groundbreaking ceremony at the stadium.

Mandell also said HSG is exploring opportunities to attract professional rugby and lacrosse teams to Hartford to make better use of the stadium, which is being upgraded through a $10 million state Bond Commission commitment. The funding is for a new, state-of-the-art turf field and other improvements to nearby Colt Park.

However, before HSG begins its inaugural season in April, a dark cloud must be lifted from the project.

In late November, the Hartford Courant reported that Mandell is the subject of a State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) investigation. The bipartisan commission is investigating whether Mandell violated a state law, which prohibits state contractors from donating to political parties, by contributing $13,500 to the Connecticut Republican Party and its gubernatorial candidate, Bob Stefanowski.

If SEEC determines the campaign contributions were illegal, the Courant reported, HSG could be prohibited from signing a contract to lease Dillon Stadium from the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), which is overseeing the $10 million, state-financed renovation of the city-owned facility.

Kevin Reynolds, an attorney for HSG, says the investor group self-reported the campaign contributions in early November for transparency.

"The essence of our deal and contract terms are with the city of Hartford," Reynolds told Hartford Business Journal in a statement. "We self-reported out of an abundance of caution and have asked the SEEC to expedite the process so that this matter does not impede the progress at Dillon Stadium."