Connecticut officials have announced a multiyear deal between Global Spectrum, the new operator of the XL Center in downtown Hartford, and Madison Square Garden officials for the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League to continue playing there.

The deal is the lynchpin of a 10-year agreement between Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum and the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority to manage the building, formerly the Hartford Civic Center. State officials expect Global Spectrum’s capital infusion to enable them to bond between $16 million and $30 million for improvements to the 40-year-old building.

According to contract terms, the team will play at the XL Center for the 2013-2016 seasons, and a provision could extend the term for an additional two years. 

The CRDA’s Board of Directors will vote on the final contract with the AHL team at their March 21 meeting.

The Whale, farm team of the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, have played in Hartford since 1997, when the NHL’s Whalers moved to North Carolina.

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