State news

Minor leagues helping Hartford re-establish sports identity

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Two decades after losing the NHL's Whalers, its only major-league sports franchise, the city of Hartford is experiencing an athletic revival by embracing the minor leagues.

Construction has begun just south of downtown on a $10 million project to rebuild an old football stadium into a modern soccer pitch that will serve as home in the spring for a new professional team, Hartford Athletic. It will be part of the USL, a tier below Major League Soccer.

That project follows the development north of downtown of the $70 million Dunkin Donuts Park, the 6,100-seat baseball stadium that opened in 2017 as home to the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, which moved from nearby New Britain.

That park drew an Eastern League best 408,942 fans this past summer, selling out 47 times.

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