Well, well, well, well, well, well, well. If it isn’t my old friend: NHL to Kansas City rumors.
Fool me once, strike two. Fool me twice…you can’t fool me again.
I’ve seen this movie before. I can’t get my hopes up again this time. This is something that is very close to me and my family. I worked for KC’s ECHL team for five seasons. My dad has been lobbying for an NHL team in Kansas City since the 1990s when he was practically begging the city to build a new arena as Kemper Arena rapidly crumbled in the West Bottoms while comparable (or inferior) cities like Nashville, Greensboro, Columbus and Winnipeg all got expansion or relocated teams. It’s no secret that I have a personal stake in this. It’s just that I know I’m right.
But I have to remain realistic. The Coyotes are likely staying in the desert, moving to a new arena in Tempe. KC has no local money that has come forward ready to stake an NHL team here. Also, the Coyotes are fresh off a massive controversy in which they egregiously violated draft rules and paid dearly for it.
Bringing an NHL team to market is a chicken or the egg scenario. Kansas City currently does not have the infrastructure to withstand the initial demands of an NHL team. There are four year-round sheets of ice in the entire city. For reference, St. Louis has nearly three times that. You need more ice. At the very least, you need an infrastructure plan ready to go if and when a team comes to market. People need to know where to buy skates and pucks. Every season ticket holding family is a youth hockey player waiting to happen.
Logistics aside, Kansas City would be an incredible NHL town. T-Mobile Center is gently used and still a world class facility at 13 (!!!) years old. People packed in to Kemper Arena for the Blades and they currently love the Mavericks. It’s a major league city and people would go bananas for the NHL, despite our brief, disastrous history in the league.
The Scouts never had a chance here. KC didn’t get a fair shake at all in that expansion draft. The WHL was poaching NHL talent. They had upwards of 30 owners. Vegas went to the Stanley Cup Final in year one, had several all stars and their starting goalie will be a hall of famer. Seattle will likely have just as lethal a roster in year one. The Scouts won 15 games. They literally had more owners than wins.
I’m hoping we get to see it. I’m praying that this dream comes true for this city some day. We’re a sports town here and it is my dream that this city gets to finally fall in love with the league I know they will. Maybe we can hang something other than Garth Brooks banners in T-Mobile Center.