Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NHL thinking about Seattle for expansion. Kansas City? Not so much.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

A story out Wednesday in the Kansas City Business Journal starts off by mentioning that Kansas City is rumored to be part of the National Hockey League's expansion plans, and then spends the rest of the article refuting the possibility.
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Expansion talk is hot, relatively speaking, in Seattle. A TV station up there has a report based on unnamed sources that says suits at the NHL think Seattle might be ripe for the league's 31st franchise. Seattle spent most of this year angling to lure the NBA's Sacramento Kings to the Emerald City's proposed new arena to replace the departed SuperSonics, but then that blew up in the city's face. The NHL denied that it's trying to get a team in Seattle but has apparently acknowledged in the past that the Pacific Northwest might be a suitable home for professional hockey.

Expansion talk is not hot in Kansas City. Nor is relocation talk. Kansas City couldn't land the Pittsburgh Penguins back when the Sprint Center was brand-new, and since then the city hasn't come up in any meaningful discussions when teams like the Atlanta Thrashers actually move. There was also the strange case of the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that was inexplicably moved from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996 to mild fanfare before its old owner went bankrupt in 2009 and handed the team over to the NHL. The NHL fought hard to keep the team there despite limited fan interest and finally found an owner last month.

Hockey boosters in Kansas City, the ones who exist, wondered why the city wasn't going after the Coyotes. Mayor Sly James doused the idea of going after a team like the Coyotes, saying the idea of bringing the franchise here was built on lousy financial thinking and could have turned the Sprint Center's operational profit into the red.

But more to the point (which the Business Journal notes) is the fact that there's no known ownership group locally that's trying to bring a team here. Nor does anyone outside of Kansas City want to spend money to bring hockey to the Plains. The last person who did called himself "Boots" and is doing time at the federal correctional facility in Lompoc, California, for bilking investors. So in the end, what was true for Kansas City's hockey prospects in 2006 is still true today.

For now and into the foreseeable future, the most exposure that Kansas City and pro hockey will get together is the viral video from over the weekend of a fan clad in a Missouri Mavericks hoodie jiggling his ample belly at Kauffman Stadium for television audiences all over the country.


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