There has been talks of the NHL returning to Kansas City, Mo. for years; could the Los Angeles Kings help make that happen?
Seeing the NHL play in Kansas City is not new, of course.
The last game there was in 2009 as the Kings faced the New York Islanders, also in an exhibition match. Plus, the New Jersey Devils were the Kansas City Scouts from 1974-76.
The town has also been the base for minor league teams like the Kansas City Blades of the International Hockey League. That team existed from 1990-2001.
The next NHL game in Kansas City comes next month.
The Kings will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a preseason match Sept. 27. The game will be held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. (The Kings are considered the home team.)
If the game is a success in terms of ticket sales and attendance, that could help the city move closer to its goal of becoming home to an NHL team once more.
Of course, while strong ticket sales could help, talk of bringing the NHL back to Kansas City are also not new.
The Sprint Center was conceived and built with an eye kept on it one day housing an NHL (or NBA) franchise. There has been talk off and on regarding that very possibility since construction began on the arena in 2006.
Over the past few years, officials have been in talks with the NHL about teams potentially relocating to Kansas City but to no avail. The lost team they lost out on was the Atlanta Thrashers, who became the rebirth of the Winnipeg Jets.
AEG was contractually obligated to find an anchor team for the arena by Oct. 2010, but their failure to do so does not really change anything.
“Language in the contract between the city and AEG states that if a team isn’t found by October 2010, the city could take back AEG’s exclusive rights to seek a major tenant for the Sprint Center. It also states the city could use arena revenues to pay for its efforts,” said Kansas City attorney Herb Kohn, according to PucKChaser.
However, as Kohn also said, “Frankly, if AEG can’t get a team, who can?”
The PucKChaser post goes to on to argue that AEG was pulling the typical political ploy — making promises it knew it could not keep to gain favor — and it is the city/voters’ own fault for falling for it.
(AEG owns the Kings.)
Furthermore, there is so much that goes into getting a team to a city: Having a team looking to move or a league looking to expand, economics, politics, the approval of the rest of the league owners, proof the market can support a team, etc.
So, could the Kings play a role in bringing the NHL back to Kansas City? Success at the box office could be used to argue that a team could prosper there, though preseason sales have yet to draw in a permanent team. The NHL may return one day, but do not expect it any time soon.