After many years of periodically writing a blog about hockey in Kansas City, I’ve decided to close this blog.
Years ago, the Kansas City Star started covering the proposed downtown arena and the “promise” of an NHL franchise. I knew, from the very beginning, claims that the downtwon arena would be the home of an NHL (or NBA) franchise were complete nonsense.
The history of how NHL franchises relocated didn’t match with how AEG & Kay Barnes were trying to attract a team. How Gary Bettman operates the NHL didn’t match with AEG/Kay Barnes’ claims. It all didn’t make any sense to me and Star was swallowing it hook, line and sinker. It was so frustrating. So, I started blogging about it.
Since that time, I’ve written several other posts as it related to hockey in KC:
-Mayor Sly James saying “they” told him not to pursue the Arizona Coyotes…never actually saying who “they” were. Then, spouting some nonsense about the Coyotes not being very good, as if that matters.
-Proving the dog and pony show of giving KCMO a giant revenue sharing check, like in Happy Gilmore, is silly when the Power & Light district costs the city $15M per year.
-I’ve advocated for UMKC to have an NCAA Division 1 hockey team. It’s obvious the basketball program is a failure. There is too much competition for NCAA Division 1 basketball in Kansas City. Even with UMKC’s win over Missouri this year, attendance and interest have not increased. I respect Stan Durwood’s vision to create “Kansas City’s team”, but Kansas City already has THREE teams (KU, KSU and Mizzou). Creating “Kansas City’s team” should have been something unique, like Division 1 ice hockey (you know, like Omaha did, quite successfully I might add).
Penn State recently started a Division 1 hockey team and the team/arena is already profitable.
The solution for mothballed Kemper is simple. UMKC could put a Division 1 hockey team in the arena, draw 3,000 – 5,000, maybe more, fans and Kemper could be used for ice sports when UMKC isn’t practicing. Yes, it would be expensive to maintain ice in a such a large building, but we’re only talking about September to March and the costs could be offset through charging the local youth hockey association for ice time.
-I once received a “Best of..” from the Pitch and for that I’m thankful. I’m surprised anyone even read this blog (the visits show no one really is) much less thought it was worth reading.
And, finally, the post I’m most proud of, being the first one to write publicly that Pepsi Ice Midwest was not returning as an ice rink when others in the local media were reprinting lies from the former owners (lies like “we’re the only privately-held ice rink in Kansas City” when the ice rink in Shawnee has ALWAYS been privately owned). I’m always fascinated when people say, “Well, it doesn’t seem like hockey will work in Kansas City. Look that rink in Overland Park closed.” People who say that (one of them was a politician who ran, unsuccessfully, for County Commissioner) are clueless. The ice rink in Shawnee has been open for nearly 20 years. The people who operated the rink in Overland Park were idiots and should have just sold it to someone who could operate a rink properly. When you hire a Rink Manager who doesn’t know how to drive a Zamboni, you don’t know what you are doing. They’re lack of business sense showed when their new venture in that same building failed within eight months.
Hockey in Kansas City is in a much better place than it’s been in many, many years.
The Missouri Mavericks are a strong minor league franchise in a stable, established league. Having a minor league hockey team in a stable, established league is something that, quite honestly, Kansas City has never had. The IHL was great, but not very stable. The CHL was constantly in thin ice. The UHL was a joke.
The Mavericks now have local ownership.
The youth hockey leagues will soon be under one umbrella, removing the divisive and toxic competition which was promoted and encouraged by the former owners of Ice Midwest.
Mr. Hunt has said he wants more ice rinks in Kansas City. The plan for that hasn’t been revealed, but it sounds like it will be soon.
The ice sheet at Burlington Creek offers pond hockey every night and it has been very popular.
The outdoor Pavilion at KC Ice Center in Shawnee is one of the best additions to the hockey community in Kansas City in a long, long time.
I sometimes get e-mails that ask, “What can be done to make hockey more popular in Kansas City?” It’s simple. Go to Mavericks games. Go ice skate at the local rinks. If you’ve always wanted to try hockey, try it.
If you’ve never played, try pond hockey. Line Creek has a beginner night on Tuesday nights and Independence has a beginner league on Friday nights.
With hockey in such a good place in Kansas City, it’s time to bid farewell. There will be no more posts to this blog. I’ll be closing the Twitter account. I’m sure I’ll pop up writing about hockey in Kansas City in some other form. But it won’t be “semi” anonymously (how can someone be a very obvious Buffalo Sabres fan in Kansas City and be “anonymous”? There are like 3 of us in town.)