What bothers me most about CHL rumors, Mavericks and hockey in KC

Today should be an interesting day for the Central Hockey League, Missouri Mavericks and hockey in Kansas City.

I think the part that bothers me most is IF the Central Hockey League folds and leaves the Mavericks in a lurch for a season, the completely uninformed local media will have a heyday. I can just hear the sports talkers now. “Well, Kansas City can’t keep another hockey team.” “Doesn’t this just show that Kansas City can’t support hockey or an NHL team.”

Let’s get something straight. Hockey teams in Kansas City have not folded. The Kansas City Blades did not fold! The entire league folded. Six IHL teams were swallowed up by the AHL. One of those teams was the Grand Rapids Griffins. Richard DeVos owns the Griffins. DeVos lives in Grand Rapids. He also owned the Blades (and Orlando Solar Bears). The AHL doesn’t allow one owner to own multiple franchises, therefore DeVos had to decide. Keep the Kansas City Blades or Orlando or keep the Grand Rapids Griffins. Easy choice there. DeVos later transferred the Griffins ownership to his son, Dan.

Rumors are the entire Central Hockey League may fold. If true, it’s certainly not the Mavericks fault. The Mavs have been a model franchise in the CHL. The Mavs ranked 19th in attendance for all minor league hockey teams. The Mavs average attendance was the highest in the CHL and higher than the average league attendance in the AHL (and well above the league-wide average attendance of the ECHL). Only four ECHL cities had a higher average attendance than the Mavs (ironically enough, three of those cities are former IHL cities).

Let’s make sure we get something straight — Kansas City has fallen victim to having hockey teams in either bad leagues (the CHL and UHL) or teams in a league that went bad (the IHL). I said over and over and over and over again that the Kansas City Sports Commission should have pushed hard to get Kansas City in the AHL. We’ve been passed over by Abbotsford and Omaha and Quad Cities and Utica and Glens Falls and Binghamton. Some of those cities lost their AHL franchise and none of them can match the Mavericks (or, heck, the Blades) average attendance.

Kansas City is a good minor league hockey market. We just need to get a franchise in a solid, stable league.

About blogger

Just a guy in KC who loves hockey. KC is a hockey town. We just don't know it, yet.
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11 Responses to What bothers me most about CHL rumors, Mavericks and hockey in KC

  1. J.F. says:

    The hot rumor is that the ECHL is going to merge with / take over the CHL. Also, Dave Andrews President / CEO of the AHL was on a podcast a few months ago expressing a desire to have west coast NHL teams have their AHL franchises closer to the NHL club. It is rumored that this will be happening for 2015-2016 season. I am not a geography major but I would think that having their AHL team in KC would be better for Vancouver, Calgary, Colorado, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Phoenix if indeed this is going to happen. I am sure that the hockey fans in KC know that the AHL is a great league but since an NHL team was “promised” anything less than NHL may just not do.

  2. blogger says:

    An AHL team would do just fine, if they played in the Independence Events Center. I think, by now, everyone knows what I knew 10 years ago — an NHL team is never going to make Sprint Center home.

  3. J.F. says:

    No way that an AHL team can make a go of it at IEC. Too small, probably need a minimum of 8K seating to make that even remotely possible.

  4. blogger says:

    That’s funny. The Texas Stars arena IS EXACTLY THE SAME! Same size, same layout, same architect. Exactly the same.

  5. Late to the party, but just to add my two cents:
    Independence Events Center officially holds approximately 5,800 for hockey.
    In 2013-14, the Mavericks averaged 5,499 fans per game (1st in the CHL).
    In 2013-14, the AHL as a league averaged 5,402 fans per game.
    14 of the 30 teams had an attendance average higher than league average and the Mavericks average. The Mavs would be fifteenth out of 30 in the AHL, and would marginally drive up the league average RIGHT NOW. The Mavs could have the potential to be 12th in the AHL with a sell out every night. Sell outs or near sell outs mean higher demand, higher ticket prices, more revenue, etc.
    Compare that to the relocated team playing in Glen Falls, NY this year. They play in the Glen Falls Civic Center, with only about 4,800 permanent seats and about 1,000 for standing room. Or the Hartford team that play in a 15,000+ seat arena and averaged 4,071 fans for a middle of the road team.
    The AHL can work at IEC.

  6. blogger says:

    Leave it to Flubber to cut through the BS and continue, like me, to inform the uninformed masses. Well done.

    I’ll give you another example. The Utica Comets play in an arena that seats 3,800 people and draw 3,400.

    The AHL would work just fine at the IEC. It would have worked just fine in Kemper, too. Too bad the KC Sports Commission made the conscience decision to NEVER pursue the AHL. We could have the franchises that are in Utica or Binghamton or OKC or Abbotsford or Glens Falls in Kemper right now.

  7. Still Like the Mavs... But says:

    We were happy suite holders at the IEC for the last 2 years and enjoyed the Mavericks games. We brought many first time hockey folks, as well as some charities. For the upcoming season, our suite price was raised by $1,500.00 and now the CHL is down to 7 teams. No we will not be renewing. I wrote to the City about this, as they are supposed to be the ones controlling the pricing structure for the suites and not the Mavericks and they never replied.

    7 teams in the league and 6 make it to the playoffs? Sound like a money making dream to me. Hope they can merge with another league and make a go of it, with or without us. KC still has many good Hockey Fans.

  8. Wayne Anderson says:

    You guys in KC should really lobby for an NHL team in Kansas City! I’m writing from Winnipeg, and we were fortunate to get a second chance, which we did when NHL hockey returned here in 2011. The support here has never been better! Try getting a ticket for a game or a season’s ticket package now! You just can’t as there is now a waiting list of at least 10,000 waiting for season’s tickets to open up!
    Atlanta had 2 chances at the NHL and they both failed! The Flames were a good team, but had lack of support, and they ended up moving to Calgary, Alberta, where they’re getting a round of support and have won a Stanley Cup. Now that was 25 years ago, but the team is still there, and the Thrashers didn’t last due to poor ownership and ended up moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where they have strong ownership and support. I heard rumors that there may be another group in Atlanta that wants to bring NHL back there! No, no, no!! Atlanta doesn’t deserve it! They’ve already proven that they’re not a hockey town. So, now Kansas City, it’s totally up to you! Quebec City, is most likely to return in the future, as they’re new building is under construction there. More likely than a 2nd team in Toronto, as I doubt that will ever happen, as you have 5 other teams within driving distance of Toronto, most notably Buffalo. The NHL wants to put 2 teams out in the Western Conference, so for the Pacific Division, Seattle makes sense, as it fits with having cities of Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (San Francisco Bay Area), Phoenix (now Arizona), Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. So now, with the Central Division you have Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Colorado(Denver), and Winnipeg. Now you need a another team in the Central Division, and Kansas City fits right in there with them, the only other city that would make sense is Milwaukee, but KC has the edge because the have an NHL-ready facility that is ready and waiting. But I’m very surprised that the league is seriously looking at Las Vegas for expansion. That I feel would be a total disaster for the NHL, and why it would be KC’s chance to seize and prove to the NHL and the other leagues that the city is not a “one-trick pony”! After all, didn’t the NHL try Atlanta twice? KC lost the Scouts 40 years ago, and it’s still a bad city for a hockey team? Really? Folks, that was 40 years ago! Let that moniker go, and stop branding yourself as a bad sports town! It’s high time someone, or some group from KC finally step up, and stand up, and let Gary Bettman and the NHL know that KC deserves a second chance at the NHL! Plus, KC has a chance to develop great city rivalries with the cities that I have mentioned above, as I’m sure there’s a lot of Blues, Blackhawks fans alike in KC! All KC ownership would then have to do is market there team into neighboring towns, cities, and States around them besides the Kansas City area, like Topeka, Salinas, and then market the team in Western Missouri, the State of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Market to that large area and develop a fan base which will reach thousands of people in those areas! The Winnipeg Jets, for example have done that, and they have the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, plus the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota that they reach out to! Yes, the Jets have season tickets holders from the States! So, yes, hockey can work in KC if it’s done right. Maybe the Scouts or some other team name can come up, but there you have it KC. All you need is an owner who is positive and has some confidence to convince the league that KC is going to work! And develop a fan base which will support a KC NHL based team that they can call their own! It’s about time, and the time has come! The league needs a team in the Central Division, and KC has the Sprint Center! Where else is the league going to go? You really believe that Las Vegas is the answer? No. I believe Kansas City is! That is where the 32nd team should go. Period!

  9. blogger says:

    Kansas City has an NHL-ready arena? First I’ve heard of it. [insert sarcasm]

    The difference between Winnipeg and KC is that Winnipeg has David Thompson. We got no one like that. Period. End of story. End of discussion.

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