As we now know, Lamar Hunt Jr. will be the owner of the Missouri Mavericks. It’s certainly interesting. However, ownership wasn’t our greatest need in Kansas City. We had good owners for our minor league hockey team.
The one thing that Mr. Hunt has said, and he repeated it several times, is that “we need more sheets of ice in Kansas City.” He said it yesterday to Channel 41. He said it today in his press conference. He said it again to local sports talkers.
This is, by far, the most important thing Hunt said and I’m encouraged that he continued to repeat it. It shows he means it.
Hockey is not like other sports.
You’ll always attract loyal hockey nuts, like me.
You can attract new, adult hockey fans (usually because they’re close with a hockey nut)
You can attract just those who are curious
But, to grow and develop a fan base you have to get kids (and adults) to play. For those of us who have played hockey, we know. We know that once you play it, you’ll love it. I’ve known several parents who knew nothing about hockey, yet, their kids tried hockey because a friend was playing and now the whole family is a hockey family.
Hunt may be drawing from what happened in Dallas. Yes, Norm Green ripped the North Stars away from Minneapolis and that was a bad thing. However, those that operated the Dallas Stars knew they had to have more sheets of ice in the city to grow the fan base. Well, they’ve done that. And, they’ve been so successful that the 2013 #4 overall pick in the NHL draft is FROM Dallas (Seth Jones). Even during the recent press conference to announce the five AHL teams in California, Ducks President Bob Murray said there were only two high school hockey teams in the area when the Ducks franchise began. The Ducks put a premium on growing the youth game and it worked. Now, Southern California, thanks to the Ducks and Kings, has more than 50 high school hockey teams (and players who are playing in the NHL — Emerson Etem, Matt Nieto). I’ve said this all along. Those who tried to promote KC as a potential NHL town did it backward. They should have been trying to attract someone to build rinks, then started talking NHL.
What Mr. Hunt said is extremely encouraging for Kansas City hockey fans. Oh, and if anyone needs any help with WHERE these ice sheets should be, here’s a little help — current ice rinks and the giant gaping hole, which just happens to include the type of demographic youth hockey tries to attract…