Column: Why not Kansas City for an NHL Team?
Written by Aubreigh Heck on April 5, 2023
As a hockey fan in Kansas, life can be boring.
I moved to Kansas for college from Las Vegas, Nevada, where my home city had been blessed with a National Hockey League expansion team in 2017. For those who don’t know, the Vegas Golden Knights quickly became one of the best expansion teams to ever exist, making the Stanley Cup Final in their first year.
I could go on and on about the Golden Knights, and if you ever see me in person please feel free to ask me about them if you need to kill a couple hours. My main point for mentioning them is to ask, why isn’t there more of that in the midwest? The closest NHL team to Salina is the Colorado Avalanche (based off of the site of their arena). Why did the league completely overlook the rest of the midwest when it came to expanding?
A lot of hockey fans give the reason that,
“No one in Kansas likes hockey. There’s not really a chance to grow the game out there.” Which would make sense if the Kansas City Mavericks and the Wichita Thunder vanished into thin air, but unfortunately for those hockey fans they did not.
Also, did anyone think hockey in the desert could work? Obviously the Arizona Coyotes are an exception, because that organization hasn’t been doing too hot lately. But when the league announced the expansion to Vegas, there were articles and tweets about how it was a bad idea to put another team in the desert.
Since the Knights obviously proved that wrong (also by consistently being voted as having one of the best ice surfaces to play on by NHL players), why not the midwest?
Of course I know that Kansas City has already had a chance in the NHL with the Kansas City Scouts. A little background on the Scouts, they existed for two years in 1974-1976 before relocating to Colorado to become the Colorado Rockies (not the baseball team). The Rockies then relocated to New Jersey to become the current New Jersey Devils.
While the Scouts were in Kansas City they shared an arena with the Kansas City Kings, the National Basketball Association team that was formerly in Kansas City (now the Sacramento Kings). During the team’s two years, they performed terribly. The most wins they ever had in a season was 15 (out of 80 games). The team relocated after their second season due to their terrible records and poor attendance to games.
Sure, the NHL’s dip into the city of fountains didn’t go great the first time. But that was for two years in the 70s. Kansas City shouldn’t be punished for how it performed in the 70s, especially when the Winnipeg Jets got a second chance.
Listen, I understand that getting an NHL team in Kansas City is a long shot. I know that there are two ECHL teams near Salina I could turn my attention to, but it’s not the same. I truly believe that the NHL will come back to Kansas City at some point (the Coyotes do need a new home arena…), and my life will be complete.