For sports fans in Kansas City, the question of whether or not their city has a hockey team may come up frequently. And for good reason – after all, there are plenty of other major league sports teams here, including those for football, baseball, and soccer.
If you’re curious as to whether or not Kansas City has its own hockey team, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explore the history of professional ice hockey in Kansas City, current efforts to bring a team to the city, and what sports fans can do to get involved.
“Hockey is more than just a sport – it’s a way of life for many fans. And for those in Kansas City, the absence of a local team can be a real sore spot. But don’t give up hope just yet – there may be some exciting opportunities on the horizon.”
Whether you’re a longtime resident of Kansas City or simply a passionate hockey fan looking to learn more about the state of the game in this part of the country, this post will provide you with valuable insights and information that you won’t want to miss.
History of Hockey in Kansas City
Early Beginnings of Hockey in Kansas City
The history of ice hockey in Kansas City dates back to the early 1900s when the game was first introduced by Canadian immigrants. The sport gained popularity quickly, and by 1927, Kansas City had built its first indoor rink, the Polar Palace Ice Rink. This facility sparked a significant surge in interest in hockey among locals, leading to the formation of several amateur teams.
As the popularity of hockey continued to grow, it led to more organized leagues and tournaments. In the late 1940s, the Amateur Hockey Association of Kansas City became the governing body for amateur hockey in the city. By the 1950s, there were over ten teams playing at various levels, from youth to adult.
Professional Hockey in Kansas City in the 1970s and 80s
In 1974, professional hockey came to Kansas City with the establishment of the Kansas City Scouts. The team was part of the National Hockey League (NHL) and played their home games at Kemper Arena. However, after just two seasons, financial troubles forced the Scouts to move to Colorado and become the Colorado Rockies.
Kansas City would not see another professional hockey team until the 1981-82 season when the Kansas City Comets joined the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). Although the Comets played soccer, they also included a halftime mini-game on ice using a small rink set up on the field. This helped rekindle interest in ice hockey in the area.
In 1988, an effort was made to return NHL hockey to Kansas City. A group of investors purchased the then-struggling New Jersey Devils with the intention of relocating them to Kansas City. However, these plans never materialized as the NHL vetoed the move. The team remained in New Jersey and eventually went on to win three Stanley Cup championships.
Despite various efforts over the years to bring professional hockey back to Kansas City, it has not happened yet. However, there is still a love for the sport in the city, with several amateur teams continuing to play today.
“Kansas City fans deserve a great product; they are passionate about their sports.” -Clark Hunt
While Kansas City has had its ups and downs when it comes to professional hockey, it remains an essential part of the city’s sports history. With its strong grassroots support and enthusiastic fan base, it continues to be a promising location for future expansion or relocation of an NHL franchise.
Current Status of Professional Hockey in Kansas City
Kansas City is a major sports market but it currently does not have a professional hockey team. The city has had a tumultuous relationship with professional hockey, with several failed attempts to bring an NHL team to the area. However, there are still ongoing efforts to establish a professional hockey presence in Kansas City. In this article, we will explore the current arena availability, previous unsuccessful attempts, existing minor league hockey teams, and potential for future professional hockey in Kansas City.
Arena Availability for a Professional Hockey Team
The Sprint Center is a state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena located in downtown Kansas City. The arena seats roughly 18,000 fans for basketball and concerts and could accommodate a professional hockey team as well. Built-in 2007, the arena hosts numerous events throughout the year, including college basketball tournaments, concerts, and indoor football games.
The other potential location for a professional hockey team would be the Municipal Auditorium, which was once home to the Kansas City Blades minor league team from 1990-2001 and also hosted the Kansas City Scouts expansion team during their inaugural season in 1974-75. However, although the venue underwent a $20 million renovation recently, it may no longer meet NHL standards.
Failed Attempts to Bring an NHL Team to Kansas City
“Kansas City would be a great NHL market,” says former Pittsburgh Penguins coach and Flyers general manager Roger Neilson, who owned the Kansas City Blades team before its move to Victoria, British Columbia in 2001. “It’s an excellent hockey town.”
In the past two decades, there have been multiple failed attempts to bring an NHL franchise to Kansas City. Back in 2007, Las Vegas developer Chris Milam began plans to bring an NHL team to Kansas City, but the deal never progressed. In 2011, Michael Illitch, who owned the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, expressed interest in bringing a team to Kansas City, stating that it was “a great sports town” with untapped potential. However, those plans also never materialized.
Current Minor League Hockey Teams in Kansas City
The Kansas City Mavericks are currently the only minor league hockey team based in Kansas City. They play in the ECHL and have been active since the 2009-10 season. Although their attendance is decent, averaging around 5000 fans per game, they still suffer from financial issues. According to The Kansas City Star, the Mavericks’ owner Lamar Hunt Jr., has lost money on the team every year since he took over operations in 2015.
Potential for Future Professional Hockey in Kansas City
“In markets like Seattle or Quebec City, you’re talking about one team bolstering an already strong regional offering. Conversely, placing a team in Hartford, Cleveland, or Kansas City — cities long due an NHL franchise, respectively — would open up entirely new consumer bases.” -Jim Parsons
In recent years, there has been growing optimism surrounding future professional hockey in Kansas City. Jim Parsons, writer for NBC Sports, named Kansas City as one of three U.S. cities deserving of an NHL team in his article “Three Cities That Deserve an NHL Franchise Next”, citing the city’s passionate fanbase and excellent arena infrastructure as key reasons why it deserves a second chance at an NHL franchise. Additionally, during the pandemic pause last year, St. Louis Blues Vice President of Business Operations Dave Checketts mentioned Kansas City as having “good bones to become an NHL market”. There have also been rumblings that the NHL could expand in the near future, potentially providing Kansas City with an opportunity to finally secure a franchise.
While professional hockey has not yet taken root in Kansas City, there is still significant potential for it to do so. With a state-of-the-art arena, strong local fanbase, and growing support from those within the hockey community, it will be interesting to see if Kansas City finally gets its chance at an NHL team or if existing minor league teams can grow into more prosperous ventures.
Potential for an NHL Team in Kansas City
As a sports-loving city, Kansas City has been eager to secure a professional hockey team for quite some time. While the area has struggled with attracting major league sport teams, the potential of having an NHL team is pretty high due to various reasons.
Population and Demographics in Kansas City
Kansas City metropolitan area is one of the largest population centers in the United States that does not have a major league sports franchise domestically. The area has more than 2 million people, including suburbs over two states- Missouri and Kansas. Furthermore, the demographic makeup of KC should fit well NHL’s target audience. According to Nielsen research, Kansas City ranks as the 29th biggest media market in the US.
Arena Capacity and Upgrades Needed for an NHL Team
The Sprint Center Arena located in downtown Kansas City would make an excellent home arena for an NHL team. With a capacity of around 17,500 seats for hockey games, it could create a perfect atmosphere to support a new team. Although the arena might need few upgrades, these do not require any significant financial burden on the team owners or taxpayers like building from scratch.
Potential Ownership Groups for an NHL Team in Kansas City
A serious group of interested investors called “Kansas City Power Group” was established several years ago just near existing arenas such as Sprint Center and the T-Mobile Center by Lamar Hunt Jr., whose family owns the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. However, they faced difficulties trying to bring a team into the city without guaranteeing sellout crowds, sponsorship involveent or financing plans. Furthermore, there are also rumors of other ownership groups looking to invest in bringing an NHL team to Kansas City.
Competition from Other Markets for an NHL Expansion Team
The demand for new major league sports teams has grown tremendously in North America over the past few years, and it seems that every sizeable metropolitan area wants to franchise. Giving out a brand-new expansion team is expensive, so several cities are expected to compete with Kansas City for a possible NHL expansion. Cities such as Quebec, Seattle, Houston, Portland, Las Vegas Edmonton have currently expressed interest in bringing home NHL franchises into their respective markets.
“Kansas City would be a terrific place for NHL hockey,” -Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner.
All things considered, it’s clear that there is potential for professional hockey in Kansas City. The city should keep being aggressive at advertising its viability, even in competition with other arena-seeking metro areas. Overall this could mean that the capital of Missouri state remains hopeful to draw one of the few open spots for domestic sports company and bring greater economic impact to the area.
Local Hockey Leagues and Teams in Kansas City
When it comes to professional hockey teams, the answer is no. Unfortunately, Kansas City does not have an NHL team at the moment. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy hockey through local amateur adult and youth programs.
Amateur Adult Hockey Leagues in Kansas City
Kansas City has a thriving amateur adult hockey community with multiple leagues for players of all skill levels. One of the most popular options is the Midwest Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA), which hosts tournaments and offers league play for over 1500 adult players from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Other adult hockey organizations include the Kansas City Fighting Squirrels and the Kansas City Sting.
“Adult leagues give people a chance to keep playing the sport they love without having to be a former college player or anything like that,” says David Pfenninger, commissioner of the MAHA. -The Kansas City Star
Youth Hockey Programs in Kansas City
The Kansas City Youth Hockey Association (KCYHA) serves as the main organization for youth hockey in the greater metropolitan area. They offer instructional clinics, recreational leagues, and competitive travel teams for kids ages four through eighteen. Additionally, other youth hockey organizations such as the Carriage Club Flames and Line Creek Figure Skating Club also provide programming options for young hockey enthusiasts.
“We just want to create a fun atmosphere where kids can develop a lot of good life skills – hard work, dedication, discipline…That’s what this game gives you.” -Joe Pavelski, Professional Ice Hockey Player
High School Hockey Teams in Kansas City
Although ice hockey is not sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, there are still several high school hockey teams in the Kansas City area. The Mid-America High School Hockey League is one of the main organizations that oversees these teams, which include Olathe Northwest, Shawnee Mission East, St. James Academy, and more.
“High school hockey does not have any rivalries with other schools or anything like that, we just go out and play, but it is still really fun and competitive to be a part of.” -Brandon McCuen, Captain of the Lee’s Summit North High School Hockey Team
College Hockey Programs in Kansas City
Kansas City may not currently have an NCAA Division I ice hockey program, but the city does have club teams at local colleges such as the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and the University of Kansas (KU). These clubs compete against other collegiate level clubs throughout the region and enjoy strong support from their respective fan bases.
“Playing for our KU hockey team has been the best experience of my life…It gives you opportunities and memories you will never forget.” -Landon Hummel, Junior Forward for the University of Kansas Club Hockey Team
So while Kansas City may not have a professional NHL team, there are still plenty of options for individuals of all ages to get involved with hockey both on and off the ice within the community.
Where to Watch Hockey Games in Kansas City
Kansas City is home to several great sports bars and arenas that host local hockey games. Whether you’re looking for a spot to catch the latest NHL game or support your local team, there are plenty of options available.
Major Sports Bars in Kansas City with Hockey Games
If you’re searching for a lively atmosphere to watch the big game while enjoying good food and drinks, here are some top sports bars in the area:
- The Blue Line Sports Bar and Grill: This sports bar has become a fan favorite among locals due to its cozy ambiance and excellent service. You can enjoy cheap beer and fantastic appetizers as you watch your favorite hockey games on one of the many HD TVs located throughout the venue.
- Twin Peaks Restaurant: Voted as the best “Hometown Hottie Hangout” by Maxim Magazine, Twin Peaks Restaurant is known for its scenery as much as its food. Featuring an extensive beer list and an upscale tavern menu, this sports bar offers a fantastic experience for those who prefer a bit of extra flair with their games.
- Nick and Jake’s: Known for its award-winning cuisine and expansive craft beers list, Nick and Jake’s features a classy yet relaxed vibe perfect for watching hockey and other sporting events. With multiple locations in the area, it’s easy to find one near you no matter where you live.
“Watching a hockey game without a cold drink in your hand is like trying to skate without ice.” – Unknown
Kansas City Area Arenas That Host Local Hockey Games
In addition to sports bars, several arenas in Kansas City also play host to local hockey games, including:
- Silverstein Eye Centers Arena: Home to the Kansas City Mavericks team, Silverstein Eye Centers Arena offers an intimate experience for fans with a seating capacity of around 5,800. During game nights, this arena comes alive with enthusiastic crowds cheering on their team as they take on their opponents.
- Vivint Smart Home Arena: Located in Independence, Vivint Smart Home Arena is another local favorite that hosts exciting hockey matches throughout the season. Whether you’re supporting your local KC Mavericks or attending other events such as concerts and basketball games, there’s always something going on at this lively venue.
- Hockey Hub: The Hockey Hub is an indoor ice rink located in Shawnee with two ice sheets that host youth and adult leagues. With affordable league fees and conveniently scheduled games, it’s easy to join a team and discover the joy of playing competitive ice hockey.
“The only reason why people go to cold places is to play in the snow or ice skate.” -Brie Larson
Whether you’re looking to watch professional hockey live or cheer on your favorite sports team at a nearby sports bar, Kansas City has what you seek. From cozy and friendly venues to larger arenas filled with adrenaline-fueled excitement, there are plenty of options available for all types of hockey and sports lovers. So why not grab some friends and head out to one of these locations to watch the next big game together?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a professional hockey team in Kansas City?
Currently, there is no professional hockey team in Kansas City. The city has long been without a team since the Scouts left in 1976. However, there have been talks of bringing a new team to the city.
Has Kansas City ever had a hockey team in the past?
Yes, Kansas City has had a hockey team in the past. The Kansas City Scouts were a professional ice hockey team that played in the NHL from 1974 to 1976. The team eventually moved to Colorado and became the Colorado Rockies.
Are there any plans to bring a hockey team to Kansas City in the future?
There have been discussions about bringing a hockey team to Kansas City, but nothing is set in stone. The city has a large and dedicated sports fan base, and many believe that a hockey team would be successful in the area. However, there are currently no concrete plans for a team.
What is the closest NHL team to Kansas City?
The closest NHL team to Kansas City is the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are about a 4-hour drive from Kansas City, making them the nearest team. However, there are also several minor league teams in the area, such as the Kansas City Mavericks and the Wichita Thunder.
Are there any notable hockey players from Kansas City?
There have been a few notable hockey players from Kansas City. Some of the most well-known include Eddie Olczyk, who played for several NHL teams and is now a broadcaster, and David Hale, who played for several NHL teams during his career.
What is the popularity of hockey in Kansas City?
Hockey is not as popular in Kansas City as other sports, such as football and baseball. However, there is still a dedicated fan base in the area, and many people are passionate about the sport. The city has also hosted several NHL games and has a strong minor league presence, which helps to keep interest in the sport alive.