Franchise relocation -- no more former WHA teams
When the discusson of an NHL team relocating to Kansas City comes up, inevitably Hartford, Quebec City and Winnipeg enter the discussion. "Those teams moved, why wouldn't a current NHL team move?", one might say.
Anyone that says that knows nothing about the history of the NHL and its cantakorous relationship with the former WHA.
The WHA, from 1972 to 1979, was a legitimate threat to the NHL. It was not like the WFL or USFL in football. These teams were stocked full of talent, offered multi-million dollar salaries (unheard of at the time in the NHL) and did not recognize the reserve clause, which made the league very appealing to NHL stars like Bobby Hull and Rick Dudley (oh, how my heart broke when Rick Dudley left the Buffalo Sabres for the Cincinnati Stingers).
The WHA also scouted internationally at a time when the NHL was made up of mostly Canadian and French-Canadian players.
The multi-million dollar salaries were the biggest source of contention. NHL owners weren't ready to offer that kind of money to Canadian farm boys.
For the first several years, the NHL owners did nothing...assuming the WHA would fold. When it didn't fold, merger negotations began.
In 1979, the NHL absorbed four of the remaining six teams (buying out the other two).
The old guard NHL owners never wanted to be in Hartford, Quebec City and Winnipeg in the first place. After each former WHA franchise was sold, the NHL didn't stand in the way of moves to Raleigh, Denver and Phoenix -- expanding the NHL's US footprint and washing the league of WHA remnants.
The 27 cities that comprise the current NHL were all hand-picked markets. The NHL chose to go into Columbus, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, Anaheim, Nashville, St. Paul and Ottawa through recent expansion. Other markets were considered at the time each expansion franchise was chosen, including Oklahoma City.
These cities were strategically chosen and the NHL won't quickly abandon them like they did the cities that came to the NHL through a rival league.
You see...bringing up the relocation of former WHA cities is not relevant when discussing the potential relocation of a current team to KC.
The most recent franchise move that is relevant is the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas. That move appeased both a greedy owner and a league that wanted to enter a burgeoning metro area, Dallas-Fort Worth. And, in the end, the NHL realized the error of not having a team in the one of its best U.S. metro areas and gave Minneapolis-St. Paul another opportunity to get into the NHL.