Thursday, September 21, 2006

Potential for an AHL team?

I received this comment on one of my previous posts

Before I respond, full disclosure -- I am a HUGE fan of AHL-level hockey and believe IT is the best product for our market. I believe the NHL could be successful, but the AHL is a better fit, especially considering the potential rivalries with teams in Chicago, Omaha and Des Moines.

Yea, could you focus some of your excellent coverage on the likelihood of bringing an AHL franchise to KC? What franchises are for sale? What franchises are struggling? Who could be eyeing KC? Is it even feasible so long as Paul McGannon has his heart set on the NHL?

I'd be more than happy to address this topic. Let me take the questions one at a time.

Yea, could you focus some of your excellent coverage on the likelihood of bringing an AHL franchise to KC?

As long as the Penguins arena situation is in limbo, and it will be until the Pittsburgh slots license is awarded late this year, I don't believe there will be movement toward bringing an AHL team to KC. It seems AEG wants to completely exhaust the possibility of luring the Penguins before negotiating a lease with a current AHL franchise owner.

AEG already owns an AHL team, the Manchester Monarchs. An AHL owner cannot own two franchises in the league, so there is no chance AEG purchases an AHL team for Sprint Center.

This "dual ownership" rule was the downfall of Kansas City professional hockey. When the AHL absorbed the former IHL teams, the Kansas City Blades were owned by Grand Rapids native Rich DeVos, who also owned the Grand Rapids Griffons and the arena in which the Griffons play, Van Ardel Arena. He chose, to no ones surprise, to retain the team in his home town. The Blades folded along with the IHL.

Since then there have been unforgiveable missteps like when Kevin Gray seemed to insist on local ownership in order to lure an AHL team when, most likely, at least three AHL franchises looked at KC since the IHL folded in 2001. I'd rather not talk about the misstep of bringing to Outlaws to KC. I told a former Kemper Arena employee that the UHL would NEVER work in KC. Others thought differently. Some are good at judging these things and others are good at making gloves.

What's the buzz?

I'd have more about the AHL if anything was going on. No public information has come out about KC pursuing one of the two available AHL franchises. The deadline for activating a team in the AHL for the 2007-08 season will be mid-May 2007.

What franchises are for sale?

AHL has 30 franchises available and 30 owners

I said "deadline for activating a team" above because the AHL has 30 franchises available, one for every NHL team. All 30 franchises are currently under ownership. Twenty seven teams will play in the AHL this season. Three teams are dormant.

Cleveland -- former Utah, owned by the guy who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers. Will begin play in Cleveland in 2007.

-- A franchise owned by the Edmonton Oilers and currently dormant. They played in Edmonton as the Roadrunners during the NHL lockout.
-- A franchise owned by Cincinnatian Pete Robinson -- he tried to resurrect the team as the Cincinnati Railraiders (great name), but failed to reach his goal for season ticket deposits and decided to keep the franchise dormant.

What franchises are struggling?

Oh no, you are not getting me into that trap. This is where the Star makes their mistake. The question isn't "what franchises are struggling?" it is "What franchise may be interested in relocating?"

It is very hard to identify an AHL franchise that is struggling. A franchise may have small attendance at the gate and, based on their lease agreement, NOT struggle.

To answer the question -- I have no idea, however there is franchise turnover in the AHL nearly every year.

Who could be eyeing KC?

That is tough to say. Will the team play at Sprint Center or at Kemper? If it is Kemper, no one.

If it is Sprint Center, I would think any AHL owner with a tenuous arena situation would jump at the chance to play at Sprint Center.

The question is "Does AEG want an AHL team playing in Sprint Center?"

AEG is obviously familiar with the AHL since they own the AHL franchise that led the league in attendance last season.

But, an AHL team would demand a large number of weekend dates. Does AEG want to tie up their weekend dates with AHL hockey or reserve them for these great concerts they say will no longer bypass KC?

Plus, AEG sold all those luxury boxes to KC's big fish. Did those big fish buy luxury boxes to see the KC AHL team vs. the Peoria Rivermen? I doubt it.

Is it even feasible so long as Paul McGannon has his heart set on the NHL?

Of course, if AEG can profit from the AHL. If AEG thinks they can make money filling arena dates with AHL hockey, then they could give a hoot whether McGannon is touting KC for an NHL team.

Would it be vice versa? Since McGannon seems to have the local media's ear, would McGannon and NHL21 embrace AHL hockey in KC and support it as the best possible alternative?

I would hope NHL21 would throw their full support behind an AHL team while continuing the spin "KC is a viable market for the NHL, too. Any NHL franchise that is not satisfied in their current market should look at us."

You know how I feel on this topic.

Get an AHL team to KC for Sprint Center's opening

Sports fans in KC will embrace AHL hockey. It is, arguably, the second best hockey league in the world. We, KC Hockey fans, will be exposed to players the caliber of Jason Spezza, M-A Fleury and Jonathan Cheechoo, who all played full seasons in the AHL, as they rise to NHL stardom.

Not only that, but the "4-A" players, right on the cusp of the NHL, are much more entertaining than the career minor leaguers of the UHL or CHL.

The impact the Blades had on this community still exits. Some of the Blades former "4-A" players still make their home in KC. Guys like Pat Ferschweiler, Gary Emmons, JF Quintin and Jason Herter are passing on their expertise to KC's current crop of youth hockey players.

There is no downside to an AHL team in KC ('ll be more affordable to take your whole family). I get excited just thinking about seeing AAA hockey again.


At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Topeka Blade said...

In addition to the AHL teams you mention, a KC AHL team would likely play two other old Blades' competitors, the Milwaukee Admirals and the Grand Rapids Griffins.

I'm not sure if you made this clear or not when you said AEG can't own two teams in the AHL--AEG, of course, doesn't have to be the owner.

Also wanted to remind you of this line from Justin Kendall's article in The Pitch: "AEG has begun to press the city to consider a pro women's basketball team or a minor-league hockey team, Gray tells the Pitch." Even if those luxury box owners aren't thrilled to see minor league hockey, AEG may be realizing that's the way to go.

Personally you need to have a group out there called "AHLNOW" to counter NHL21. Possible tag line: "You have the whole 21st century to get an NHL team. Give us the AHL NOW."

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Topeka Blade said...

After getting the Sept. 19th issue of The Hockey News, I thought another comment should be added. The AHL West column indicates that Edmonton will place its kids with five different AHL teams--Iowa, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Hamilton, and W-B/Scranton. All because they can't find a city for their dormant AHL team, which last played in Edmonton during the lockout season.

Why? No suitable city had surfaced. According to Asst. GM Scott Howson, "The city has to be able to support an AHL team. We looked last year, but we couldn't get comfortable with a market."

Do you know if they looked at KC, and can you imagine the response they got if they did?

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Max said...

Thanks for the coverage. Very interesting stuff.

You say AEG may not want an AHL team tying up weekend dates. Do you think its outside the scope of possibility that an AHL team would play at Kemper? Or perhaps split time between the two venues? I assume Kemper is still hockey-ready?

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen. AHL would in my opinion the way to go for KC. Build up the interest in hockey in general with the good product that the AHL brings to the ice, then after a few successful seasons, go for an available NHL squad.

Think of the possibilities of an AHL team here! Re-name them the Blades, revive the old rivalries with Milwaukee, Chicago, and Peoria while creating new ones with Des Moines and Omaha. You could follow the team on roadtrips within 8hours of driving and hit all 5 of those teams.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not take an AHL team (the Oilers franchise in particular) and run. A potential good rivalry exists with Omaha (Calgary). Look, even if the NHL expands, it will seek TV ratings and upfront cash. Say Houston and Seattle(when the new arena is built).

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is called NHL21 for a reason.
AHL would be a bridge for a yr or 2 if no NHL team available for either expansion or relocation...Paul McGannon NHL21

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Understand your market...

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Topeka Blade said...

Hmmm . . . I would have guessed that it was called NHL21 because it will be at least 21 years since it's founding that KC will get an NHL team . . . .

Sorry, that's a cheap shot. I do appreciate the cheerleading for the cause of hockey. But I still find it difficult that KC could not have had AHL hockey within a year of the Blades leaving. And we could be in better shape with a core of hockey fans, both existing and cultivated for the cause over the last several seasons.

I AM half serious about a group called AHLNOW. But I am more of a foot soldier lacking the clout to move such an organization along, so if any one has any suggestions . . . polite suggestions . . .

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out . They have an article about the possibility of the Pens moving. There are quotes from what I assume to be the real Paul McGannon. Its spin, but interesting reading nonetheless.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Topeka Blade said...

Yes, it's spin alright. I do give Paul McGannon credit for going out and contacting people, but "being on the radar screen" can mean different things. You can be at the center of the screen. You can be at the edge of the screen. You can be somewhere in between. My guess is that Kansas City sits near the edge.


At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so the saga continues...KC Hockey Buzz, the great blog that it is, fades into sunset just like the city represented in it...gets all excited about a sport's venue to draw something to a town not worth drawing anything to...Kansas City, a town with no vision or stamina...the city reaks with the embodiment of loser...sorry, Hockey Buzz, liked your blog, though

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whay is this site fading into the sunset? What happened to the secretive blogger that ran this great site?

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Max said...

KC Hockey Blogger must be on vacation. The Pens were sold to an Ontario businessman who says he wants to keep the team in Pittsburgh - if they get a new arena. Otherwise, the rumors are he'll move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.

I'd support AHL NOW. BTW, what does the "21" in "NHL21" stand for anyway?

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Topeka Blade said...

It is supposed to mean getting the NHL in KC in the 21st Century. We have a few years to go yet...

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Windsor , Ont. may get an AHL team. The Oilers may put their prospects there. Sorry KC, when it rains it must pour.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Slidetuba said...

The City of Pittsburgh will be startingprep work of the New Arena site in Late January/Early February..

Lets Go Pens!!

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Mike Jacobi said...

Interesting article

At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

time for an update dawg!

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With prices like they are now offering, don't expect Cleveland to last long. Management is definitely deluded here. Glass seats for $60. $9 seats now $20. Its unfortunate because marketed correctly, even in a major league city, AHL hockey could be successful in Cleveland again. They really missed the boat here though. Do you think Joe Average is gonna regularly pluck down $30+ for a decent seat to a minor league hockey game? I’m sure opening night will be packed, but by the middle of the season, it’s gonna be a sea of empty seats as usual.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not dead yet. We need this to happen.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NHL has no business being in Kansas City. What a joke.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NHL or AHL, nothing lower!

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where or where has KCHockeyBuzz disappeared to? All this news recently and guy who has pushed hockey all along is missing. :-(

At 3:27 PM, Blogger AJ said...

Just found your blog. Great read.


PS - Pens fans need to direct their anger at the people who are responsible for all of this...themselves. (For electing such idiot state and county officials).

Not KC's fault that arenas grow on trees out here in the midwest. I hope they're watching a Ducks game at 2:30am on Center Ice instead this time next year.

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

Since this blog has been deserted, I've started up a new blog where I'll try to stay on top of news related to the NHL in Kansas City:

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moved on...

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kansas City will get a team soon.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The NHL has no business being in Kansas City. What a joke."

No you are the joke!

"Moved on..."

Puckchaser sucks, he thinks that Phoenix wouldn't move because of Gretzky? Yeah right, I doubt anybody who bought the team would care if Gretzky stays or not, in fact if a Jerry Jones type owner bought the team he would fire him right on the spot! (Just ask the legendary Tom Landry) Face it, Gretzky's coaching sucks and isn't gonna get better, might as well cut your losses now and nab a Detroit Red Wings assistant (just ask the Sharks).
And then there is the issue about the Toronto area getting another team that even the Maple Leafs would consider.
I say BS, the Toronto Maple Leafs are NEVER gonna allow another team up there (unless the owners are willing to make the ULTIMATE sacrifice just like the Washington Nationals did). Why? Because the Leaf owners are very selfish and greedy and don't want any competetion, they are the Peter Angelos of the NHL. Eureka, Califonia would have a better chance of getting a team than Hamilton, let alone another one in Toronto as long as the Leaf owners continue to have a stranglehold on that market.

Aaron's blog however is pretty nice!

Posted By: Khuxford

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At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Responding to a dipshit named "Kevin" from the link above here since my response didn't get posted there.

“I am sick of people complaining about fights in hockey.”

And I’m sick and tired of hearing you whine and bitch about people complaing about things you don’t agree with!

“If you don’t like it, then don’t go to the game.”

If you don’t like reading things you don’t agree with, THEN STOP READING THE FUCKING COMMENTS ASSEATER!

“Hockey is a part of the sport and the fans love it.”

The fighting sucks in hockey! It looks so fake! Plus it happens too often! When Ron Artest went after the Piston fans, it felt like the real deal and it was awesome! Same thing when the Florida International Panthers football program kicked the shit out of the Miami Hurricanes a couple of years ago! By unleashing harsher punishments on players who fight, then the next time a fight breaks out it will feel like the real deal and it will be awesome compared to shit we get right now in hockey!

Do everybody a favor Kevin and go back to the gay porno scene where you belong balllicker!

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