KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Tuesday voters in Tempe, Arizona, rejected a plan to build a new arena for the Arizona Coyotes, a flagging National Hockey League franchise.
And wouldn’t you know it, Kansas City has been mentioned as a possible destination for the team if it relocates. The T-Mobile Center is the presumed venue if a switch were to happen.
Other cities in the mix are Houston, Atlanta, Quebec City and Salt Lake City.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas mentioned the NHL commissioner in a tweet Wednesday morning, hinting at the city’s interest.
“Good morning, Kansas City, surrounds, and Gary Bettman,” the mayor said.
But is there public interest?
“How do you think professional hockey would do in Kansas City?” FOX4 asked one person outside T-Mobile Center.
“Well that’s a great question. I don’t know,” he said.
“I’m from Dallas so I’m a huge Stars fan, and I just moved here, so I think that Kansas City needs a hockey team,” another person said.
“It’s a good sport. It’s very violent. I like it though,” another person said about the sport.
Not too far from downtown, the business Dream Skates offered greater insight into the budding KC interest in hockey, as well as figure skating.
“This was my mother’s day gift when I first started the business. It cannot be bought anywhere. I drew it,” said Alice Snyder, pulling out a specialty tool.
Snyder works on skating footwear like an industrial artist.
“I will set up these high velocity blow driers where I’ll turn them on,” she said, triggering two hairdryers directed at one boot.
“Without these punches, she will not be able to skate. She will have blisters and start bleeding,” said Snyder, describing the indents on another pair of skates prepared for use.
“There’s definitely a tremendous amount of interest for hockey – just at the rink that I’m physically at the Kansas City Ice Center, the hockey program is so strong,” Snyder said.
From her perspective, Kansas City is already a hub for people seeking out skates — with dozens of people from Wichita, Arkansas, and beyond looking for her services and driving in for fittings.
“Just to form every little millimeter hugging all around her foot,” said Snyder, pointing out another skate’s design.
And whether or not the Arizona Coyotes move, she noted the growth for the sport locally.
“Just a couple months ago, the first-ever girls hockey team played their first game representing the Carriage Club. And just, it was such a positive experience already for the kids and parents to support that,” Snyder said.
Houston is thought to be the front-runner if the NHL team moves. Currently, the Arizona Coyotes play their games on campus at Arizona State.