KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes potentially on the move, Kansas City is almost begging for a pro hockey team.
From Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas to the king of Kansas City Patrick Mahomes, many have inquired about potentially moving the franchise to the Midwest after a stadium vote failed in the city of Tempe, Arizona.
With every professional team in the area getting a spot in a championship game in the past 10 years, why not bring another major professional sports team to a city slowly turning into Winnersville, USA?
Hockey in KC has a present and a past fixture as well.
The present is minor league franchise KC Mavericks who compete in the ECHL, the equivalent to AA in the MLB minor leagues.
The Mavericks are owned by the son of late Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, Lamar Hunt Jr.
Formed in 2009 as the Missouri Mavericks, the franchise changed its location to the KC Mavericks in 2017 and has been quite successful in its short time. The Mavericks have only missed the playoffs five times and consistently get solid attendance.
The Mavericks have also produced a few quality players. Most notable is center Carter Verhaeghe, who won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and scored the series-sealing goal to send the Florida Panthers into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
Before they played in the ECHL, the Mavericks played in the second iteration of the Central Hockey League, another version of AA that went defunct in 1984 and was brought back from 1992 to 2014.
Kansas City was also present for the first iteration of the CHL with the KC Blues. The team operated from 1967 to 1972 and from 1976 to 1977 before becoming the top developmental team for the Detroit Red Wings and renaming to the KC Red Wings from 1977 to 1979. The Blues were the top developmental team for the St. Louis Blues.
Kansas City also had its chance at an NHL team in the 70s with the Kansas City Scouts. They played for two seasons before relocating to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies and then moved to New Jersey to become the New Jersey Devils in 1982.
But this city has had a number of pro teams before the Scouts.
Here’s a list of a few teams that tried their hand at hockey in KC:
- Kansas City Pla-Mors: 1927-1933, Kansas City Greyhounds: 1933-1940 (same franchise, different name)
- Kansas City Americans: 1940-1942
- Kansas City Pla-Mors: 1945-1949, Kansas City Mohawks: 1949-1950 (same franchise, different name)
- Kansas City Blues: 1967-1972, Kansas City Blues/Red Wings: 1976-1979
- Kansas City Scouts: 1974-1976 (lone NHL team)
- Kansas City Blades: 1990-2001 (won the IHL [minor league] Turner Cup Championship in 1992)
- Kansas City Outlaws: 2004-2005 (competed in minor league United Hockey League)
- Kansas City Mavericks: 2009-Present
The earliest teams played their games at the Pla-Mor Complex and the American Royal Arena until Kemper Arena was built in 1974. Cable Dahmer Arena is the home of the Mavericks.
If the Coyotes choose to move their franchise to KC or KC puts in a bid for an expansion team, T-Mobile Center is an easy target to house a team. A new team would also not necessarily spell the end of the Mavericks’ reign as the longest-running hockey franchise in city history.
The question would be the owners of the team and training facilities for an NHL franchise.
With local government, local celebrities and the public all behind a hockey franchise, KC has the second-highest odds to receive the Coyotes after the city of Houston.
Most NHL heads believe Commissioner Gary Bettman is committed to keeping the franchise in Arizona and Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has stated his commitment to keeping the franchise in Arizona despite not receiving a public vote for a new arena.
But if they ever change course, they have a few cities up for contention.