Monday, July 6, 2015

Kansas City Still Not Viable for NHL Expansion, But Still Not for Dumb Reasons

Kansas City is too small for hockey? Is that a fat joke?


I know, it sounds crazy.  But it's true, right there, on Sam Mellinger's blog.  And the story was only released about a week and a half after Gary Bettman's press conference announcing a new round of NHL expansion.  We're making progress here, folks.  Hockey town Kansas City, here we come!

Of course, there are problems with the logic in the article, so your resident "indignant" Kansas City hockey blog snaps into action!  But we will get to that in a moment.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Counterpoint: Kansas City Definitely Getting an NHL Expansion Team! (Spoiler: Nope)

Aw man, another team in New York?!
Yesterday, Gary Bettman announced the terms for possible NHL expansion.  A topic he denied
times in the past nine months.

The application process runs July 6th through August 10th, so if you have $500 million just laying around, you could be an NHL team owner!  Put the team in whatever city you want, it doesn't really matter!  Butte, Montana?  Sure!

Of course, this gets the wheels turning for cities like Las Vegas, Seattle, and Quebec City to actually stop waiting around for the Coyotes to inevitably relocate, and have a nice team of their own minus the baggage.  This, to a lesser extent, works as a PR move for the league, detracting people from the Coyotes circus and other franchises with struggling finances and attendance like the Panthers and Hurricanes.  Do not get it confused, though.  The health of all member organizations is certainly not a pre-requisite for expansion.  MLB's Minnesota Twins and Florida Marlins knew that all too well shortly after new franchises in Tampa and Phoenix popped up.  The stability of the league is not Gary Bettman's wish, or strength, as is well documented, so that's not what is at issue.  Expansion is a money grab, and a way for Bettman and the NHL to offset or recoup the losses of the struggling franchises.  It offers nothing in return from the NHL, except you get to put one of its teams in your city.  And you might get to host the draft and an All-Star game eventually.  WHEEEEE!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

NHL Accepting Expansion Applications, Kansas City Absent from Discussion

The day is finally here!

Today, Gary Bettman announced the NHL will be accepting applications for expansion franchises from interested markets and ownership groups. I thought I wouldn't see this day for a long time, mostly because Gary Bettman pretty much said this day wasn't coming any time soon.

No matter - this is exciting news! Kansas City can finally get one more crack at having an NHL team! The Sprint Center can finally have that permanent sports tenant we were promised!

Oh, AEG isn't interested in pursuing a professional sports team for the Sprint Center?

... And Kansas City isn't even in the discussion?

Psh... Fine. That expansion fee is stupid huge, anyway.

Welp, maybe when the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes inevitably have no home to play in we will have another cha- HAHAHA YEAH RIGHT.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kansas City Scouts Footage Proves KC Actually Had an NHL Team

Above is a great video posted to YouTube about a year and a half ago of some great Kansas City Scouts footage.  User "JC70" cuts together video from the Scouts playing their first home game against the Chicago Blackhawks, and a mid-season matchup in their final season agains the Minnesota North Stars.  Great job, JC70, and I wish there were more of these videos online.

Some thoughts:

0:29 – Scouts get a great chance, shoot wide, the puck slides around the boards and turns into a Chicago Blackhawks breakaway. I feel like many Kansas City sports teams have something similar happen all too often...

1:02 – The Scouts scored!  And its the first goal at Kemper Arena!  How neat.  Many of these early videos appear to be from the Scouts first home game at Kemper Arena.  The Scouts started the season on an eight game road trip while the construction of Kemper was completed.  They came into the home opener 0-7-1, and would lose the home opener 4-3.

1:21 – bro loses his stick, picks it up, passes across the crease, and it goes in off of Scouts goalie

2:25 – Scouts out here playing defense, son.

3:40 – Scouts out here lookin' like fools, refusing to play defense.

4:30 – Seriously, where is the defense?

4:56 – The Edmonton Oilers must have used the Scouts as the model of how to play defense.

5:20 – Pierre Jarry was a Scouts killer!  One can only assume he would have had a Hall of Fame career if the Scouts stayed in the league.  Alas, his NHL career ended in 1978, after eight seasons.

Much of the footage of the last video was taken from a Minnesota North Stars home game against the Scouts in 1975-76.  The North Stars went 6-0 against the Scouts that year, and this game was from the 1/28/76 game the North Stars won 9-3.

h/t JC70

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kemper Arena: Too Cool to Live

What else can be said that PucKChaser did not already cover?

In the next two months, we will know the fate of the probably doomed Kemper Arena (spoiler: yeah, it's doomed).  One way or the other, Kemper (or the land once housing Kemper) will become a youth sports/agricultural boondoggle, and the city will be rid of the financial drain the arena has become.  

While its good that something is finally being done to the seldom used building, the maintenance costs will outweigh the cost to repurpose the land and almost guarantee Kemper Arena will not be around much longer.  As it stands, the American Royal and everyone's favorite Harvard-educated blonde down-home football captain Sporting Club want to tear down the building in favor of a redesigned, smaller building that would house agriculture events as well as youth sports.  Sporting Club was not originally part of this proposal, but was added as a partner to this because, well, the American Royal is selfish and wanted the land all to itself without any intention of using a new building for anything other than equestrian events.  Since the city actually wants people to come to this area and spend money, this original plan did not bode well for the AR.

Thankfully, other people had hopes of actually, ya know, bringing people to the West Bottoms.  The alternate plan is the Foutch Brothers proposal to convert the arena into an amateur sports complex that includes a desire to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places.  The arena can still be demolished, despite NRHP distinction.

The issue is not about architecture, so do not let anyone fool you.  Kemper is a one-of-its-kind building, different than the structures of its ilk being built at that time.  Today, it's still noticeable within the Kansas City landscape, and still as much a nod to postmodern architecture and the artsy distinction Kansas Citians love to brag about when talking about their city as it was when it was built.  Kemper's design is synonymous with other KC landmarks like the shuttlecocks and Bartle Hall pylons.  But this is not Corinthian Hall or Union Station, this is Kemper Arena.  An old, dusty arena, without enough architectural significance or real Kansas City "history" to save it.  And, if you remember, Kansas City does not have a problem demolishing one person's view of "architectural beauty" in favor of practical usage.

On the history issue, when people talk about Kemper, it's not about all of those Kings championships (there were none), or memorable Scouts games (there were only 20 wins in two years), it's the arena with one NCAA Tournament championship, Owen Hart, and a damn roof collapse that has haunted the building for most of its existence.  Oh, and that one time David Arquette betrayed Diamond Dallas Page to help Jeff Jarrett win a triple cage match and win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.  That was truly awful.

No, Kemper did everything asked for it, and then some.  Kansas City has only had one NHL team, one NBA team, and one Presidential Convention, all housed in the arena.  But, unlike those old renovated and currently renovating structures around town, Kemper has one purpose – host athletic events and concerts – and some believe it is either too big, too expensive, or too futile to use it in that way.  Personally, I do not want to see Kemper razed, but using the land for nothing is wasteful.  You have a historic stockyards district with the American Royal right next door.  The potential is there for something – obviously not a major concert and sport venue – but for something.

Whatever the Council decides, the arena's future and legacy will mean another area for youth sports in the city, and a practical use for an otherwise unused district.  Unfortunately for the distinctive building, this fate could also bring its demise.

* * * 

One more note: In the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey – home of the New Jersey Devils née Colorado Rockies née Kansas City Scouts – are murals/banners devoted to the organization's past.  One features the two former homes, McNichols Arena in Denver and Kemper Arena.  
photo courtesy: some message board online somewhere, i don't remember where, sue me
That's pretty cool, right?!  Yeah, pretty cool.  Except take a close look at this photo:
Remember when every sporting stadium or arena was a "Memorial"?  Those were weird days.
This is what Kemper Arena looked like for most of its active life, and in 1974-76 when the Scouts played in the arena.  The glass eastern exterior – as seen on the arena today, and in the photo on the mural in New Jersey – was not added until 1997, nearly thirty years after the Scouts left.  So, the New Jersey mural is not entirely accurate.  Also, and this is a bit nit-picky, but the phenomenon of sports fans wearing jerseys of their favorite players was not prevalent in the 1970s, so it's unlikely that anyone would have worn a Wilf Paiement sweater inside Kemper Arena unless their name was indeed Wilf Paiement.

But, hey, thanks for the cool picture thing, New Jersey!

As a thank you, let's all sing along to the state song of New Jersey: