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Kansas City and hockey

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  • Mike Witty
    I received this from SportsBusinessNews.com Mike Witty Kansas City and hockey Kemper Arena has never seen as many hockey fans as had for Saturday night s NHL
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 1, 2003
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      I received this from SportsBusinessNews.com
      Mike Witty


      Kansas City and hockey
      Kemper Arena has never seen as many hockey fans as had
      for Saturday night's NHL exhibition game between the
      St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks. That and
      this report from The Kansas City Star's Marcus R.
      Fuller The game might be a sellout as spectators from
      Tulsa to Overland Park will help pack the 17,285-seat
      arena to the brim.

      In the first NHL game ever played at Kemper in 1974,
      the Kansas City Scouts played the Blackhawks in front
      of a crowd of nearly 15,000, which was the arena's
      previous record attendance for an NHL game.

      "Kansas City has gone two-plus years without hockey.
      People's appetites had to be filled," said Tom Rieger,
      general manager of NHL 21, a local organization formed
      last year with hopes of bringing the NHL back to
      Kansas City.

      "I can't think of two better teams for this part of
      the country. We've been working hard advertising this
      game. We cut no corners in trying to get the message
      out and obviously the interest in the product is
      there."

      Former Blades general manager and coach Doug Soetaert
      said he believes the turnout for this year's NHL
      exhibition game means that Kansas City is ready to
      support its own NHL franchise. The Blades folded in
      June 2001 when the International Hockey League ceased
      operations.

      The Blades' record attendance was 14,759 for a game in
      1992. But it was a stretch for them to reach
      five-digit figures in attendance after the mid-1990s.

      The Blades' top average attendance was 7,285 in the
      1991-92 season, and they never averaged more than
      6,943 after the 1994-95 season.

      "We had a lot of interest in the beginning. It faded,
      but I've always felt like it was a good market for
      hockey," said Soetaert, general manager for the
      Western Hockey League's Everett Silver Tips.

      "People support the Royals and the Chiefs. They just
      want to see top-line sports entertainment."

      Dan Smith, owner of Line Creek Community Center Ice
      Arena, 5940 N.W. Waukomis Drive in Kansas City, North,
      has witnessed first hand the growth in popularity of
      hockey in Kansas City.

      His rink is host to 27 youth and adult league teams,
      and there are at least 500 people in skating school
      each winter. Smith said his numbers don't truly tell
      the tale, because of the existence of other ice
      facilities.

      "From a rink owner's perspective hockey is a booming
      business. Tons of people are playing," he said. "It's
      a non-traditional market, but I think pro hockey would
      definitely fly here. I drove a Zamboni for the Blades
      for eight years, and I heard a lot people say that if
      it was a top-level team then they would support it
      more."

      Smith believes the most logical step for bringing pro
      hockey back to town would be first to lure an American
      Hockey League team.

      AHL commissioner David Andrews agrees that Kansas City
      would be a good place for a relocating franchise.
      There have been a few interested parties even before
      today's NHL exhibition game, but he said they haven't
      taken the issue any further. That and this report from
      The Kansas City Star's Marcus R. Fuller

      "The level of interest is there. This game was just a
      measuring stick for a successful franchise in this
      market," Andrews said. "Hopefully it will encourage
      those who have interest."

      A 15,500-seat arena is under construction in Des
      Moines, Iowa, which hopes to secure an AHL team.

      Kemper Arena would be an adequate facility for an AHL
      team, Andrews said, but he said the city must first
      find an ownership group with a franchise and then
      develop an affiliation with an NHL team.

      "Those are very important pieces in the puzzle," he
      added.

      Barely 9,000 fans showed up at Kemper to see a 6-5
      Blues win against the Nashville Predators on Sept. 26,
      1998.

      NHL 21 president Paul McGannon said the poor
      attendance for that game was the result of bad
      marketing. His group began spreading word about the
      area's first NHL exhibition game in five years on Oct.
      1 of last year.

      McGannon said he tried to make seats affordable with
      the cost at $30 per ticket, including a deal with four
      tickets for $100.

      More than 13,000 tickets had been sold by July this
      year. McGannon said people who decided to call at the
      last minute were turned off after having to pick from
      the remaining handful of single non-lower level seats.

      "These last couple months, most of the people wanted
      to get close to the ice, but there just weren't any of
      those seats left," he said. "If Kemper had a larger
      lower level like most arenas, we could have sold more
      than 20,000 tickets."

      The numbers might be impressive, but some believe one
      exhibition game isn't enough to gauge whether fans
      would support an NHL team for a whole season.

      NHL vice president of media relations Frank Brown said
      the possibility of having a NHL team here in the near
      future is highly unlikely.

      "It's no secret Kansas City has a passionate fan base.
      I'm sure they will be entertained by exhibition
      games," he said. "But at this moment, the NHL is not
      considering any further expansion nor is any
      consideration being given to move any franchises."

      McGannon, a Rockhurst High graduate, said he will
      continue to bring NHL exhibition games to Kansas City
      until his dream of having a team is realized.

      "We've already got Kemper reserved for the same time
      next year," he said. "It's not fair when people say
      this is not a hockey town. I rolled out an idea to see
      how it would do, and it's done well. After this
      sellout I think you'll have teams awestruck at the
      attendance figures, then we just have to show them the
      way." That and this report from The Kansas City Star's
      Marcus R. Fuller.

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    • Gene
      ... Interesting fact about the Scouts 1st game in the NHL...it wasn t played until November 2nd as the Scouts had to endure a grueling eight game road trip to
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 2, 2003
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        > In the first NHL game ever played at Kemper in 1974,
        > the Kansas City Scouts played the Blackhawks in front
        > of a crowd of nearly 15,000, which was the arena's
        > previous record attendance for an NHL game.
        >
        Interesting fact about the Scouts 1st game in the NHL...it wasn't
        played until November 2nd as the Scouts had to endure a grueling
        eight game road trip to start off their first season. Welcome to the
        NHL guys.


        Oct 9 @ Toronto L 2-6
        12 @ NYI L 2-6
        13 @ Philadelphia L 2-3
        18 @ Atlanta L 2-4
        19 @ LA L 0-3 (Atlanta to LA the next day?!? Insane!)
        23 @ California T 4-4
        25 @ Vancouver L 3-5
        27 @ Boston L 2-8

        Nov 2 Chicago @ KC L 3-4

        The exact attendance for their 1st game was 14,758 not too bad
        considering that Kemper Arena's capacity at that time was 16,994
        (includes 1000 standees)
      • Marc Foster
        ... Kemper was slow to be completed, and barely made it in time. There were strikes and other assorted labor issues at work. As a hypothetical, I always
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 2, 2003
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          On 10/2/03 11:26 PM, "Gene" <meangene83647@...> wrote:

          >> In the first NHL game ever played at Kemper in 1974,
          >> the Kansas City Scouts played the Blackhawks in front
          >> of a crowd of nearly 15,000, which was the arena's
          >> previous record attendance for an NHL game.
          >>
          > Interesting fact about the Scouts 1st game in the NHL...it wasn't
          > played until November 2nd as the Scouts had to endure a grueling
          > eight game road trip to start off their first season. Welcome to the
          > NHL guys.

          Kemper was slow to be completed, and barely made it in time. There were
          strikes and other assorted labor issues at work.

          As a hypothetical, I always wondered what would happen had the Scouts still
          been around when the roof fell in. I guess the could have gone to the
          American Royal for awhile, but it would have been a bigger drop in capacity
          than the Kings faced switching back to Municipal Auditorium. Maybe they
          could have split between American Royal and Omaha's AkSarBen Arena. I don't
          think Wichita's Kansa Coliseum was completed when the accident occurred, but
          it's late and my mind is too fried to try looking it up.

          Marc
        • Lloyd Davis
          Perhaps a stint in the home rink of their minor-pro affiliate, as the Flyers did when the roof got peeled off? June 1979 -- hmmm, perhaps a move to one of the
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 3, 2003
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            Perhaps a stint in the home rink of their minor-pro affiliate, as the Flyers
            did when the roof got peeled off?

            June 1979 -- hmmm, perhaps a move to one of the displaced WHA cities,
            Cincinnati or Birmingham?

            Or maybe just a later move to Denver, with different owners...

            on 10/3/03 12:38 AM, Marc Foster at mfoster@... wrote:

            > As a hypothetical, I always wondered what would happen had the Scouts still
            > been around when the roof fell in.

            --
            Lloyd Davis Publishing Services
            304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
            416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
            ldavis@...
          • reorgman
            ... the Flyers ... Didn t the Flyers play some home games at Madison Square Garden ? I was a kid back then - but I remember going to a game. So I looked it
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 3, 2003
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              --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, Lloyd Davis <lloyddavis@s...> wrote:
              > Perhaps a stint in the home rink of their minor-pro affiliate, as
              the Flyers
              > did when the roof got peeled off?


              Didn't the Flyers play some home games at Madison Square Garden ?

              I was a kid back then - but I remember going to a game. So I looked
              it up. it was real hard to get tix to the Garden for the Ranger$ -
              and I remember my dad taking us to a game there for the Flyers. It
              was only one - but at least I was partially RIGHT :)

              The games in 92/93 were the "neutral site" games....in a planned
              Neutral Site game region.

              See below.

              3-Mar-68 California Golden Seals 1 @ Flyers 1 T @New York
              7-Mar-68 Boston Bruins 2 @ Flyers 1 L @Toronto
              10-Mar-68 Minnesota North Stars 0 @ Flyers 2 W @Quebec City
              14-Mar-68 Los Angeles Kings 0 @ Flyers 0 T @Quebec City
              17-Mar-68 Toronto Maple Leafs 4 @ Flyers 7 W @Quebec City
              28-Mar-68 St.Louis Blues 0 @ Flyers 2 W @Quebec City
              30-Mar-68 Pittsburgh Penguins 2 @ Flyers 0 L @Quebec City
              16-Feb-93 Flyers 4 @ Calgary Flames 4 T @Cincinnati, OH
              22-Feb-93 Detroit Red Wings 5 @ Flyers 5 T @Cleveland, OH
              31-Dec-93 Flyers 4 @ Boston Bruins 3 W @Minneapolis, MIN
              2-Feb-94 Washington Capitals 5 @ Flyers 2 L @Cleveland, OH

              Credit to the link I got this info from:

              http://www.flyershistory.com/cgi-bin/nsgames.cgi


              Have a great day

              Pat
            • Marc Foster
              ... Neither of the Scouts affiliates (Springfield and Port Huron) were regional while the Scouts actually played (though Albuquerque was in the CHL as a Scouts
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 3, 2003
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                On 10/3/03 7:50 AM, "Lloyd Davis" <lloyddavis@...> wrote:

                > Perhaps a stint in the home rink of their minor-pro affiliate, as the Flyers
                > did when the roof got peeled off?

                > June 1979 -- hmmm, perhaps a move to one of the displaced WHA cities,
                > Cincinnati or Birmingham?

                Neither of the Scouts affiliates (Springfield and Port Huron) were regional
                while the Scouts actually played (though Albuquerque was in the CHL as a
                Scouts team in 1973-74), but that's not to say that wouldn't have changed
                affiliations down the road. Omaha became available in 1975-76 but went dark
                rather than become a Scouts affiliate. Oklahoma City was an indy team in
                1976-77 and suspended ops the next season before returning as a North Stars
                affiliate. Wichita's arena would indeed have been ready in time to cover
                the roof collapse.

                I'd be hesitant to use the same arena as my affiliate, however, because that
                effective doubles the dates at the facility. If, for example, the Scouts
                had switched to Wichita for 1979, I think I would rather have played the NHL
                games in Omaha, where there'd been no hockey for several years at this
                point. If we're talking a handful of games then yeah I'd go to Wichita, but
                when Kemper cratered it became unavailable for most of that season.

                > Or maybe just a later move to Denver, with different owners...

                Who knows... But it's been a fun mental exercise...

                Marc
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