Friday, April 3, 2009

The CHL In Kansas City

It’s not the NHL, but the Central Hockey League is coming to the Kansas City area this fall. According to this article, the Independence Events Center, where the team is to play, is 50% complete, and on target to be done by November 2nd. There has been no publicity surrounding the new team, which I found odd until I learned that it is actually not a completely done deal yet. This article says the deal is nearly finalized, and a deal could be reached on April 6th. Kansas City Hockey History has a page dedicated to the team, which includes a poll for possible team names (Independence Impact kind of has a ring to it).

I’m glad professional hockey is returning to KC, but I can’t honestly say I’m too excited about a CHL team. It’s an independent league, not a development or feeder league. I’ve never been to a CHL game, but I imagine it’s similar to the UHL (which the Kansas City Outlaws played in for one year), where guys who have passed the prospect age continue to play for very little pay because they just love the game and/or they can’t shake the dream of making the big time. I’ll watch and enjoy anybody playing hockey, but, as long as we’re not an NHL town, I would vastly prefer to see kids with NHL potential working their way up the ladder (such as in the ECHL, AHL and even the USHL). The top five scorers in the CHL right now are an average age of about 31.

But, hey, hockey’s hockey, and I’ll definitely go check out the action in Independence. Besides, I need somewhere to rock my Scouts jersey.

Edit: The deal has been finalized.


Anonymous said...

I fancy an AHL team, but that can't happen due to ownership conflict issues with Anschutz as far as I know. As for the name of the Independence CHL team, hmmm...perhaps the 'Trumans'.
Mark in KC

Aaron said...

Hi Mark -

I would love an AHL team as well. I haven't heard anything about ownership conflicts...what's the story there? AEG owns the Manchester Monarchs, right? Think that would prevent a team from playing at the Sprint Center?

Are you excited at all for the CHL team?

Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

I might be wrong, but I don't think the AHL allows anyone to own 2 teams in the league. So AEG couldn't have an AHL team here. I don't think they would dump the Manchester team because it is probably more apt to succeed than any minor league team here.
As far as the CHL, yes, I'll go see some games as long as they don't break one of my major rules for naming the team; they MUST NOT give the team a singular name, such as the Independence Fire, etc. I insist on plural names like the aformentioned 'Trumans'.

TheSmokinPun said...

Well at least we know the Methheads wont work for the Indep team. Considering the arena is right on the Little Blue, maybe a river theme is needed?

Jeremy said...

I grew up in Wichita where the Thunder play (CHL team) so I am very excited that a CHL team will be coming here! I wish it wasn't all the way out in Independence, but beggars can't be choosers. CHL games are fun to go to, and though the talent may not be that of NHL bound players, they still play hard and make the games fun to watch.

I think it's stupid that the team has to have "Independence" in the name. Where the hell is Independence? I sure wouldn't know except for the fact that I live in KC and happened to drive by the arena just last week. They should be called the "Kansas City" so-and-so's. Are the T-Bones the Bonner Springs T-Bones? Hell no, they're the Kansas City T-Bones.

Aaron said...

Thanks for checking in Jeremy. Glad to hear your comments about the CHL.

It is interesting that they'll be the "Independence" whatevers instead of KC. My guess is that it was a stipulation made by the city in order to bring a little attention/name-recognition to their town. Might not be such a bright idea though since it could be a minor barrier to getting the rest of the metro area involved and excited.

Hockey Hank said...

I would love the AHL or NHL in KC, but in the mean time, I'd rather have CHL hockey than no hockey.

Since the arena is being financed by creation of a new sales tax district in Independence, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the team to be expected to be named after the city. And although I agree that it may prevent a wider identification with the franchise, I think the reality is nothing is going to bring Johnson County fans to Independence for a game anyway. Like the T-Bones, the franchise will need to draw most of its fan base from the immediate area (i.e, Independence, Blue Springs, and Lee's Summit).

One note, though- the level of play in the CHL has improved markedly over the last 7 or 8 years. With the demise of several other leagues (IHL, UHL, and some of the smaller leagues like WHA2, SPHL, etc), there are fewer places to play...

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