Friday, May 1, 2009

Coyotes Apparantly In Dire Straits...But What Does That Mean For KC?

According to myriad reports, the Phoenix Coyotes are on their last legs and aren't long for this world. The NHL is propping them up financially to some extent; the league and team would have you believe there is minimal league involvement, others claim they are being run almost entirely by the league. It seems likely the Phoenix Coyotes will exist at least one more season, but after that, all bets are off. Relocation seems the most probable scenario, though contraction is another possibility (which I imagine would be followed closely by expansion).

So, what does it all mean for Kansas City? Hard to say. Kansas City gets an obligatory mention in many of the articles on the Coyotes. If the Coyotes are relocated in the near term, KC does have the advantage of the Sprint Center being ready to go. But the most important piece of the puzzle - ownership - seems to be being ignored. As far as I can tell, there is no person or group who has the money and the desire to bring a team to KC. Until that changes, there seems to be little hope for KC. (I'm hazy on how it could work for Leiweke/AEG to have an ownership stake in a KC team...but I've never heard any mention they would be willing to forgo their stake in the Kings in order to start a team in KC.)

Toronto/Southern Ontario, on the other hand, has a small army of wealthy people ready to start a second franchise in the area. While ownership would not be a barrier, there is not an arena, and the Maple Leafs reportedly would try to either block a second franchise or demand substantial "territorial fees."

For now, it seems that the Coyotes are unlikely to be moving here. But it might be that we're just a few crazy rich dudes away from it being a serious possibility.


Rob F said...

I agree, the Coyotes are not likely to be moving to Kansas City. Since the bankruptcy hearing is ongoing, I'd say that all bets are off about what will happen next. Since I'm a Canadian I love for them to move back here.

I think that the Islanders are the most likely team to move to KC. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the smallest arena in the NHL, and is pretty much obsolete. The lease there ends in 2015, the Islanders would be free to move after that. And unless the Lighthouse Project gets lit up soon, the Isles would be stuck with an obsolete arena if they stay in Uniondale.

The several seasons until 2015 should be enough time for the Isles to get some high draft picks and reclimb the standings, ending their bottoming out. Perhaps the upcoming preseason game is to test the waters....

If the Isles move to KC, the most logical division for the KC team to be in would be the Central. This would result in unbalanced divisions, as the Atlantic would have four and the Central six. The most reasonable team to move into the Atlantic would be the Capitals. This moves the missing spot to the Southeast Division, which could be filled by sending Nashville over there. This realignment solves a couple of additional problems, as it lets all teams in the SE US be in one division, while reuniting the Caps with their rivals from the old Patrick Division.

Those are the reasons why I think a relocated Islanders are the most likely team to move to KC.

Aaron said...

Thanks for checking in, Rob.

Until an owner or ownership group steps forward that has interest in KC, I don't see much hope of any team coming here. But if the Islanders' mess drags on for a while longer, perhaps that will allow time for a group to step forward and take a stab for KC.