According to NewsOK.com, Oklahoma City is close to officially becoming the home of the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate next season. I have to ask again: Why is Kansas City seemingly not even in the conversation for an AHL team? Oklahoma City is roughly 61% of the size of Kansas City. As I’ve written here before, (according to my rudimentary research) only three current AHL markets are bigger than Kansas City. And unlike the NHL, there seems to actually be teams for the taking—if only AEG were interested.
Most notably, the St. Louis Blues affiliate could be available, with the Peoria Rivermen’s current lease set to expire after the current season. On October 1st, the Peoria Journal Star even claimed that there are “rumblings” about the Rivermen moving to Kansas City in 2010. But a November 9th column said negotiations are ongoing to keep the Rivermen in Peoria, and that “a multi-year deal is expected.” Kansas City may not be a hockey hotbed, but something tells me we could do better than Peoria’s 4,000 fans a game. I’m not sure there could be a better fit for hockey in Kansas City than the Blues top farm team.
It is possible that AEG and the Sprint Center are looking into the AHL for Kansas City. But it’s hard to imagine that they are...surely the press would catch wind of it, and aside from the vague “rumblings” mentioned above, there seems to be zero evidence of it, and plenty of statements that they are specifically targeting the NHL.
Perhaps they would view an AHL team in the Sprint Center as a failure, given that the goal has always been the NHL. But isn’t a complete lack of a sports tenant the real failure? Do they think an AHL team would block the way for an NHL team? Seems to me the AHL could actually help the cause by growing the base of hockey fans. Doesn’t Kansas City deserve to at least be in the conversation?