Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Derek Zona of From The Rink Takes a Look at Potential NHL Markets

Here's a new column on the website From The Rink comparing the following cities as potential NHL markets: Cincinnati, Halifax, Hamilton, Hartford, Houston, Kansas City, Quebec, Seattle and Winnipeg. Author Derek Zona says, "Kansas City is the only city on the continent with an NHL-ready arena."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News Says KC Making "Serious Push" For Predators

In spite of what a couple hockey writers have said recently about KC falling off the radar, Ken Campbell at The Hockey News brings us up again in a recent column. The relevant passage:
The Nashville Predators have reached an agreement with the Metro Sports Authority to keep the team in Nashville for at least another two seasons, but the deal has yet to be signed and there are rumblings Kansas City is making a serious push for the Predators to relocate there.

Los Angeles Kings governor Tim Leiweke is also the CEO of AEG, the company that owns the Sprint Center in Kansas City, a building that is ready-made for hockey and seeking a tenant. There are those who maintain it is only a matter of time before one of the NHL’s struggling franchises relocates to Kansas City.
A little contradictory to say a new deal has been reached in Nashville but KC is pushing hard.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don Cherry: Kansas City is a Graveyard For Hockey

Crazy Don Cherry chimes in on where he feels the NHL should expand/relocate on the March 20th broadcast of Hockey Night In Canada. Hint: Not KC. (Cherry was coach of the Bruins in the mid-'70s, so he came to Kemper a few times to meet the Scouts.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Scouts Off-Ice Notes: March, 1976

Way more detail than you need about the Scouts slowly falling apart:

The season ticket drive to save the Scouts “officially launched (March 1st) by Mayor Charles B. Wheeler, Jr., at a breakfast for business and civic leaders at the Plaza Inn…The turnout…was smaller than expected, but several firms pledged to double their season ticket orders and now solicitations will continue on an individual basis.” –Joe McGuff, 3/2 Star

• “I will agree that from the standpoint of sales, promotions and educating the public to the game the Scouts overall have been less than efficient.” –Joe McGuff, 3/2 Star

• On March 10
th came word that the NHL had done an about face and would loan the Scouts money after all. The league loaned $300,000 and the Scouts ownership group scraped together another $100,000 in order to allow the Scouts to finish the season. “The total appearances of the league are best served by the arrangement,” said NHL president Clarence Campbell, meaning they didn’t want to suffer the embarrassment of a team folding mid-season. (3/10 Times)

• By March 11
th, it was already apparent the ticket drive was a mess. Scouts president Edwin Thompson was under the impression that Henry Bloch, president of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, was in charge of the drive. Bloch was not. It turned out no one was running the ticket drive. Joe McGuff wrote, “…the members of the Scouts organization cannot expect someone else to do all of their work while they watch. The drive will not run itself and since the Scouts have the most to gain from it they had better start worrying about such things as having a chairman.” (3/11 Star)

• Lots of good info in Joe McGuff’s March 23
rd “Sporting Comment:” “Edwin Thompson…has said that the present owners cannot operate beyond April 15 without a season ticket sale of 8,000. Yesterday Mayor Charles B. Wheeler, Jr., called on the National Hockey League to clarify the status of the franchise and made it clear that the business community is not going to make a substantial dollar commitment unless there are assurances of stability in the ownership situation. In brief, Thompson says he cannot continue without a major sale of season tickets, the mayor is saying the tickets cannot be sold for a team that may or may not be here. The ticket drive started slowly and has come to a standstill…The Scouts and the business community are blaming each other for the failure of the drive…it is apparent that if the franchise is to be saved for Kansas City new ownership must be developed…The Scouts still owe the league $4,250,000 for the franchise and when the interest is added the figure exceeds $5 million. They owe the St. Louis Blues $800,000 for territorial rights. The Scouts recently borrowed $300,000 from the league, they are not current on the rent at Kemper Arena and they have other debts…the crowd of 16,219 last Saturday was significant. All tickets were priced at $2 so management did not make a profit from the promotion, but the size of the crowd shows that there is a strong base of hockey interest. If the public has no interest a promoter can give away his product and no one will come.”

• On March 24
th the Times published the below look at Scouts fans.

• March 27th brought the first mention of Denver as a potential landing spot for the Scouts. “We have also been contacted by representatives from Cleveland and Miami, Florida,” said Edwin Thompson. (3/27 Times)

• The NBA Kansas City Kings were continually mentioned as a potential buyer that would keep the team in KC: “Of all the parties involved, only the Kings have made an offer, though the Scouts insist it is not a formal legalized bid. In any case, the Kings reportedly are willing to assume the Scouts’ liabilities, approximately $7 million, as the purchase price.” –Steve Marantz, 3/30

• “Denver must be considered the strongest out-of-town contender. The Denver interest is headed by Carl Scheer, president and general manager of the Denver Nuggets basketball team…The likelihood of the Scouts leaving Kansas City increased dramatically when Scheer entered the picture.” –Steve Marantz, 3/30

• The below columns ran on March 31st following the last Scouts home game the night before. Thompson says the previous report that the Kings had made an offer to assume the Scouts debt was incorrect, and that the Scouts had made an offer to the Kings to sell for $5.5 million but hadn’t heard back. He also says, “What’s happened to us is very simple. Salaries have gone up 180 percent (since first applying for a team in 1971), and instead of averaging 9,000 or 10,000 persons a game we’re averaging 6,000 a game.”

Kansas City No Longer Being Considered says Steve Thompson of Bleacher Report

Here's another hockey writer saying Kansas City has left the picture in regards to gaining an NHL franchise. The focus of the article is Winnipeg and Canada in general, but author Steve Thompson has come up with what he believes are Gary Bettman and the NHL's four conditions for gaining a franchise:

1. Adequate fan support
2. A proper NHL-size arena
3. Credible investor(s)
4. No territorial conflicts

Thompson writes because of the first conditionfan supportKansas City is no longer being considered. I asked Steve in the comments where he came up with the conditions; he responded here and said, in part, "Kansas City built a proper NHL arena (18,000+) and there was speculation that the Islanders would move there. The Islanders played a pre-season game there and drew under 10,000. Since then there has been no talk about Kansas City getting a team. The bad fan support turned off the NHL."

So that makes two recent columns stating that no one's talking about Kansas City anymore (see my previous post). Even if that's the case, the only mentions of the NHL coming to Kansas City come in the form of speculation from the media and fans, not from the NHL. Bettman's company line all along has been that they will protect current markets and expansion is not imminent. Nothing has changed in that regard.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Kickin'

Sorry for the long dry spell, sports fans. I lost the memory stick on which scans from the Kansas City Times and Star were stored, so I haven't been able to get to Scouts notes. I began the tedious process of combing microfilm for the SECOND time in order to wrap up the off-ice notes for the end of the '75-'76 season and the sale and transfer of the team. Still have more to look through at the library though, so it might be a ways off. Also, I've been spending free time delving into Kansas City baseball history over at my new blog. As for coverage of the potential for a new NHL team in KC, I'm just not all that interested in passing along rumors and speculation, and that's all there is at the moment.

I will direct you to this column from the Winnipeg Free Press. The author, Randy Turner, is admittedly bitter about Winnipeg losing their team and the NHL's practice of moving into "non-traditional" markets in the US, and his tone is off-putting. But here is the relevant passage from the column:

...it's obvious to anyone listening to what you can't hear that the NHL's Great American Experiment is dead. Do you notice that no one ever mentions Kansas City or Las Vegas as possible relocation sites anymore? Just a few months ago, all you ever heard was that those two cities were one-two on the NHL's list. Now? Not a peep. And Kansas City is still sitting there with a brand-new arena, dying for a team.

And you're more likely to read a story about Quebec City's preparation to return to the NHL than Las Vegas.

Of course, putting teams in Las Vegas or Kansas City was a pipe dream to begin with, but that never stopped the league from floating the idea or pundits from repeating the possibility, without taking into account the millions of dollars flushed down the toilet in places like Tampa, Phoenix, Nashville and Atlanta.

I really haven't noticed a drop-off in rumors about KC. I still see "peeps" on my "Kansas City NHL" Google news alert. But all the smoke with no fire is getting old.