Monday, September 26, 2011

Penguins vs. Kings

Sorry for neglecting this space. My blogging focus has shifted to my other sports love, baseball in Kansas City (here and here).

After a two-year hiatus, the NHL is returning to Kansas City for another preseason game tomorrow, September 27, the third such game at the Sprint Center.

Shockingly, it was announced today that the game has sold out. The previous two crowds were both disappointments: 11,603 and 9,972 were the announced crowds in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Somehow they have already sold 17,500 tickets for tomorrow's game. I don't know how to explain it, other than the Penguins being a marquee team and perhaps better marketing and promotion by AEG. The Blackhawks and Blues played here in 2003 at Kemper Arena and drew over 17,000, so perhaps the market is elastic depending on the name recognition of the teams involved. Another potential factor for increased interest and ticket sales could be the return of professional hockey to the area with the CHL Missouri Mavericks in 2009. The Mavericks have drawn quite well, no doubt converting quite a few new hockey fans.

I have argued in the past that the attendance at these games is not a great measuring stick for KC's viability as an NHL town, so I won't try to spin the sellout any other way. But it is certainly interesting, and something KC hockey fans can at least be excited about.

The press release announcing the sell-out also mentions that there will be a pre-game ceremony at 6:40. This is only a guess, but it could be to honor Kevin Gray, long-time president of the KC Sports Commission who passed away recently.

The LA Kings Insider blog has the probable Kings lineup for the game:

Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Hunter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Dustin Brown
Jordan Nolan - Andrei Loktionov - Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Ethan Moreau

Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene
Davis Drewiske - Slava Voynov

Jonathan Bernier - Jonathan Quick

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