(Note: I know I did a version of this poll article last year, but I wanted to see if opinions have changed now that it's a more real possibility. Please humor me here. Thank you)
Last night, the Arizona Coyotes held a vote for the city of Tempe to decide upon the plans for a new arena to be built for the professional hockey team. The vote was, unsurprisingly, rejected outright, because who actually thinks that hockey in Arizona of all places would work? Well, I guess the NHL did for a while, but after this vote I would find it hard to believe that Gary Bettman and company would still find it feasible. The franchise has nowhere else to go, and potentially by the end of this NHL season they will be in the process of finding a new home in a new city.
One particular location of note just so happens to be Kansas City. Kansas City is listed as the 2nd ranked city among most polls as the most likely Coyotes franchise relocation destination. Quebec City and Houston, as I've seen it, are generally in front if not KC. The Coyotes could readily relocate to Kansas City, as the T-Mobile Center has the capacity and ability to hold NHL games. Kansas City bigwigs such as Mayor Quinton Lucas and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes have openly voiced their support for the Coyotes to relocate to Kansas City. The T-Mobile Center is also located right next to the Power & Light District, a popular entertainment sector that is frequented by sports fans on gamedays for any local teams. The relocation would cost little if anything in public funding, and it would be a new attraction in Kansas City for folks to enjoy. Not only that, but the growth of sports in Kansas City has been monumental these past few years, and adding to that only further puts Kansas City on the map as one of the best cities in the United States.
What are the flaws then? What would make the Coyotes/the people of Kansas City NOT want to relocate the franchise to Kansas City? For one, Kansas City has already had an NHL hockey team. The Kansas City Scouts existed from 1974-1976 and played at Kemper Arena. They were downright awful, winning less than 20 games each of their two seasons before relocating to first Colorado, then to New Jersey where the franchise currently resides as the New Jersey Devils. Secondly, the interest in hockey in the Kansas City area is shaky. In last year's poll, many of you wanted an NBA team over an NHL team, even when I had the option of both open. That minority that voted for the NHL or both, however, was extremely vocal in supporting the idea of the NHL coming to KC. Readers such as Brett Doze said they'd "Love to see it." and others said that there needs to be a downtown sports presence in Kansas City. You could argue that that will be the Royals in a few years, but does anyone REALLY want that outside of Sherman as of now? I digress. Finally, the Kansas City Mavericks, the ECHL franchise that resides in the city (ECHL is a minor league hockey organization, think like an AA league in baseball) While the team does alright for attendance in respect to the ECHL, attendance has dwindled heavily since COVID. From an average 0f 4,783 fans a game in 2019-20, to now 3,288 in the 2022-23 season according to hockeydb.com. That is 23rd out of the 27 ECHL franchises. This being said, it's minor league hockey. Minor league sports obviously do not garner nearly as much attention as major league, and again, Kansas City has been known to embrace new things and ideas especially pertaining to sports over the past couple of years. This could be a HUGE driver for hockey in not only Kansas City, but in the United States as a whole as Kansas City has shown with the growth of soccer. It also could make the city a ton of money and build Kansas City even further as one of the landmark sports cities in the US. However, it could also fall flat on its face, especially if the team proves to be not all that great the first couple of years they're here.
What do you think though? Have your thoughts changed since last year's poll? (If you took part) Any stipulations that you feel I missed that need to be discussed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Burn Notice: 10/10 The ice is melting in Arizona. Gotta move somewhere colder (At least most days out of the year)