Oh boy, I am pumped! The NHL may be coming to Kansas City. It’s not a sure thing; in fact, I’d say about a 30% chance, but it’s a chance. To make things even better, if the current situation pans out we’ll be getting, not an expansion franchise, but the Pittsburgh Penguins! (I know, too many exclamation points, but we might be getting the Penguins!)
It hinges on the state of Pennsylvania coming up with a new arena deal for them, something they haven’t been able to work out for 14 years. The Penguins play in crappy, 45 year old Mellon Arena. Kansas City will have The Sprint Center on line in October.
Mario Lemieux and the rest of the Penguin Bigwigs were in KC yesterday to look at the arena and listen to AEG’s (the owner/operator of the arena) proposal. I don’t think that there will be any better deal offered by any other group, Pittsburgh included. The basic details are: free rent, all luxury suites are pre-sold, and half ownership stake in the arena. The will get this for a 27 million dollar buy-in. That’s a sweet deal.
The only thing going against KC–and it’s a big thing–is Pittsburgh’s tradition. This is something that I will not root against. I don’t think that KC should steal a franchise from another city. AEG also said as much in a press conference today, they are right. Pittsburgh is a great hockey town and deserves to have the Penguins in perpetuity. However, if things fall through, I feel good about KC’s ability to pick up the pieces.
I can’t say that I hope the Penguins come, but it sure would be cool. And even if it does fall through, we’ve announced to all the other owners of current or future teams that KC is the place to come.