It is inevitable the NHL is going to expand to 32 teams at soon. With the new realignment, the NHL will look to expand to in order to even out the divisions. It is no longer a question of “if” they will expand. It has now become a discussion of “when” and where.”
With this series, Predlines will look at 6 cities that are possible candidates for an NHL expansion team. Factors such as population, arena and previous hockey experience will be examined to decide the best place for the next NHL team. Where will the NHL expand its brand to next?
Arena: Sprint Center
Previous Hockey Experience: Had the NHL’s Kansas City Scouts, who are now known as the New Jersey Devils. They have also had multiple Central Hockey League teams.
Current Hockey Situation: Missouri Mavericks (CHL)
Team Name They Should Pick: Kansas City Sprinters
Why it will work: Kansas City has been a host to some preseason games, and the hockey fans in west Missouri sold the place out. Kansas City doesn’t have a weak fan base in their borders (yes, even the Royals have faithful fans), proving they can support another professional team. Hockey can be sold to the good people of Kansas City and they seem like a likely suitor behind Seattle.
Why it won’t work: I don’t see any reason why Kansas City couldn’t be a home for an NHL team. The only thing that stops them from getting a team is if the NHL expands to Seattle and Portland, leaving Kansas City on the outside looking in. In order for the state of Missouri to get a second team, an ownership group needs to step up and make a great sales pitch. If that happens, Kansas City has a really good shot at getting an NHL team.