Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/25/05 at 01:56 PM ET
They announced Saturday’s crowd at 12,686, and you can take that two ways: 1. a flaming failure, because it’s 23 percent below the league’s average attendance in 2003-04 and better than the typical draw of just two teams that year; or 2. a resounding success, because organizers had just 59 days after the end of the lockout to sell tickets. Paul McGannon is president of NHL 21, organizer of this and previous exhibition games at Kemper Arena. The ultimate goal is to land an NHL franchise, with Carolina, Pittsburgh and Nashville being the most likely possibilities. “Our job is to cultivate the sport in Kansas City so that we don’t look at this as a regional sport,” McGannon says. “We’re one of the last places in the country that hasn’t really been exposed to a high level of hockey.” Asked how much “cultivation” is needed here, McGannon says, “a lot.” He figures hockey made a thousand new fans Saturday night, and that a hockey fan base can be built in two or three years, perfect timing for the opening of the Sprint Center. If it takes longer, that’s fine, too.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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