Last night the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders met for a preseason game in Kansas City’s Sprint Center. As reported on the main page, Jim Baumbach seems to think that, with attendance just below 10,000 (around 9,700) in an 18,000 seat arena, Kansas City hockey fans missed a large opportunity to show the Islanders and the Town of Hempstead that they were serious about wanting a hockey team. Sorry, Mr. Baumbach, but our poor showing is your team’s fault, not our city’s.
First off, this isn’t our first dance with a team that wants to take us to the prom to make his girlfriend at home jealous. We fell for it hook, line, and sinker when Mario Lemieux and the Penguins used similar tactics to get the hometown crowd motivated to build a new arena for their team. So we went out and bought a sexy $275 Million dress and tarted ourselves up for a team that likely would have never been allowed to move out of Pittsburgh in the first place. Don’t blame us for being a little more demure and blocking off sections of seats when we hear the exact same words out of another team’s mouth. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
I’m very happy with the attendance numbers from last night’s game. It shows that there’s enough hockey-starved fans in Kansas City that we may just be able to support a team after all (something of which I’m still not wholly convinced), but not so excited as to horribly frighten the Town of Hempstead back home that we’re a threat. Tell me, what happens if 17,000 people show up to that game? Does Kansas City get any closer to having the Islanders move here? I don’t think they do. I believe that a very large turnout would only serve to scare people into getting the Lighthouse Project passed. The best thing those thousands of other Kansas City hockey fans could have done is to have either stayed home or gone out and enjoyed another wonderful pitching performance by Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke.