Fans continue to hope for NHL, NBA franchise at Sprint Center

Fans hope for NHL, NBA team at Sprint Center
Fans hope for NHL, NBA team at Sprint Center
Posted at 10:09 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 23:09:08-04

For one night, NHL hockey returned to Kansas City.

The St. Louis Blues took on the Washington Capitals in NHL preseason action on Wednesday night to a near sell out crowd at the Sprint Center.

The game attracted plenty of hockey fans, including Jeff Ramsey.

"Growing up and not being from Kansas City, I'm not really a Chiefs or Royals fan, but I watch any kind of hockey," said Ramsey, who brought his family and wore a retro Team USA hockey jersey to the game.

Others, like James Taylor, wanted to take in the opportunity at the downtown arena.

"It's a great atmosphere," said Taylor, who brought his wife and two children to the game. "Just walking down here, everybody has their jerseys on and everybody is ready to go. It's like a Kansas City team that's playing tonight."

Sprint Center hosted the game almost nine years to the day it opened its doors after promising to try and lure an NHL or NBA franchise to the city.

Almost a decade later, Taylor wondered why the arena still doesn't have a permanent tenant.

"I've been wanting a hockey team here for so long," he explained. "I think having a local team here to play 30-40 games a year would bring in so many people and more people from out of town." 

Despite the lack of a pro sports franchise, organizers for Sprint Center said hosting the Big 12 Basketball Tournament and many concerts has helped revitalize the downtown area.

"We like to think that we brought a lot of energy into the neighborhood," explained Sprint Center Senior Vice President and General Manager Brenda Tinnen. "It's great to see so many people out on the street enjoying this."

After efforts to attract teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins to Kansas City fell short, Tinnen said the arena has still been able to flourish.

"Obviously, with the lack of an anchor tenant, we have an open calendar, and I think we have a lot of diversity in terms of the events we have here," she said.

With Sprint Center continuing to be one of the busiest arenas across the country, Tinnen added that enthusiasm surrounding events at the arena has added to its success.

"Everyone is so passionate and they do support," she explained. "They show up as you can see tonight."

After a night filled with cheers and goals, fans continue to hope live professional hockey becomes a regular occurrence in Kansas City.

"I think if we had a team here that played 40 games a year, it would just explode," said Ramsey.

Sprint Center will also host NBA preseason action between the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, October 8.



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