The St. Louis Blues might be shopping their AHL affiliation around. The most likely spot is a currently vacant building to the west.
The St. Louis Blues have had a working relationship with the Chicago Wolves since 2013. Despite the oddity of St. Louis having anything to do with Chicago, it has worked out fairly well.
The only bad thing about the relationship has been the results as a team. The Wolves made the second round of the playoffs in 2013-14.
The next year, they crashed out in the first round. Last season the Wolves missed the playoffs completely.
While the Blues were involved in some coaching decisions, they had no ownership in the Wolves. The Wolves clearly did not make decisions that would fly in the face of the Blues prospect plan, but they were well within their rights if they wanted to do so.
The Wolves are their own organization and were essentially just loaning the Blues’ prospects. The Blues’ brass has been said to be dissatisfied with the way the Wolves play and their treatment of their prospects though. Due to that, the Blues are apparently looking for a more stable situation.
There were rumblings that the affiliation would not be renewed before the 2016-17 season. However, the Blues would have been without an AHL team for a year since all of that discussion came so late in the summer.
Now, the Blues are looking west. There are apparently plans to put the Blues affiliate in Kansas City.
From St. Louis’ perspective, it makes a lot of sense. You keep your AHL affiliate close enough so that you can easily make emergency calls, but also have a vested interest in the organization itself.
The Blues already have a “working partnership” with the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL even though they are not an official affiliate. So, having your AAA team just across the state as well keeps everything in a nice perimeter.
The question now is whether it is true and if it is, why there are a lot of denials coming from the area.
The rumors state that the Blues’ AHL affiliate would be in Kansas City, play in the Sprint Center and be owned by Lamar Hunt Jr. and former Blues player, Tom Tilley. However, Hunt is currently the owner of the Mavericks and the team came out and denied the reports.
On the one hand, it would make sense that the Mavericks would get in front of this. KC has a history of failed hockey teams, so the likelihood of two teams existing in the area is low.
On the other hand, there has been too much smoke lately for us not to think there is fire. Even in today’s society where everyone is more concerned with getting the story first than getting in right, there have been too many reports for it not to be accurate.
It just makes sense for all involved. Nothing against the ECHL, but if the Kansas City area can get an AHL team, it should want it.
The Sprint Center has not had a permanent tenant since opening. It’s a beautiful building, but a shame to waste on only concerts and basketball tournaments.
The Blues would have more control over personnel and staff. That gives them a more streamlined structure from the top down where all would be on the same page, or at least close to it.
St. Louis has already invested in building a fanbase in the Kansas City area. What better way to have that come to a head than have the team’s prospects play in the city night in and out?
None of this is a knock on the Wolves. In a city that has one of the most historic NHL teams in the league, they have carved out their own niche and built up one of the most loyal fanbases in the country.
The relationship just never seemed to click. The Wolves won’t be any worse off without the Blues and the Blues will be much better off if they control their own situation in Kansas City