Hell yeah, another NHL exhibition game! This October 6th, Kansas City-area hockey fans will have the treat of seeing the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche play a late-preseason hockey game. At the Sprint Center. Here, in KANSAS CITY!!! This is an interesting matchup between two teams that have absolutely no reason to come here to play a game (let's get the rumor started that the Avalanche are relocating, shall we?). It's already been said and assumed, but this is the first game that does not feature the Blues (the club with the closest geographic proximity), the Kings (owned by AEG), or teams with a history of wanting to relocate (Islanders and Penguins–the Pens after the fact, of course). This means, presumably, that the NHL and AEG are either a) continuing to test the waters in Kansas City to see just how popular the NHL brand is here or b) just giving us what we want. I know I speak for all KC hockey fans when saying who gives a crap why we get another exhibition game here, I'm just glad we get one. Also, OH WELL WHO CARES LOL HOCKEY!!!!!
I've mentioned it before, and I will do it again and again and again every year that at least one exhibition game plays here, but this means something to KC hockey fans. If you are a hockey fan in or around KC, and this doesn't mean something to you, "well, then, that's, like, your opinion, man," and your opinion is wrong. Yes, we all enjoy the Mavericks, and yes, we all want an NHL team, but it's just not a reality at the moment. Five years from now, though, could be a different story. This is our game (not "Our Time," because holy crap) to enjoy the NHL. Just think how much fun our cross state neighbors had this season with the Blues. Or think about those hockey fans in South Florida, finally getting to see playoff hockey for the first time since 2000. Or, jeez, if I could find a video of the LA Kings Fanzone/LA Live pre-game stuff for their playoff games, wow, THATS a party any hockey fan can enjoy. We may have that one day, but for right now, for at least one night, that's us, man. That's freakin' us.
And, for you local Avs and Rangers fans, I can tell you as a Kings fan, seeing the team I follow in the arena in my hometown is like a dream come true. It's just...well, let me put it this way: It's better than sex, if sex was performed on ice.
For one game we have a hockey team to follow right here in our own hometown, that's why it's so frustrating to read an interview with ESPN's senior vice-president Vince Doria who says, "hockey doesn't...transfer much to a national discussion" when asked why ESPN doesn't have much hockey coverage. Pardon my French (kids, close your eyes for the next few words), but I call bullshit. It's bullshit that hockey isn't in "the national discussion." It's bullshit that radio/TV talk shows don't talk about it. He goes on to say, "For whatever reason, and this is my unsubstantiated research on it, hockey doesn't generate that same kind of interest nationwide [Ed: bold is mine]," which is somehow even bigger bullshit that saying hockey isn't part of a national discussion. Doria, as a professional in his field, holds a myopic view of American culture. Patrick Burns over at Deadspin is right to say that ESPN, for better or worse, forms the national discussion. They have risen to a point of dictating all talking points of the casual sports fan, but saying that sports conversations can't happen organically makes us hockey fans seem like grain-defying hipsters. No, KC isn't an NHL or NBA market, so no, our talk radio shows will not give them a lot of air time. But, there are fans of all teams here (yes, even Blackhawk fans), and it's not like the NHL is only spoken about in a 23-city vacuum in America. Hey look, here's a Kings fan (me). Oh, wow, Blues fans (most hockey fans around the state of Missouri). Oh, look over there, Pens fans (80% of the exhibition crowd last year, apparently). Wow, even a Rangers fan. How exotic.
The point to all of this: For one night we get to have our own conversation, and hopefully one day, sooner rather than later (but definitely not that soon), we will have about 82 of these conversations every year.
Oh, yeah, also, don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @FlubberMcGee. I already have a bunch of KC related hockey links for you to check out, and even more now with the news of the exhibition game. Check it out and stay up to date.