The St. Louis Blues are reportedly starting a new AHL affiliate team in Kansas City as early as next season, as reported by Lou Korac.
The Blues’ relationship with the Chicago Wolves has been in place for the past four years but is expected to end as soon as the current season concludes. The new Kansas City AHL team will reportedly be owned by Lamar Hunt Jr. and former Blues defenseman Tom Tilley with the plans calling for the team to skate in the city’s Sprint Center which has previously hosted Blues exhibitions.
Korac mentions that Hunt Jr. may also become a partial owner of the Blues in the future.
Hunt Jr., who has long wanted to own an NHL franchise, is said to be someone in the not-too-distant future to buy a stake in the Blues and become part of current Blues owner Tom Stillman’s group.
The news of the Blues parting ways with the Chicago Wolves shouldn’t be too surprising. The Blues had a rather awkward relationship with the team considering the Blues had no ownership, but they were able to partially influence decisions made by the club. Following the agreement of a one-year extension prior to the 2016-17 season, it became apparent change was coming.
Though this news hasn’t been officially confirmed by the Blues, the decision makes a lot of sense. The Blues didn’t have a ton of control over their AHL affiliate and that’s not an ideal position to be in when the future of the NHL club is at stake. The relationship with the Wolves always seemed to be a temporary one that may have lasted a bit longer than some expected.
Kansas City as a market also makes a lot of sense for an AHL team. Though the AHL doesn’t have the same allure of the NHL, Blues fans in Kansas City should have no issue supporting the new team of Blues prospects.