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AHL Spurns Kansas City, Leaves Blues In Lurch

Team was considering moving AHL operations across the state for 2017-18.

Calder Cup - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins v Chicago Wolves Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Blues fans who were hoping to see the team’s top prospects without leaving the state may be in for a disappointment, and the Blues may be searching for a place for those players to play.

Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press reported on Twitter today that David Andrews, the president/CEO of the American Hockey League, said the league is “not going to Kansas City,” leaving open the question of how the AHL would accommodate the incoming Vegas Golden Knights and refuting rumors that the Blues would have an affiliate there.

The Blues currently have an affiliate agreement with the Chicago Wolves, though that agreement expires at the conclusion of this season. The arrangement with Chicago has had both positives and negatives for the Blues, as veteran AHL players have been attracted to the city, but the lack of complete organizational control has created some friction over strategy and philosophy.

In November, NHL.com’s Lou Korac reported that the Blues had “pretty much a done deal” for an affiliation with a new AHL team to play in Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Today’s news casts that possibility in doubt.

The team would supposedly have been owned by Lamar Hunt, Jr., whose father founded the Kansas City Chiefs, and who currently owns the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks. The Blues currently use the Mavericks as their ECHL affiliate.

Korac’s report also suggested that the Blues would welcome an investment from Hunt in the near future, though the status of that investment remained unclear following today’s news.