Kansas City Blades

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Kansas City Blades
Kc blades logo.png
City Kansas City, Missouri
League IHL (1990 to 2001)
Operated 1990-2001
Home arena Kemper Arena
Colors Red and White
Owner(s) Russ and Diane Parker (1990-1996)
The DeVos Family (1996-2001)
Head coach Doug Soetaert (1990-1991)
Kevin Constantine (1991-1993)
Jim Wiley (1993-1996)
Vasily Tikhonov (1996)
Don Jackson (1996-1997)
Paul MacLean (1997-2000)
Stan Smyl (2000-2001)
Franchise history
1974-1986 Toledo Goaldiggers
1990-2001 Kansas City Blades
Turner Cups 1 1991-1992
Blades Logo 1998-2001

The Kansas City Blades were a professional ice hockey team in the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1990–2001 until the demise of the league after the 2000–01 season. The Blades were based in Kansas City, Missouri at Kemper Arena.

Team history[edit]

Russ and Diane Parker bought the dormant Toledo Goaldiggers franchise and moved it to Kansas City in 1990. A name the team contest was held and the most popular name was "Jazz" (to complement the St. Louis Blues across the state). However, the Parkers did not want to use a name already used in sports (the NBA's Utah Jazz). The second most popular name was "Blades," which coincidentally was the name of the IHL franchise which preceded the Goaldiggers in Toledo.

For the 1990-91 season, the Blades was an independent team. From 1991-1996, they were the primary affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. However, under pressure from the National Hockey League, which suspected the IHL was angling to become a major league, the Sharks and Blades went their separate ways in the summer of 1996. This meant the Blades were once again an independent team. This coincided with the sale of the team to the DeVos family, which also owned stakes in the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Orlando Solar Bears. The DeVos family made drastic changes to the team on and off ice, many of which did not bode well with longtime fans. One of the changes was an overhaul of the team logos and uniforms that was unveiled in July 1998. The new logo was created by Sean Michael Edwards Design (SME) of New York City. For their final season, the Blades became the primary affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. The affiliation agreement was meant to be for two seasons, but the Blades, and the entire IHL, ceased operations one year into the partnership.

The Blades' best season was in 1991–92, when they won the Turner Cup in only their second season under the coaching of Kevin Constantine. The Blades advanced to the Turner Cup finals again in 1995, only to lose in four straight games to the Denver Grizzlies.

During the 2000 season, rumors became reality, as the DeVos family attempted to move the Blades franchise to Oklahoma City. Faithful fans held a "Save the Blades" rally to persuade local government to keep the team in Kansas City. In the end, the team would not move to Oklahoma City due to disputes between the league and both cities. By this point, the DeVos family was no longer welcome by Blades fans and was often booed on their rare appearances in Kansas City.

The effort to save the franchise proved to be a dead letter. Due to financial troubles, the IHL ceased operations in the summer of 2001. Surviving IHL teams were admitted into the American Hockey League for the 2001–02 season. Because of league rules, owners could only control one team. The DeVos family chose to move the Griffins to the AHL (since they were based in the family's hometown of Grand Rapids) and fold the Solar Bears and Blades.

Hockey is still popular in Kansas City. NHL exhibition games are held regularly in the city. The Blades were replaced by the Kansas City Outlaws of the United Hockey League for one season, before they ceased operations. The Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL now play in nearby Independence. In 2007, the Sprint Center opened in downtown Kansas City; it was built specifically to attract an NHL or NBA team. While NHL teams have threatened to move to Kansas City, none have done so.

NHL alumni[edit]


On the April 17, 1999, 269 fans with missing teeth received free admission as part of a "Toothless Night" promotion.[1]


  1. ^ Weekes, Don & Banks, Kerry, "The Unofficial Guide to Hockey’s Most Unusual Records", Greystone Books, 2003

External links[edit]