Kansas City Blades History

Blades Roster

For a full website devoted to the Blades, check out The Kansas City Blades Tribute Site

Seasons: 1990-2001
League: International Hockey League (IHL)
Home: Kemper Arena
Championships: 1991-92 Division Champs, 1991-92 Huber Trophy (Regular Season), 92 Western Conference Champs, 92 Turner Cup, 95 Eastern Conference Champs
Affiliations: 1991-96 San Jose Sharks (National Hockey League), 1997-99 Wichita Thunder (Central Hockey League), 1998-99 Arkansas GlacierCats (Western Professional Hockey League), 1999-2001 Missouri River Otters (United Hockey League), 2000-01 Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Team Colors: Red, Silver, Black

Prior to the Blades arrival, they were the former franchise of Toledo, Ohio (Goaldiggers, 1974-86). In a city poll Jazz was the most popular entry for a team name, but owners Russ and Diane Parker chose another; Blades. "First of all, we wanted a name with strong hockey connotations. This clearly identifies us as a hockey club." Olathe resident Kyle Horn was the winner of the "Name the Team" contest.

The same year the Blades began play in the IHL, two other franchises started. Those were the San Diego Gulls and Albany Choppers. The Choppers didn't finish their first season. The Gulls now play in the ECHL.

One main-stay of the Blades franchise was VP/GM Doug Soetaert. Soetaert served as head coach and director of hockey operations in the team's first season. The next season he was named GM, a position he held for ten years. He held the title of VP for five. In 1991-92, the league chose him as Executive of the Year. In his eleven years, the team qualified for the playoffs seven seasons, with a 38-32 record in post season, winning 8 of 14 series. The Blades all-time regular season record was 437-378-85.

In 1991, the Blades started an affiliation with the NHL San Jose Sharks. Names such as Arturs Irbe, Wade Flaherty, Sandis Ozolinsh, Viktor Kozlov, Jeff Odgers, Shean Donovan, and Andrei Nazarov were just a few of the future NHLers the Sharks sent the Blades.

In the first year, the affiliation proved fruitful, as it allowed the Blades to be a power-house. Under the leadership of Kevin Constantine, they blew through the regular season with a franchise best 56-22-4 record. This was the best record in pro hockey and an incredible turn around from year one. The Blades went through the playoffs with a 12-3 record and won the Turner Cup by sweeping the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

In the 92-93 season, the Blades had the league's winningest goalie. Wade Flaherty won 34 games. The Blades weren't able to repeat as champions, but they did go far through the playoffs.

The Blades were given another shot at the Cup, although no one thought the 94-95 team could do it. Under Jim Wiley, the Blades limped to a 35-40-6 record, garnering 76 points. The team managed to make the playoffs despite having missed them the year before with a 40-31-10, 90 point effort. The league and number of teams in the playoffs expanded. The Blades were fortunate enough to benefit from a rule that allowed them to play in the Eastern Conference playoffs, because they finished with a higher point total than the last place Eastern team. Fans weren't expecting a championship, but they knew these guys could pull off something as they finished the regular season on a good note.

In the 95 playoffs, the Blades pulled off 3 of the top ten upsets in IHL history to become Eastern Champions. The biggest upset belonged to the Blades after beating the Peoria Riverman in 5 games. The Blades went to the finals to lose to the Denver Grizzlies 4 games to none.

In March of 96, the Blades were purchased by Dan and Pam DeVos of Grand Rapids, MI. Mr. DeVos is co-owner of the Grand Rapids Griffins with David Van Andel. The Sharks cut ties with the Blades. They moved their affiliation to a new AHL team in Lexington, KY (Kentucky Thoroughblades). The Blades set up shop as an independent from 96-2000. In that time they received many prospects from NHL teams on-loan. Some of those include goalie Patrick Lalime, former Washington Capital forward Michal Pivonka and Calgary Flame defenseman Andrew Ference.

In July 97, KC saw long-time Blades captain Gary Emmons retire. Soon after, he was named Director of Player Personnel. On August 21, 98, Emmons was named Assistant, a position he held for two seasons. On February 21, 98, the Blades raised his number 15 to the rafters of Kemper Arena in a touching ceremony that featured video footage of his career and special messages from old pals, including former Blades and Sharks coach Kevin Constantine.

The 98 season would be heralded as the season that would "change the face of Kansas City hockey". It did. On July 9th, the Blades introduced a new logo that reminded many of the New York Rangers logo. That season also saw the return of KC fave Dody Wood. A return that many said would "change the face of opponents," as Wood was known as an enforcer.

During the 99-2000 season, the Tenth Anniversary of the team was celebrated by naming a Tenth Anniversary Team. Forwards Pat Ferschweiler, Wood, and Emmons, Defensemen Mike Colman and Claudio Scremin, Goalie Wade Flaherty, and Coach Constantine were named to the team, as voted on by the fans. The celebrating was marred, though. DeVos threatened to move the team to Oklahoma City. After a show of solidarity by fans at a city council meeting and Oklahoma City's distaste for the IHL and Blades (OKC wanted to keep their Central Hockey League team), DeVos signed a two-year lease agreement for Kemper and the team stayed.

For the 2000-01 season, the Blades signed a two-year affiliation agreement deal with the Vancouver Canucks. Many of the Blades players saw time with the club. Players such as Steve Kariya, Bryan Allen, Bryan Helmer, Brent Sopel, Josh Holden, Jarkko Ruutu and Harold Druken played for both the Blades and Canucks that season. On June 4, 01, after several weeks of speculation, the IHL folded. The last chance for the Blades was the Sharks relocating their newly purchased AHL franchise in KC. This time, the Blades couldn't be saved.
Last updated November 4, 2019