Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kansas City, Miami Approved as PHL Franchises

On September 1, 1987, PHL Commissioner Alan Garcia made the announcement everybody was waiting for. Kansas City and Miami would be accepted as expansion franchises for the 1989-90 season, bringing the league to 26 teams. Kansas City had been pursuing a franchise throughout the 1980s, while Miami had been a fairly recent bid, beating out another strong bid from Cleveland. "It's exciting to be able to welcome Kansas City and Miami to our league" said Garcia. "We had some difficult choices to make as there were some very good options out there but we're confident that we made the right decision."

The league assembled a committee to determine the top three expansion bids, before Garcia and the board of governors chose the two winning cities. Kansas City earned the most votes with 11, while Miami and Cleveland tied for second with 9 each. In the end, Miami was chosen over Cleveland in an effort to expand the PHL's footprint into the American southeast and to add a major emerging television market. "A lot of people have been questioning Miami as a hockey market" said deputy commissioner Darryl Byrd. "I say why not? Look at the success LA has had in a non-traditional market. It's obvious, given their success in baseball, that Mr Cruz and his people are committed to building a winning tradition  and I don't believe the hockey team will be any different."

The announcement comes as a disappointment for Cleveland in particular. "It was a tough decision to exclude Cleveland again this time" said Garcia. "The city of Cleveland will be a high priority in the next round of expansion, as well as any possible franchise relocations in the coming seasons."

Ken Milliken said the Kansas City franchise was very close to deciding on a name and would likely have a logo and uniforms by the summer of 1988. Cruz said there is no timetable yet for Miami's identity, but the team hopes to at least have a name chosen by next summer.

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