Say what you will about the policy decisions or tax implications in building a brand-spanking-new arena in the heart of TIF-Town Independence... did we really need it? Probably not.
Is some amazing architectural addition to the Independence sky-line? Not at all.
Was it fun to watch a fight break out in the first three seconds of play? Oh yeah.
Was watching the Missouri Mavericks beat the Wichita something-or-others in a shoot out bad ass? Hell yes, it was.
The small-town hockey team couldn't have asked for a better way to open the doors on its new home ice as they not only beat Wichita once, but twice in the weekend double-header.
Although hockey in Independence, and Kansas City for that matter, is still a little foreign, it was encouraging to see a sold out arena packed with people wearing old Blades jerseys, Blues jerseys and myriad others from around the NHL.
Granted, judging the success and failure of the arena cannot be measured in a single weekend (or week or month). The real test will be whether the Mavericks can keep up the wins and, in turn, keep the community behind them ... The Chiefs and The Royals are lucky enough to have some kind of legacy and can point to past success as a reason to keep them around.
I don't think the Mavericks will have that luxury.
Still, I'll be back... with more photos to come — of course.