I love the look of this old program from the Central Hockey League (1963-1984). To my mind, the 1970’s was the Golden Era for illustrated programs like this one. The Kansas City Blues were a farm club of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues from 1967 to 1972. They played in the American Royal Building, a 6,100-seater named for the annual American Royal livestock show that ran each autumn.
The top player in this game was Curt Bennett, a 22-year old left winger for the Blues in his first year of pro hockey during the winter of 1970-71. Although Bennett was born in Saskatchewan to a Canadian father, he was raised in Rhode Island and attended Brown University. In the 1974-75 season, he scored 31-goals for the Atlanta Flames and earned his first of two invitations to the NHL All-Star Game. He is often referred to as the first American (or first “American-bred”) player to score 30 goals in a season in the NHL.
The Blues left Kansas City after the 1971-72 season. After the construction of Kemper Arena in 1974, the NHL came to town with the Kansas City Scouts, who lasted only two seasons before leaving for Denver. After the NHL departed, the Kansas City Blues were revived as a CHL franchise and St. Louis farm club for the winter of 1976-77 at Kemper Arena. After one season, the team switched its affiliation to the Detroit Red Wings and was known as the Kansas City Red Wings for the final two years of its existence. The Red Wings folded in 1979 and the CHL itself went out of business five years later in the summer of 1984.
The Blues’ opponent on this evening was the Amarillo (TX) Wranglers, an obscure and short-lived farm club of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wranglers first set-up shop in Amarillo in the winter of 1968-69, but shut down after one season due to poor attendance and financial losses. In an unusual move, Penguins founder Jack McGregor returned to Amarillo just one year later and re-established the Wranglers for the 1970-71 season. But the financial outlook for the club didn’t improve and the Wranglers would fold for the second and final time in the spring of 1971.