Kansas isn’t the first state that comes to mind when you think of ice hockey.
However, professional hockey has been in the Sunflower State for over 40 years! The Wichita Wind were a minor league pro ice hockey team in Wichita, Kansas that operated from 1980 to 1983. They were the affiliated farm team for the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils.
Fast-forward to a few decades and Kansas still has pro hockey and other high level hockey teams!
In this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in Kansas and what college and junior teams compete in the state.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Florida, What Hockey Team Is in Delaware, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Kansas:
While Kansas doesn’t have an NHL team, they do have one pro hockey team: The Wichita Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Their top college hockey team is University of Kansas (ACHA Men’s D3).
Does Kansas Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Kansas’ top hockey team?
Kansas has several ice hockey teams. However, they don’t have an NHL team as it’s a smaller state (2.9 million people), and there are too many competing markets nearby (Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars).
The top hockey team in Kansas is a mid-level professional hockey team: Wichita Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
The Thunder are the affiliated farm team for the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The top college hockey team in Kansas is the University of Kansas men’s ice hockey team (ACHA Men’s D3).
Does Kansas Have an NHL Team?
So, will you find an NHL hockey team in Kansas?
The short answer is, no. Kansas’ population is about 2.9 million people which is a bit too small for an NHL team. Plus, they have too many nearby hockey markets like the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Dallas Stars.
What NHL Team Does Kansas Root For?
Kansas doesn’t have its own NHL team. However, The Sunflower State still has a very active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for Kansans is the Colorado Avalanche. This is primarily due to the fact that the Avalanche (in Denver, Colorado) are the (2nd) closest geographical NHL team to Kansas, located about 7.5 hours of a drive away from Kansas’ capital city, Topeka. While the St. Louis Blues are a closer team, most Kansans cheer for The Avalanche perhaps due to their greater level of success in the NHL than the Blues. The “runner up” team would be the St. Louis Blues.
What Hockey Teams Are in Kansas?
So, what hockey teams are in Kansas? The Sunflower State has professional and college hockey teams as listed below:
While Kansas has one professional hockey team, they, unfortunately, don’t have an NHL team.
Kansas doesn’t currently have an American Hockey League (AHL) team. The AHL is a high-level professional sports league just one step below the NHL.
Kansas has one professional ice hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). This is a mid-level professional sports league just one step below the AHL.
What is the name of the Kansas ECHL team? Wichita Thunder.
The Thunder are the affiliated farm team for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
So, where do the Wichita Thunder play? The Thunder play their home games at INTRUST Bank Arena located at 500 E Waterman St, Wichita, KS 67202.
D3 College Hockey
While Kansas has been better known for its junior ice hockey over the years, they do have some college hockey. The state has one college hockey team that competes within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) in D3: the University of Kansas men’s ice hockey team.
Kansas (until recently) had two junior ice hockey teams.
The Topeka Pilots (originally Topeka RoadRunners) were a Tier II junior ice hockey team that competed in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). They played between 2007 and 2020.
Kansas’ other ex-junior hockey team was the Wichita Jr. Thunder, a Tier III team that competed in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). They played between 2012 and 2020.
Is There High School Hockey in Kansas?
Yes, there is high school hockey in Kansas. While the Sunflower State doesn’t have a single governing body for all high school hockey, they’re led by two multistate leagues.
The first is the Mid West High School Hockey League with teams from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. The second is the Mid America High School Hockey League with teams from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. Within each league, there are varsity and junior varsity sectors.
In the Mid West High School Hockey League, there are 13 varsity teams:
- Kansas City
- DM Oak Leafs
- Sioux City
- Mason City
- DM Capitals
- Quad City
- Cedar Rapids
In the Mid West High School Hockey League, there are 13 junior varsity teams:
- Kansas City JV
- DM Oak Leafs JV
- Omaha JV
- Sioux City JV
- Lincoln JV
- Mason City JV
- DM Capitals JV
- Dubuque JV
- Quad City JV
- Fremont JV
- Ames JV
- Waterloo JV
- Cedar Rapids JV
In the Mid America High School Hockey League, there are 11 varsity teams:
- KC Stars
- KC Saints
- KC Knights
- Rockhurst High School
- Carriage Club
In the Mid America High School Hockey League, there are 10 junior varsity teams:
- KC Stars JV1
- St. Joseph
- KC Knights
- Rockhurst High School
- KC Saints
- KC Stars JV2
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).