|Kansas City Scouts|
The Kansas City Scouts was a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1974–76. In 1976 the franchise relocated to Denver, Colorado and became the Colorado Rockies. In 1982, the Rockies relocated to New Jersey where they are now known as the New Jersey Devils.
In 1974, the NHL ended its first expansion period by adding teams in Kansas City, Missouri and Washington, D.C. Kansas City was awarded their franchise on June 8, 1972, and Kemper Arena was constructed to host the team's games. Kansas City had been the home of several minor league ice hockey teams through the years. The Scouts shared Kemper Arena with the Kansas City Kings basketball franchise from the National Basketball Association. The arrival of the Scouts and Washington Capitals resulted in the NHL creating four divisions, and the Scouts were placed in the Smythe Division.
The Kansas City franchise was to be called the Kansas City MO-Hawks, since the Kansas City metropolitan area includes portions of Missouri and Kansas. The name would have combined Missouri's postal abbreviation (MO) and the Kansas nickname of "Jayhawkers." However, the Chicago Black Hawks objected to the name because it came too close to that of their own franchise. The team then chose the name Kansas City Scouts, named after the Kansas City Scout statue that overlooks the city.
On October 9, 1974, the Scouts took the ice for the first time at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and lost 6–2 to the Maple Leafs. To allow construction to be completed on Kemper Arena, the Scouts played their first eight games on the road. In those eight games, the Scouts lost seven games and tied one game. The Scouts made their home debut on November 2, losing to the Black Hawks 4–3. The following day, the team got their first victory, coming against the Capitals by a score of 5–4 in Washington.
Like most expansion teams, the Scouts played poorly, garnering only 41 points in their inaugural season.
The next season, the team won only 12 games, which still stands as the worst in Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise history. For a time in late 1975, the team was poised to compete for a playoff spot. After a 3–1 win over the California Golden Seals on December 28, they stood just one point behind the St. Louis Blues and playoff position in the weak Smythe Division. But the Scouts entered into a free-fall once 1976 hit, winning only one of their remaining 44 games (1–35–8), ending the season with a 27 game winless stretch, and finishing their second and final season with a record of 12–56–12 and 36 points.
In their two seasons the Scouts went through three coaches–Bep Guidolin, Sid Abel (3-game interim stint), and Eddie Bush. The team had two captains, Simon Nolet and Guy Charron. Steve Durbano led the league in penalty minutes during the 1975–76 season. Wilf Paiement was the last active player in the NHL to have played for the Scouts. He retired in 1988, ending his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Scouts failed to make the playoffs in either season in Kansas City and won only 27 of 160 games.
With a combined 32 teams between the NHL and the rival World Hockey Association, the talent available to stock the new teams in Kansas City and Washington was stretched thin. In their first season, the Capitals would set an NHL record for futility, losing 67 of 80 games, and only winning one on the road. The Scouts fared only marginally better, and the 1974 expansion was widely seen as having been a mistake.
The Scouts suffered from inflated player costs, a weak ownership group, an economic downturn, poor performance on the ice and poor attendance. The Scouts drew an average of just 8,218 fans during their two years (at a time when the league average was approximately 13,000). The owners quickly amassed massive debts. The team's 30 or so investors tried to initiate a ticket drive to allow the team to remain in Kansas City for a third season, but it failed.
Relocation to Denver
After just two seasons, the Scouts franchise was sold and relocated to Denver and renamed the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Rockies would play six NHL seasons in Denver, relocating to the east coast to become the New Jersey Devils following the 1982 season.
The Scouts and the California Golden Seals, who moved to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Barons the same year, were the first NHL teams to relocate since the 1935 season . Denver and Seattle were to have been granted franchises in an aborted 1976 NHL expansion.
Following the departure of the Scouts, Kansas City became a minor league hockey town again affiliating with a number of teams. Most notably, the Kansas City Blades, who operated from 1990–2001 in the International Hockey League. Within a few years of the Blades' departure, plans started for a new arena in downtown Kansas City, which has led city officials to actively pursue a return to the NHL, speaking with several teams about possible relocation.
In 2009, the Scouts were named as having one of the five ugliest uniforms in NHL history by Versus.com.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|1974–75||80||15||54||11||41||184||328||744||5th in Smythe Division||Out of playoffs|
|1975–76||80||12||56||12||36||190||351||984||5th in Smythe Division||Out of playoffs|
First Round Draft Picks
- 1974 NHL Expansion Draft
- List of Kansas City Scouts players
- List of Kansas City Scouts draft picks
- List of Kansas City Scouts seasons
- List of Kansas City Scouts head coaches
- List of defunct NHL teams
- Colorado Rockies
- New Jersey Devils
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