Kansas City Scouts
|Kansas City Scouts|
|History||Kansas City Scouts
New Jersey Devils
|Home arena||Kemper Arena|
|City||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Colors||Blue, red, yellow and white
The Kansas City Scouts were 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 have since been 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 a franchise on June 8, 1972, and Kemper Arena was constructed to host the team's home 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 Mohawks, 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 because Mohawks sounded too much like Black Hawks. The team then held a contest for people to name the new team. The name Scouts was chosen, named after The Scout which is located in Penn Valley Park and overlooks downtown. The iconic statue was featured on the team's logo.
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 and tied one. The Scouts made their home debut on November 2, losing to the Black Hawks 4–3. The following day the team's first victory came, against the Washington Capitals, by a score of 5–4, in Washington.
Like many other expansion teams, the Scouts played poorly, garnering only 41 points with a record of 15-54-11 in their inaugural season. The team's record of 15–54–11 would be the best of their two-season history.
The team's second season started out with some promise. For a time in late 1975, the team was competing 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 a playoff position in the weak Smythe Division. However, the Scouts went into free fall after Christmas. After going winless from December 30 to February 4 (0-14-2), they managed to defeat the Capitals on February 7. However, they went 0-21-6 for the rest of the season. All told, the Scouts went 1-35-8 in their final 44 games, finishing their second and final season with a record of 12–56–12 and 36 points—still the worst record in franchise history.
In their two seasons, the Scouts went through three coaches–Bep Guidolin, Sid Abel (three-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.
Relocation to Denver
The Scouts suffered from inflated player costs, undercapitalized ownership, an economic downturn in the Midwest, poor performance on the ice and poor attendance. The Scouts drew an average of just 8,218 fans during their two years in 17,000-seat Kemper Arena (at a time when the league average was approximately 13,000). The team's 37 owners, buried in debt, mounted a season-ticket drive to raise more revenue. However, when only 2,000 people bought tickets, they concluded that the Scouts were not a viable venture and opted to sell. While the Capitals were far worse on the ice, their owner, Abe Pollin, was far better capitalized and had the patience to absorb the massive losses.
After just two seasons, the Scouts franchise was sold to a group headed by Jack Vickers, who moved the team to Denver and renamed it 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 last active player was Wilf Paiement, who retired in 1988.
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, most notably with the Kansas City Blades, which operated from 1990–2001 in the International Hockey League. Within a few years of the Blades' departure, plans started for what is now the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, which has led city officials to actively pursue a return to the NHL, speaking with several teams about possible relocation.
To this day, the Devils make almost no mention of their past as the Scouts or Rockies; the Devils' media guide and the history sections of the Devils' website do not acknowledge any captains, coaches or general managers prior to the move to New Jersey. However, inside of the Prudential Center, the Devils home rink, there is a mural on the second floor that shows the former arenas of the Rockies and Scouts, as well as the Brendan Byrne Arena, where the Devils played from 1982-2007.
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 head coaches
- List of defunct NHL teams
- Colorado Rockies
- New Jersey Devils
- "National Hockey League (NHL) Expansion History". Rauzulu's Street. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "History of the Kansas City Scouts". Sports E-Cyclopedia. Tank Productions. Retrieved 2006-03-25.
- Caggiano, Greg (2008-06-25). "Turnin' Back the Clock: Kansas City Scouts". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Cole, Suzanne P. "'The Scout': Still looking out for KC," The Kansas City (MO) Star, Saturday, December 25, 2010.