|History||Kansas City Scouts
1974 – 1976
1976 – 1982
New Jersey Devils
1982 - present
|Home Arena||Kemper Arena|
|City||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Colors||Blue, red and yellow|
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 the newly-opened Kemper Arena was chosen 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 Kansas City metropolitan area spills across both states, being divided into sections called Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas). The name would have also appealed to Missouri's postal abbreviation (MO) and the Kansas "Jayhawkers" from the Civil War. However, the Chicago Black Hawks objected to the name because it came too close to that of their own franchise. The team then chose 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. Due to the American Royal Rodeo being held in Kansas City's brand-new Kemper Arena, where the Scouts played their home games, the Scouts were forced to wait nine games before making their home debut. In those nine games, the Scouts lost eight 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 team's record of 15–54–11 would be the best they would ever finish in their two-season history. In their inaugural season, the team lost its final 21 games.
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 in the weak Smythe Division. The Scouts could win only one of their remaining 44 games (1–35–8), and finished their second and final season with a record of 12–56–12 and 36 points.
In just two seasons the Scouts went through three coaches–Bep Guidolin, Sid Abel, and Eddie Bush. The team had only one captain, their leading scorer for two seasons, Simon Nolet. 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 30 teams between the NHL and the rival World Hockey Association, the talent pool available to stock the new teams in Kansas City and Washington was extremely thin at the time. 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 expansion to Kansas City was widely seen as having been a mistake.
The Scouts began to suffer from an economic downturn in the Midwest. For their second season, the Scouts sold just 2,000 of 8,000 season tickets and were nearly a million dollars in debt. The team's 37 investors tried to initiate a ticket drive, but it failed. Rising oil prices and a falling commodity market made Kansas City, which had four professional franchises in the city at the time (Scouts, Kings, Royals, and Chiefs) a difficult market to survive in.Relocation to Denver
After just two seasons, with its owners $900,000 in debt, the Scouts franchise was 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 (along with the California Golden Seals, who moved to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Barons the same year) were one of the first NHL teams since the 1935 season to relocate. Denver and Seattle were to have been granted franchises in an aborted 1976 NHL expansion. Both Kansas City and Seattle have been without an NHL franchise since.Legacy
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 2003, Kemper Arena hosted the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks in a preseason game. The game drew a sell-out crowd of over 17,000.
Kansas City city officials have tried to land an anchor tenant at the Sprint Center, which opened in 2006. In 2006, the Pittsburgh Penguins were rumored to be interested in relocating to Kansas City. Penguins owner Mario Lemieux later admitted that it was a marketing ploy to give leverage for a new arena in Pittsburgh. On September 23, 2008, Sprint Center hosted a preseason game between the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. The Kings won 2–1 in front of a crowd of 11,603, good numbers for even a preseason game. It was the first hockey game at the year-old Sprint Center and what city officials hope is the first step toward landing an NHL team. However, the poor showing for the Scouts in the mid-1970s has detracted from the NHL's interest. The city also does not seem to have much of an infrastructure to build up hockey from the grass roots level, just a handful of ice rinks dotting the area. Sprint Center will host another preseason NHL game between the Kings and New York Islanders for the 2009–10 season.
In 2007, William "Boots" Del Biaggio III made an offer to purchase the Nashville Predators of the NHL with the intention of bringing the team to the Sprint Center. However, Del Biaggio later joined a group of Nashville investors in an effort to keep the Predators in Nashville. In June 2008, Kansas City's hopes to land the Predators took another blow as Del Biaggio ran into legal trouble over a multitude of unpaid loans, culminating in him filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, effectively ending any chance of Del Biaggio moving the Predators to Missouri.
Expansion may seem the likeliest option for Kansas City, but there are those who believe the fan culture in the town wouldn't have the patience for the foundational building process that goes with it. The Florida Panthers and New York Islanders have been mentioned as possible teams for relocation.
Kansas City Scout
|1974/75 - 1975/76|
1974 - 1976
1974 - 1976
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|
The Kansas City Scouts Hall of Famers
No hall of famers for the Kansas City Scouts hockey club.