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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, Coloradomarker and became the Colorado Rockies. In 1982, the Rockies relocated to New Jerseymarker where they are now known as the New Jersey Devils.

Franchise history

In 1974, the NHL ended its first expansion period by adding teams in Kansas City, Missourimarker and Washington, D.C.marker Kansas City was awarded their franchise on June 8, 1972, and the newly-opened Kemper Arenamarker 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.

Kemper Arena served as the Scouts' home arena.


The Kansas City franchise was to be called the Kansas City Mohawks, since the Kansas City metropolitan area includes portions of Missouri and Kansasmarker. The Kansas City metropolitan areamarker spills across both states, being divided into sections called Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansasmarker). 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 Scoutmarker statue that overlooks the city.

On October 9, 1974, the Scouts took the ice for the first time at Maple Leaf Gardensmarker in Torontomarker and lost 6–2 to the Maple Leafs. Due to the American Royal Rodeo being held in Kansas City's brand-new Kemper Arenamarker, 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 of 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 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 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 (the Scouts, the NBA 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 Denvermarker 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 Clevelandmarker and became the Cleveland Barons the same year) were one of the first NHL teams since the 1935 season to relocate. Denver and Seattlemarker were to have been granted franchises in an aborted 1976 NHL expansion.

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. In 2006 the Sprint Centermarker opened in downtown Kansas City but lacked an NBA or NHL tenant and has been mainly used for concerts and small events.

Kansas City city officials have tried to land an anchor tenant at the Sprint Centermarker, 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 Pittsburghmarker. 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. The Sprint Center hosted another preseason NHL game between the Kings and New York Islanders in September 2009, drawing a crowd of just under 10,000 (a decent crowd considering that neither the Kings or the Islanders had a strong local following in KC).

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. With the Kings and Islanders having played a preseason game at Sprint Center in September 2009, most speculation has been put upon the Islanders. The Phoenix Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Kansas City could be a destination for a possible relocation by the franchise.

In 2009, the Scouts were named one of the five ugliest uniforms in NHL history by Versus.com

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Season GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
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
Totals 160 27 110 23 77 374 679 1728


Team captains



First round draft picks



See also



References



External links


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