Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

The Kansas City Scouts began as a 1974 NHL expansion team, entering the league along with the Washington Capitals. At the time, the NHL was waging a war with the rival World Hockey Association, and both leagues were eager to get a foothold into new arenas before their rivals did… As a result, the 1970’s involved plenty of expansion and relocation for both leagues.
1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts
The original name of the team was meant to be the Kansas City Mohawks, but the Chicago Black Hawks objected that the name was too similar to theirs. As a result, the name “Scouts” was adopted. The name and the team logo both come from a famous statue called “The Scout”; it depicts a Sioux indian and overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Scouts got off to a slow start in both play and attendance. Season ticket sales were much lower than projected, and the only NHL team with a worse record than the Scouts was the woeful Capitals.
1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Both the team and attendance continued to be bad in the second season. The Scouts had trouble finding financial backing for the team. At one point they were to be bought by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings, their “roommates” in the Kemper Arena, but that deal fell through.
1976-77 Topps Gary Bergman
Problems continued for the Scouts, and the NHL realized that expanding to Kansas City was a mistake. Things got so bad that the league threatened to terminate the franchise if it were not sold. A buyer was found that moved the team to Denver after just two seasons… and no, the Scouts did not become the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll get into that in my next “Forgotten Franchises” post.

Kansas City has not seen major professional hockey since the Scouts left town. Both the Penguins and Islanders were flirting with the idea in recent years (or using KC as a bargaining tool, take your pick), but neither move took place.

I am a “franchise nerd”. For reasons I cannot explain, I am interested in the franchise histories of all sports, even the sports I don’t otherwise care about.

I don’t follow any particular soccer team or player, but I always keep an eye out for news about MLS expansion.

I don’t care for basketball and couldn’t give a damn about the NBA, and yet when I see a basketball card featuring a player for the Memphis Tams, I become intrigued.

When the “AAA” American Hockey League simultaneously shifted five teams to California last  month, it had zero effect on my life… but there I was Googling for more information about it.

I figure there must be others who find this stuff interesting. With that in mind, I’m starting this series on the basic histories of “dearly departed” franchises from most of the major North American sports. If there’s any particular teams you’d like to see covered, or if you have any other suggestions, you know what to do.


13 thoughts on “Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

  1. Yup I love forgotten franchises of the past from any sport. Great post, and I never knew that the Scouts logo was based on that statue.

  2. I’m with you as well. I often bore my wife to death telling her about team moves. I also skipped ahead to see what became of the Scouts. I must have stopped following hockey in the mid-seventies because I have absolutely no memory of any of those “interim” teams.

  3. Great stuff! I love the history of franchises. I saw the Kansas City Kings play in Houston. Houston alum Otis Birdsong was on the Kings and he left tickets for a bunch of his old school pals. I hadn’t thought about that team in years.

  4. For me the best part of your article is the fact that I am wearing a Kansas City Scouts T-shirt while I am reading it. I got it and a California Golden Seals shirt at the same time, so obviously I too am interested in defunct sports teams.

  5. Pingback: FINALLY! The Finals! | The Shlabotnik Report

  6. Pingback: A Scout Is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly… | The Shlabotnik Report

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