The List: The NHL’s Long Forgotten Teams

On this date in 1974, the NHL staged its first game in Kansas City. It would not be a long love affair.

The Kansas City Scouts were one of two NHL expansion teams who began play for the 1974-75 season, along with the Washington Capitals. Delays in the construction of Kemper Arena caused the Scouts to camp out on a long jamboree to launch their history, opening with eight games on the road.

By the time they got to their home opener Kansas City was already deep in an 0-7-1 hole. The Scouts would lose their first home game 4-3 to the Chicago Black Hawks and would finish their inaugural campaign 15-54-11.

The second season, things got much worse. The Scouts went through three coaches – Bep Guidolin, Sid Abel and Eddie Bush – en route to an 12-56-12 campaign.

It actually started well. KC was 3-2 after five games. It rapidly spiraled downward, though. The Scouts went 0-21-6 over their last 27 games, and 1-35-8 over the final 44 games.

Off the ice, trouble was also brewing. There was speculation in late February of 1976 that ownership might not be able to make payroll. If the team didn’t sell 8,000 season tickets by the summer, the Scouts could be relocated to another city.

A bid by the owners of the NBA’s Kansas City Kings to purchase the franchise was terminated in May. An attempt to put together another local ownership group never came to fruition. On July 26, 1976, the NHL announced the team was moving to Denver, where the Scouts became the Colorado Rockies.

In 1982, the Rockies would also move on, becoming the New Jersey Devils.

The Scouts weren’t the worst of the NHL’s short-lived homes. But they were close.

Short-Lived NHL Teams

Team Seasons Record Signature Moment Most Famous Player
Philadelphia Quakers 1930-31 4-36-4 (.136) Only NHL team to be SO in first 2 games NHL career scoring leader Syd Howe
Montreal Wanderers 1917-18 1-5 (.167) Beat Toronto Arenas 10-9 in first NHL game Hall of Famer Art Ross
Quebec Bulldogs 1919-20 4-20-0 (.167) Beat Stanley Cup champion Ottawa Senators 10-4 1919-20 NHL scoring champ Joe Malone
Kansas City Scouts 1974-76 27-110-23 (.241) Beat Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens 6-5 1972 Summit Series D Gary Bergman
St. Louis Eagles 1934-35 11-31-6 (.292) 2-1 win over Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons NHL career scoring leader Bill Cowley
Pittsburgh Pirates 1925-30 67-122-25 (.370) First US-based NHL team to make playoffs Hall of Famer Lionel Conacher
Cleveland Barons 1976-78 47-87-26 (.375) Beat Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens 2-1 60-goal scorer Dennis Maruk
Hamilton Tigers 1920-25 47-78-1 (.377) Player strike led to franchise shift to New York Hart Trophy winner Billy Burch


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