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The Kansas City Scouts- A history

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03-23-2013, 11:25 AM
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yave1964
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The Kansas City Scouts- A history

A long time ago in a galaxy far away there used to be a professional hockey team called the Kansas City Scouts. They lasted two seasons as an expansion team in the NHL s worst planned expansion in history, which is saying a lot for a league that seems to have a history of not thinking things through.

In the 1970s the NHL had its first real rivalry, an upstart league called the World hockey Association. The NHL first ignored then sued then took the league on head to head and toe to toe, salaries for Nhlers tripled, talent levels dipped as the two leagues put more teams in more cities to compete against each other. The NHL expanded to Long Island to keep the WHA out of New York; they expanded to Atlanta to drive the WHA out of the south. Then in one of their zanier moments the NHL decided to expand to Washington D.C. and Kansas City to take those possible markets from the WHA. Originally the team was to be named the Mohawks but Chicago put a kibosh to that *****ing that the name Hawks belonged to them. The team chose the name Scouts instead, because of a famous statue that overlooks the city.

This was the thinnest crop ever for an expansion team to choose from. First off, the raiding of talent by the WHA had thinned the ranks of lower level players as well as career minor leaguers, who went from making ten to twelve grand to thirty grand plus a season in the new league. So the NHL was thinned down talent wise, plus with expansion in recent seasons in Buffalo, Vancouver, Atlanta and Long Island by the time that Washington and K.C. got up to bat the cupboards were bare. There realistically was not enough talent to go around. Washington ended up with the all-time worst record in NHL history their first season, a team bad of biblical proportions. The Scouts were wretched but not that bad.

They actually did draft okay, the Goalies were taken first, they chose Michel Plasse from Montreal where as Ken Dryden’s backup he had went 18-6-5 over the previous two seasons, then Peter Mcduffe of the Rangers who was stuck behind Eddie Giacomin. Then the draft of regular players commenced.

Simon Nolet, a scrappy little winger who had won the cup with the Flyers the previous season was the first pick. Gary Coalter who was toiling for Charlie Finley out in Oakland was a good addition as a scoring wing with pick five. And out of the twenty two players picked that is about it for contributors.

I don’t blame Sid Abel the general manager; I blame the system which was rigged against the two new teams. The talent pool if you have a dark enough sense of humor to call it that was so putridly thin that the Scouts and Capitals desperately tried to put something which more resembled a silk purse than the sow’s ear which was on the ice night after night. They hired a proven winner of a coach in Bep Guidolin who had done very well in Boston, they drafted well with their first round pick in the regular draft, bringing in Wilf Paiement, who would play for fifteen years as a solid power forward. They traded for Guy Charon, a crafty veteran center who put up decent numbers; they also traded Plasse for Dennis Herron a solid goalie from Pittsburgh. They added Gary Bergman to anchor the blue line just a couple of years before Bergman had been the anchor of the Canadian team’s defense in the summit series against the Soviet Union. Steve ‘phycho’ Durbano, perhaps the most feared goon in hockey was brought in for grit.

It was not nearly enough.

Too many players who had no business on an AHL roster let alone an NHL one doomed this team from the start. In the two seasons that the Scouts were open for business fifty players wore their sweater, out of them nineteen never played in the NHL for another team again. Think about that, forty per cent of the players who they were throwing out there night after night were not good enough to play for anyone else in the NHL during a period of teams who were desperate to put players on the ice.

The first season should have told people how it was destined to go, they shared the Kemper Arena with the NBA Kings, but they had to rearrange their schedule to begin their existence with a ball breaking nine game road trip because the Arena had been booked in advance by the rodeo. Really, they didn’t play at home until the third week because their arena was preempted by a rodeo. They went 1-8 on the road trip and never recovered they wound up 15-54-11 in the Smythe division for 41 total points. Nolet lead the team in scoring with 58 points and tied Paiement in goals with 26. Charon scored 42 points in only 51 games after coming over from Detroit. That is about the only highlights I can think of.

The second season was worse, they went 12-56-12 for a total of 36 points, and Durbano lead the league in penalty minutes making him the only scout to ever lead the league in anything. A few notables stumbled through Kansas City in the midst of mediocre careers, henry Boucha who played in the NHL with a headband during his career came in in season two trying to resurrect his career from damn near losing an eye to a cheap shot by Dave Forbes of the bruins a few years before. Craig Patrick who a few years later was the assistant coach to Herb Brooks on the miracle on ice team played as a second line winger. Bill McKenzie the backup goalie was a very unimpressive 1-16-1.

Two seasons of uninteresting and bad hockey doomed the team, they moved to Colorado before the next season. Rumors have circulated for years that the NHL is considering bringing a team back there, as recently as a few years ago it looked like the isles may be heading there.

The scouts legacy if they have one is a case of two much expansion too soon, something the NHL didn’t learn when they went through a run of expansion thinned talent pools in the late nineties and early 2000s. This is a league that never seems to learn from its mistakes just seems to make the same ones over and over.

One of my all-time favorite hockey names Bart Crashley played a few minutes for the Scouts. Love that name. Anyway, here are the all-time greatest if you can call them that Kansas City Scouts…..


RIGHT WING SIMON NOLET
Tough little guy, consistent player who won a cup with the Flyers and played for ten years, a twenty goal a year guy with heart. Assistant coach for the Nordiques for years after retiring.

CENTER GUY CHARRON
Another scrappy little guy, came up through the Canadian system went to Detroit with Mickey Redmond in the Mahovolich deal in 1972. Came to the Wings at a time when they had no idea what talent was, he accordioned between lines for four seasons before being dealt to the Scouts for the aforementioned Crashley.

He put up solid numbers for the Scouts over the next two seasons and had a Scout record 71 points in year two. He moved on to Washington where he enjoyed five seasons, including scoring 36 and 38 goals in back to back seasons. He played eleven years and never made the playoffs.

LEFT WING WILF PAIEMENT
946 games with 356 goals and 1757 penalty minutes, a true power forward. Got in a bit of trouble for a viscous slash across the face of Dennis Polonich which caused Polonich to shorten his career, Wilf was suspended for 15 games and sued by Polo, who won 850,000 in damages.

Known as a bit of a prima donna when he played, he would rip teammates and coaches in the press. He was traded to the Leafs for Lanny McDonald and Joel Quinnville. A bit of an ******* who bounced around because of it but put up solid numbers. Easily the best player in Scout history. In World play in 1977 he knocked out Lars Eric Ericsson of Sweden and in three separate incidents knocked out three Russians. An ******* that could play.

DEFENSE GARY BERGMAN
A solid puck moving defenseman who excelled on both special team units, he played 838 career games with 367 points and 1249 penalty minutes. Known as the premature balding guy in the summit series, Harry Sinden called him the secret weapon with the way he played calm efficient shut down defense.

In his one year with the Scouts he scored 5 goals and added 33 assists then called it a career.

DEFENSE STEVE DURBANO
The worst human being to ever play in the NHL hands down. He played only 37 games in the second year with the Scouts and scored one goal, eleven assists and lead the league in penalty minutes with 209.

What most people don’t realize about this nut job is that he could play a bit; he was a puck moving d-man who just happened to be crazy and would fight at the drop of a dime. Steve Shutt who was a teammate in juniors said he used to try to talk Durbano into getting it together both as a player and a human being. There are Durbano stories all over the internet worth reading.

My favorite Durbano story is from his WHA days with Birmingham, his wife found out he was cheating and she called him on the telephone to tell him she had killed his dog and burned his furniture in the lawn. That night every time he touched the ice the Cincinnati Stinger bench would start barking, making him even crazier than usual. I am not for animal cruelty, just wanted to pass the story on.

GOALIE DENIS HERRON
Broke in with Pittsburgh, was traded halfway through year one for Plasse and was the regular Scout goalie for a year and a half, putting up a record of 15-52-15 before being traded back to the Penguins for Plasse again before the Scouts moved to Colorado.

Herron moved on from there to Montreal as part of the trio along with bunny Larocque and Richard Sevigny trying to replace Ken Dryden. After being surrounded for so long with such bad teams Herron posted a wonderful season going 25-3-3 with a nice 2.51 goals against to help earn the Vezina trophy, but unfortunately playoff success eluded the team and after a couple of injury prone seasons went back to Pittsburgh for a third time. Overall a pretty sad career record of 146-203-76 but he had his moments and if he had a team around him could have put up different stats as proven by his time in Montreal, but Pittsburgh kept trading him than trading back for him.

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03-23-2013, 12:06 PM
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Killion
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Excellent post, thread and "Welcome" to hf!... bang-on with your observations, assessments. Well done. Hard to forget a name like Bart Crashley, and though he only played I think 27 odd games for the Scouts, and despite time spent in Detroit, the WHA with the LA Sharks etc, his name forever inextricably linked with the KC Scouts, and rather humouredly at that. Sardonic, symbiotic. You think Kansas City Scouts, you think Bart Crashley. At least I do. Ham & cheese. Lettuce & tomato's. Bart & the Scouts. Looks like Im not alone.

Crashley was an interesting player, as were most of KC's & elsewheres rosters at that time. Ya, the hockey was watered down, but to a large degree made up for by the many wonderful characters who populated not only NHL rosters but so too WHA & minor league teams. Bart had been a star player in the OHA with the Hamilton Red Wings in the mid-60's, contemporary to Orr. Not as good obviously but none the less, an outlier in an age when Defenceman were not supposed to be carrying the puck at all, like never. 67/68 in Detroit he was paired with Gary Bergman, Sid Abel ordering young Bart to stahp with the rushing, release the puck at your own blue line or you sit.

Hard to say what kind of player he mightve' become had he been encouraged instead of bridled & handcuffed. I like to imagine much more as with a handle like that, right off the pages of a Mickey Spillane dime novel, you wanna see the anti-hero winning. Not some freak job being shipped around from relative to relative on a Greyhound. Like a Boy Named Sue, How Do You DO?!. Letter L carved into his forehead. Ya, I always rooted for guys like Bart Crashley. Salt of the Earth.


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03-23-2013, 12:42 PM
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KC was only given two years to make a dent in the market they played in (btw--this was Missouri and not Kansas) and there was trouble with the ownership and because they were so bad on the ice--27 wins 110 loses and 23 ties, It wasn't till the team moved to New Jersey via Colorado did the front office take shape and it was only after they were called a Mickey mouse Organization by the great one and the entire NY media took aim at the team that they went out and got Lou Lamerillo and the rest is history

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03-23-2013, 01:59 PM
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Yave1964 - great write-up.

I've become a lot more interested in the 1970s NHL expansion and the WHA the last 2-3 months. It's almost mind-bending to think that within a 10 year period (from early 1967 to the late 1974-early 1976 time period) "major league" professional hockey went from having 6 teams to having 32 teams (18 in the NHL and 14 in the WHA). With that kind of rapid expansion, the frequent blowout games in NHL during the mid-1970s period become easy to explain. The mid-1970s era may have had the least competitive balance in NHL history.

Related to the above, one question I have is which team people think was worse - the 1974-75 Washington Capitals in the NHL or the 1974-75 Indianapolis Racers in the WHA? Both were 1st year expansion teams, and I think both posted the fewest number of points per game in their leagues' respective histories (Capitals with 21 points in 80 games, and the Racers with 39 points in 78 games.)

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03-23-2013, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CHIP72 View Post
Yave1964 - great write-up.

I've become a lot more interested in the 1970s NHL expansion and the WHA the last 2-3 months. It's almost mind-bending to think that within a 10 year period (from early 1967 to the late 1974-early 1976 time period) "major league" professional hockey went from having 6 teams to having 32 teams (18 in the NHL and 14 in the WHA). With that kind of rapid expansion, the frequent blowout games in NHL during the mid-1970s period become easy to explain. The mid-1970s era may have had the least competitive balance in NHL history.

Related to the above, one question I have is which team people think was worse - the 1974-75 Washington Capitals in the NHL or the 1974-75 Indianapolis Racers in the WHA? Both were 1st year expansion teams, and I think both posted the fewest number of points per game in their leagues' respective histories (Capitals with 21 points in 80 games, and the Racers with 39 points in 78 games.)
I love that era, I have way WAY too much WHA memorabilia according to my wife, and I check ebay/Amazon pretty much weekly for Scout stuff, on the odd chance I will find something I don't have. My first game was when I was ten, my Grandfather took me to watch the Wings and Scouts at the old Olympia.
IMO the Capitals team was the worst of all time, look at the plus minus for their players, Mr. Minus Bill Mikkelson with a -82 in 59 games, backup goalie Michel Belhumeur going 0-24-3 (Read that again). An absolutely putrid collection of so called talent.

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03-23-2013, 02:57 PM
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Great thread yave, enjoyed reading it!

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03-23-2013, 06:19 PM
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Terrible team & terrible jerseys.

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03-23-2013, 10:22 PM
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I agree that perhaps the NHL should not have expanded as quickly as it did...but those two teams were absolutely horrible. What I want to know though is why the NHL didn't do a better job of vetting the finances of Scouts ownership (to be fair, it probably may never have worked out in Kansas City). The debt ended up being the undoing of the Scouts after just 2 seasons...even the Golden Seals lasted 9 years before moving (heading there next).

Sidenote: Seattle, now being talked about for possible expansion, would have gotten a team had the 1976 expansion gone through. Denver, the other city that would have gotten a team, got the Scouts.

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03-24-2013, 08:15 PM
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Great write up! I learned a lot.

I used to be a huge fan of this franchise (Mainly their Rockies' incarnation) and still feel that, under the right circumstances, Kansas City could still be a great market.

One neat thing you left out was that Bob Bourne (An important member of the Islanders' glory years) was drafted by the Scouts and traded away in a misguided effort to build the first year roster. Bourne may not have saved the franchise but he could have really helped the young team develop their market and a new tradition.

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03-24-2013, 08:16 PM
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Terrible team & terrible jerseys.
The uniforms were an acquired taste. I think the uniforms really improved, however when the team moved to Denver.

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03-24-2013, 08:25 PM
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The uniforms were an acquired taste. I think the uniforms really improved, however when the team moved to Denver.
I have a Simon Nolet jersey that always seems to draw notice when I wear it out in public. Of course my wife always tries to remember why she needs to be somewhere else when I wear it, she says it is the ugliest thing she has ever seen.

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03-24-2013, 08:46 PM
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I have a Simon Nolet jersey... she says it is the ugliest thing she has ever seen.
Heres a link to what they used, were as the Scouts...http://www.nhluniforms.com/DefunctTeams/Scouts.html

and heres what they wanted to be but for
Wirtz's intervention, the Mohawks...



a term that has it antecedents in Jayhawkers &
Kansas Missouri dating back to the Civil War.

Long story.... and get a Divorce.

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03-24-2013, 08:48 PM
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... a term that has it antecedents in Jayhawkers &
Kansas Missouri dating back to the Civil War. Long story.
Isn't there a college team somewhere in the Kansas City area called the Jayhawks?

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03-24-2013, 08:50 PM
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I have a Simon Nolet jersey that always seems to draw notice when I wear it out in public. Of course my wife always tries to remember why she needs to be somewhere else when I wear it, she says it is the ugliest thing she has ever seen.
I get the same reaction from my wife when I wear my Starfleet formal (Court martial) uniform to the grocery store. Some people just cannot appreciate the classics. I think the Scouts and Rockies (And later the Blues for a brief time) had a great colour scheme and it still has a lot of potential. I think the fans of Djurgardens and Jokerit (Not to mention the AHL Norfolk Admirals) would agree.

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03-24-2013, 08:53 PM
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Heres a link to what they used, were as the Scouts...http://www.nhluniforms.com/DefunctTeams/Scouts.html

and heres what they wanted to be but for
Wirtz's intervention, the Mohawks...



a term that has it antecedents in Jayhawkers &
Kansas Missouri dating back to the Civil War.

Long story.... and get a Divorce.
Thanks for the photo by the way. That is an extremely interesting piece of league history.

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03-24-2013, 09:08 PM
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Killion
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Isn't there a college team somewhere in the Kansas City area called the Jayhawks?
Ya, University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence. The name Jayhawks or "Jayhawkers" actually preceded the Civil War, the term likely going back to the Revolutionary War. Adopted by marauding gangs throughout the Kansas-Missouri border area in the 1850's & onward. Abolitionists, driving pro-slavery settlers out. Robbing, murdering, burning their homesteads to the ground. Wiping them out on the California Trail. Hellions on Horseback.

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03-25-2013, 06:12 AM
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It seems like they played in the shadows of the Washington Capitals for two seasons, because as awful as the Scouts were, the Caps were worse so Washington got all the ink and KC was sort of forgotten in the annals of bad teams.

One of the few expansion teams to post a worse record in their second season than their first, they had only one win in the second half of the season! Starting Dec. 30, they peeled off a 14-game losing streak, had two ties, then beat the Caps on Feb. 7. They then went oh-for-the-rest-of-the-season with an 0-21-6 mark the remainder of the way!

From Dec. 30 onward, they went 1-35-8!!! Take a moment to digest that. Incredibly, they did get off to a 3-2-1 start with a win at Boston Garden and tied the Bruins later in the season, also won at Madison Square Garden.

Oh, and poor Denis Dupere had the misfortune of playing for the 74-75 Caps and the 75-76 Scouts.

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03-25-2013, 12:09 PM
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Oh, and poor Denis Dupere had the misfortune of playing for the 74-75 Caps and the 75-76 Scouts.
Denis Dupere. Now theres a name I havent heard in eons. Remember him in Toronto. Defensive type specialist. 3rd & 4th line duty with the Leafs, up & down between Tulsa. Claimed in the 74 Expansion Draft by the Caps, then as you note traded to KC. Was deceptive, as he'd fire off a wrist shot from the wrong foot shocking the socks' off the goalie. Totally unexpected. What a little Dickens huh?

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03-25-2013, 01:14 PM
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03-25-2013, 01:59 PM
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Geez, ya, theres a tragic story Ogie... Steve Durbano... serious hard rock with the Marlies in Junior... the NHL of course.... got himself involved with the wrong people, busted for trying to import $500,000+ worth of blow... gets out 5yrs later or whatever... busted again for trying to setup an escort agency in Welland Ontario.... moved to the bush, Northwest Territories where in 2002 he died of liver failure.

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03-25-2013, 02:47 PM
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I used to have that card

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03-26-2013, 10:43 AM
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Denis Dupere. Now theres a name I havent heard in eons. Remember him in Toronto. Defensive type specialist. 3rd & 4th line duty with the Leafs, up & down between Tulsa. Claimed in the 74 Expansion Draft by the Caps, then as you note traded to KC. Was deceptive, as he'd fire off a wrist shot from the wrong foot shocking the socks' off the goalie. Totally unexpected. What a little Dickens huh?
Boston beat them 12-1 and 10-4 in the Caps' first season and in one of those games Bobby Orr felt sorry for them after the score was out of hand and started backing into the net and yelling "shoot, Dupey!" when Dupere had the puck.

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