Monday, December 8, 2008

First Game

I made it back to the library this afternoon to continue perusing the KC Times and Star coverage of the first days of the Scouts. (Is reading 35 year old sports pages a strange hobby?) It is slooooow going looking through microfilm. Luckily, the papers gave a lot of coverage to the Scouts. There was at least one article in both editions during the preseason and the first month of the season. Here's some of what I found:

...Due to a combination of construction delays with Kemper Arena (the Scouts' home) and the annual American Royal rodeo, the Scouts were homeless for a very long time before their home debut on November 2nd, 1974. Their three week training camp took place in Port Huron, Michigan. No preseason games were played in KC. Then they had to start the year with a brutal 8-game, 16-day road trip. They started with three games on the east coast, then south to Atlanta for a game, then to the west coast for three games, and all the way back to the east coast for one more game before finally getting to break in their new home.

...Love this line about the captain's role on the team:

"The Scouts yesterday named Simon Nolet, the club's ranking member in N.H.L. experience with seven years, as the team's first captain. Nolet, the Scouts' first choice in the expansion draft, will have a myriad of duties, including everything from being a designated spokesman to make sure all are present on the team bus, to gathering contributions for soap and toothpaste for the lockerroom. Brent Hughes, Butch Deadmarsh and Randy Rota will be the alternates." - Jay Greenberg

..."I understand that we've got problems, but I'm not going to be satisfied with a losing team. I'm not going to say I hope we win 15 games, that's not good. Why not 30? That's better." - Scouts coach Bep Guidolin

They went on to win exactly 15 games. Sadly, Guidolin died just a couple of weeks ago, November 24.

10/9/74 - THE FIRST GAME

Hm, what could be the most pressure-packed, intimidating way for this rag-tag, inexperienced group to start? How about in the hockey capital of the world, Toronto, in one of hockey's sacred temples, Maple Leaf Gardens, against the storied Maple Leafs? Not enough? OK, we'll put the game on Hockey Night in Canada so that the entire Canadian continent will be watching.

By all accounts, the Scouts acquitted themselves fairly well in their first game. It was apparently a tight game through two periods, with the Scouts down just 2-1 after two. Things came apart in the third, and the Scouts went down 6-2.

Captain Simon Nolet recorded the first goal in club history 56 seconds into the second. Jay Greenberg described the goal:

"(It) finished off a pretty piece of puck carrying by center Dave Hudson. Hudson took a pass from Jim McElmury and started out to center, then fed Nolet down the right wing. Nolet waited until he was only 25 feet away, then ripped a sizzler between the legs of Doug Pavell."

Nolet himself didn't seem to get too caught up in his historic goal: "We lost the game. It didn't really hit me yet. Somebody had to get it, I guess. I imagine in the future maybe it will mean something." (And here I am in the future, writing about it on the internets.)

Here is Greenberg's game wrap in full (click to enlarge):

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