On any given night at the Prudential Center, you might see an interesting jersey being worn throughout the crowd. Throughout a sea of red and black, you might find a jersey of blue, yellow, and red that catches the immediate attention of the eye. The distinctively 1970’s design might look out of place at a New Jersey Devils game. But strangely, that’s probably the place they most belong.
That sweater is the long-gone jersey of the Kansas City Scouts, the forerunners to New Jersey’s NHL franchise. Before the franchise moved to the swampland of the Meadowlands, and long before they were cup contenders, they called Kansas City and Kemper Arena home. Before there was Brodeur, Danyeko, and Scott Stevens, there were the likes of Wilf Paiement, Randy Rota, and Simon Nolet.
Some Devils fans have heard of the Kansas City Scouts, while some haven’t at all. Even if you’re one of the few Devils die-hards that know the team started in the Midwest, you’re likely to not know much about them. Enter Troy Treasure, whose book: Icing on the Plains: The Rough Ride of Kansas City’s NHL Scouts, details the history of a long-forgotten hockey team. While the league and the New Jersey Devils themselves do next to nothing to acknowledge their initial incarnation, Treasure makes sure their story does not get lost in NHL history.
After reading through the book, the one immediately obvious aspect is the exhaustive research Treasure put into his creation. In the days before big data and statistics, he searched far and wide. He sometimes even referred to YouTube clips, to give accurate game by game accounts of the Scouts’ short existence. To paint the picture of what life was like for the Scouts, he sometimes had to resort to nontraditional sources of information. For example, there are parts of the book taken from players’ neighbors’ memories who have remained friends over the years.
In addition to an almost complete two-season play by play, Treasure makes sure to recount everything behind the scenes. This includes everything from the lengthy list of majority and minority owners to the sport’s history of Kansas City. The story of the Scouts began even before the Scouts themselves. Treasure makes sure you know the stories of the various minor league hockey teams, the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs, and even the Kansas City A’s (this was before their move to Oakland).
Although Treasure is the author and collector behind piecing together the tattered history of the Scouts, it’s worth citing the people he was able to confer with. When talking with Treasure, he specifically mentioned Jay Greenberg – who was the Scouts’ first newspaper beat reporter. A majority of the Scouts team lent involvement. Wilf Paiement – perhaps the franchises’ best player to never wear a New Jersey uniform – did not respond to interview requests.
Icing On The Plains is Treasure’s first book and a true labor of love on his part to make sure the Scouts do not die in infamy. It was a grassroots effort to keep one of the most overlooked stories in professional hockey history alive. It was debuted in Amazon’s hockey category. The book ranked just above pretty-boy and noted Martin Brodeur pest Sean Avery’s biography. This is much to the amusement of Devils fans everywhere, of course.
Where to Order
Icing On The Plains is now available for order and can be ordered here. More info on Troy Treasure’s book can be found on his website. Even if you’ve never heard of the Scouts before, you might want to learn our beloved-New Jersey Devils’ team history.