December 5, 2020

By Fred Liggett
FredL@lstribune.net

Eight weeks after the original starting date for the 2020-21 season the Kansas City Mavericks will finally drop the puck on the new season in Indiana on Friday, Dec. 11. The Mavericks open up against the Indy Fuel with a home series.

Leading the Mavericks this season is first year head coach Tad O’Had. Coach O’Had feels the Fuel is “a good team, will have a great atmosphere up there, then play down here.” After the season opener at Indy on the Dec. 11 the same two teams meet again in the Mavericks home opener on Friday, Dec. 18. The two games against the Fuel is part of only a nine game schedule for the Mavs at this time. Coach O’Had says his “Focus is on nine games.” The ECHL is starting the new season Dec. 11 and has a schedule lasting through January 9th. The league didn’t go any further scheduling games due to concerns with restrictions related to COVID-19.

With the season getting so close the Mavericks coaches and players are already back to work. Coach O’Had says, “It’s nice to finally find our way onto the ice.” O’Had adds he is “pretty excited.” The team practices at Cable Dahmer arena have gone well according to the coaching staff. O’Had feels, “It’s so nice to have that competition, extremely excited as we had too much time off.”

While the ECHL plans to play a season starting next week the same cannot be said for other pro hockey leagues in the United States. Both the American Hockey League and National Hockey League have yet announce schedules for the upcoming season. Coach O’Had says the Mavericks “are very fortunate to be one of only 13 teams to be playing.”

Working with the talent that has arrived in Kansas City during the off season has “been incredible” according to Coach O’Had. Some new players for Mavericks fans to look for is Forward Giorgio Estephan who for the past two seasons played overseas. Another forward is Forward Rob Bordson who has played in both the AHL and in Europe. Another excellent addition is Forward Austin Farley who Coach O’Had calls “an exciting player” and Defenseman Tommy Muck who played collegiately at Bemidji State. Coach O’Had says Muck “has a bright future ahead of him.”

Practices have included orange/black team scrimmages, first one was on Tuesday and have two more set for this weekend. Coach O’Had says the team will have to “be flexible” in these COVID times. Wanted to have two pre-season games but they did happen. O’Had wanted to create competition as the team has 28 players in training camp but only 24 can stay.

The Mavericks hit the ice for their 12th season opener at Indy Fuel on Friday, Dec. 11. The home opener will be the following Friday on Dec. 18. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. inside the Cable Dahmer Arena formerly known as the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.