June 12, 2021

By Fred Liggett
FredL@lstribune.net

The 2020-21 season will be remembered by Kansas City Mavericks players and their fans for a number of reasons. The final memory was a positive one as the Mavs defeated the team’s nearest rivals Tulsa and Wichita on back to back nights to complete the regular season.

The pair of wins gave the Mavericks a record of 31-31-8-2 in what was the 12th season in franchise history. First year Mavericks head coach Tad O’ Had was “very happy” and says “it gave fans something to cheer about. Mavs players wore orange jerseys in the team’s final home game in honor of the Orange Army.

Now that the regular season is over the Mavericks, who finished in sixth place in the Western Conference and out of the playoffs, look forward to next year. Coach O’Had was quick to say what he plans to do next, “No time off, plans to begin recruiting players right away.”

Coach O’Had is pleased the Mavericks finished the season with four players in top 20 in league scoring. The highest of the four players was Adam Brady who finished sixth. Another positive statistic is the Mavs having the third best special teams unit in the ECHL. O’Had says, “That’s very positive to take away from.”

Coach O’ Had is happy about the team playing all 72 scheduled games this season which not all ECHL teams completed. O’Had appreciates what all the team had to overcome to reach that end goal which included seeing then Mavericks general manager Brent Theissen coaching the team in their first game which took place in Indy. Both Head coach O’Had and his assistant Kohl Schultz were not allowed to make the trip due to COVID contact tracing.

Coach O’Had is “eager to get back at it” with recruiting. O’Had states the Mountain Division is “a rugged division.” In addition to recruiting players O’Had has plans to look in the mirror and answer “how to improve this team” during the off-season.

The off-season will be a shorter than usual as under normal times the ECHL regular season ends in early April. The league has already announced the 2021-22 season schedule with all teams starting on time in late October.

Up next for the Mavericks will be training camp in late September, then the start to a normal 72 game regular season schedule with a home and home series with the ECHL expansion franchise Iowa Heartlanders. Mavs open up the 2021-22 season in Iowa on Friday, Oct. 22, then come home to host Iowa for their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 23.

When the new season starts for the Mavericks it will be the 13th in franchise history. Mavs players and fans alike hope it will result in a return to the Kelly Cup playoffs.