October 9, 2021

By Fred Liggett
FredL@lstribune.net

The Kansas City Mavericks will begin camp soon to prepare for the 2021-22 season, the 13th in franchise history. Every season has been played at what is now known as Cable Dahmer Arena. During this time only the CHL and ECHL games were played at the arena but that all changed on Saturday, Oct. 2. On this particular Saturday evening the National Hockey League came to town for one game. The event was an exhibition game between the host St. Louis Blues and their rival Chicago Blackhawks.

Hockey fans tailgated outside the arena as early as 4 p.m. and then filled the arena as the sold out game drew crowd of 5,850. Lamar Hunt, Jr., owner of KC Mavericks called the exhibition game, “A fun event that took a lot of effort.”

Before the Blues and Blackhawks took to the ice there was some improvements made to the arena to make it “NHL ready.” Hunt said, “Glass was totally changed.” The glass was installed after Labor Day according Larry Hovick, General Manager of Cable Dahmer Arena. Hovick added the one night event “took a lot of coordination.” More changes to the arena are expected to be completed by the start of the Mavericks 2021-22 season. New flooring is being installed all the way around the second floor of the arena.

Hunt in a pre-game press conference said, “It’s wonderful to see a full building.” Hunt liked the matchup saying the Blackhawks “are iconic” and the Blues “quite good the last few years.” Hunt said, “It was important to capitalize on friendships, the Blues know it’s a great sports market.” Regarding having more NHL pre-season games at the home of the Mavericks Hunt said, “would love to showcase NHL every year.” Hunt admitted these events are more about “growing the game” of hockey than trying to secure an NHL franchise. Speaking of hockey teams Hunt said he is “really excited about the Mavericks this season.”

In the stands for this exhibition of hockey was Mavericks head coach Tad O’ Had. O’Had admits he, “Just sat and watched the game.” O’Had continues, “first NHL game seen live in nearly 20 years, feels good to see a full arena.” In addition to the Mavericks owner and head coach the team had three current players at the game who all O’Had says, “enjoyed the experience.”

Once the Blues and Blackhawks were introduced to the crowd and the game began it didn’t take long for a strong reaction from fans. Blues fans were very happy when just 50 seconds into the first period Blues defenseman Torey Krug scored the game’s first goal. From there it was all Blackhawks who came away with a 5-1 win.

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