October 21, 2023

By Fred Liggett

The time has come for the Kansas City Mavericks to kick off the 15th season in franchise history. The Mavericks have played every one of them inside what is now known as Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks will continue to be a member of the ECHL who as a league is entering its 36th season.

Mavericks fans can expect to see many of the same teams coming in to play the Mavs. The Mavericks compete in the Mountain Division again this season. Mavs fans will be following division rivals Allen Americans, Rapid City Rush, Idaho Steelheads, Utah Grizzlies and the always familiar Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder.

The Mavericks will be led once more by general manager and head coach Tad O’Had. O’Had is back for his fourth season guiding the Mavs fortunes. The Mavericks have their fan base excited as they come in off of a playoff appearance last year. The Mavs season ended in the Mountain Division semifinal series falling to Allen 4 games to 2. The 2022-23 season was a winning one for the Mavericks who finished 34-30-8. That was good enough for a third place finish in the Mountain Division.

O’Had says the goal is to “build off of last year, a step in the right direction.” Fans will recognize a few names dotting the 23-24 season roster. Coach O’Had states “important to retain the right guys.” Returning players include defenseman Theo Calvas who O’Had says “continues to blossom.” O’Had is also happy to have Jake Jaremko who “had his season cut short due to injury.” Forward Cole Coskey returns as one of 10 players from a year ago. O’Had feels Coskey “performed admirably last year.” O’Had admits 8-12 players returning is “normally our goal.”

Mavericks’ fans can look forward to getting to know a few new names and faces as the new season wears on. The Mavericks have eight players in from their AHL affiliate in California. A newcomer to keep an eye on is Jack LaFontaine a goalie. Combined with returning goalkeeper Dillon Kelley, coach O’Had says “a tandem we are extremely happy with.” Defenseman Ryan Jones, a fourth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins begins the season in Kansas City. Forward Kyle Jackson who turned 21 years old this week is a draft pick of parent club Seattle Kraken. Overall coach O’Had feels “This is the fastest team I’ve ever coached.” O’Had adds “a young team but they have had a hard training camp.”

For the second year in a row the Mavericks will be affiliated with AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds and the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Fans can expect to have fun on Affiliation Night where the theme for the game is honoring those two teams who the Mavericks work with throughout the season developing upcoming talent.

The puck drops on the 2023-24 season over the October 20-22 weekend with the Mavs home opener set for Saturday, Oct. 21. The Mavericks open up against rival Wichita Thunder with game time at 7:05 p.m. Mavericks fans ready for some hockey can enjoy three home games in the first 11 days of the new season including a game on Halloween Night October 31. Last season saw a return to post-season play for the Mavericks. Now the goal is to advance further into the playoffs and like all ECHL teams ultimately winning the Kelly Cup.