The self-dubbed new era of the Kansas City Mavericks will include a new National Hockey League affiliation.
The Mavericks will serve as the ECHL affiliate for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat next season.
The Mavericks, who play in the ECHL, viewed as the Double-A league of North American hockey, were the affiliate for the New York Islanders during the past two seasons. They also had what they classified as a “working agreement” with the St. Louis Blues last season, which is now defunct. They will move forward exclusively with the Calgary Flames on a year-to-year agreement, which is renewable at the end of the season.
“We believe the Flames organization, while wanting us to help them develop players for future play at the AHL and NHL levels, also understands our need to be consistently competitive in the ECHL,” Mavericks owner Lamar Hunt Jr. said in a statement. “We believe this is the most balanced approach for the Mavericks to win the Kelly Cup, have year-to-year continuity within our roster and bring to Kansas City talented and young aspiring hockey players.”
When Hunt bought the Mavericks in February 2015, he outlined a mission to attach the team to an NHL affiliation. That arrived almost immediately, with the Mavericks aligning themselves with the New York Islanders and the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers only a few months later, an agreement that stood in place for the past two seasons. The Mavericks previously had a agreement with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
The affiliation with the Calgary Flames comes one week after the Mavericks changed their Missouri Mavericks name in favor of the Kansas City Mavericks, though the team logo and colors remain unchanged.
Previously, the Flames used the Adirondack Thunder as their ECHL club. Last season, six Calgary Flames prospects spent time with the Adirondack Thunder. The Stockton Heat serve as the Flames’ AHL team — essentially their AAA club.
“Our organization was seeking a first-class franchise with quality ownership and management that share the same principles and objectives for player development philosophy as our own club,” Calgary Flames assistant general manager Brad Pascall said in a statement. “And we found a great fit with the owner Lamar Hunt Jr. and general manager Brent Thiessen and the KC Mavericks.”
The Mavericks finished fifth in the Mountain Division of the ECHL last season, failing to qualify for the playoffs.
They open the season on Oct. 13 at the Tulsa Oilers. Their homer opener against the Wichita Thunder is slated for Oct. 28 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence.