The Kansas City Mavericks have renewed their affiliation with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat.
Mavericks president and manager Brent Thiessen sees extension of the agreement as a key piece in the Mavs making the ECHL playoffs — building from the bottom up.
“I am very happy with it,” Thiessen said. “I’m excited about it overall, the process and the recruitement, too. I am very optimistic.”
The original affiliation agreement between Kansas City, Calgary and Stockton was signed in June 2017. It's a year-to-year deal that's renewable after each season.
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As the Mavericks continue to improve their relationships with both Calgary and Stockton, they're looking for opportunities to help players in each system improve in their own ways.
“We have had great relationships with both sides,” Thiessen said. “We were looking for a team that looked athletic and wanted the same things that we did. That’s how we approached our day-to-day (operations), and they really helped us achieve those goals.”
Stockton coach Cail MacLean also welcomed news of the renewed partnership. He said the Heat are hoping to expand on the new contract and help all of the teams involved with it grow.
“I am excited about it, and I think our players had a great experience last year,” MacLean said by telephone Wednesday. “We view Kansas City as a top-notch destination ... Our development team spent time there and they liked what they saw. Combine their feedback with the players' and their success, you can’t ask for much more.”
Thiessen said expectations run high for the Mavericks' 2018-19 season, the franchise's 10th-anniversary campaign that begins in the fall on home ice at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence. The Mavs went 34-32-4-2 this season and missed the playoffs.
“The expectation is that we are going to play for the championship,” Thiessen said.
The Mavericks have graduated various players to higher levels of hockey throughout the years, including Maxime Lagace, who now plays for the Vegas Golden Knights, who are currently competing against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Six players from the Flames organization spent time in Kansas City last season, including goalies Mason McDonald and Tyler Parsons, defenseman Kayle Doetzel and forwards Mike McMurtry, Darren Nowick and Hunter Smith.