The Missouri Mavericks, although still an affiliate of the New York Islanders, announced Tuesday they have entered into a “working agreement” with a second National Hockey League team, the St. Louis Blues.
The agreement will extend through the 2016-17 season, and includes an option for St. Louis to send its players to the Mavericks, who play in the East Coast Hockey League.
“At this point we don’t know who or how many could be sent to the Mavericks,” said Ray Schmitt, the team’s communications director. “It will all shake out once training camps open up in mid-September. The Blues will start to pare down players in training camp, and with their AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate in Chicago. Then as AHL camp shakes out, we would find out if the Blues were sending players to us.”
To use a baseball metaphor, the Mavericks would be the equivalent of a Class AA team for the Blues, while the Chicago Wolves are the “Class AAA” affiliate.
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The Blues did not have an ECHL affiliate last season. According to Schmitt, talks between the Blues and the Mavericks about a partnership have been ongoing for several months.
The Mavericks will still maintain their relationship with the New York Islanders. But after this season’s working agreement comes to a close, both teams’ management will evaluate the arrangement and determine if a more concrete affiliation could be in the future, according to Schmitt.
“The New York Islanders remain our primary NHL affiliate and the Missouri Mavericks owe a lot of last year’s success on the ice to this relationship,” said Mavericks general manager Brent Thiessen in a team statement. “For that we are very grateful. Our primary focus, as a development league and team, is to further the growth of the New York Islanders’ prospects assigned to us and work with them on a daily basis to achieve that goal.”
The “working agreement” between the teams will also include several marketing projects, specifically targeting youth hockey players. For example, the two are currently planning a youth clinic — which Blues players would help with —where participants would receive a ticket to the Blues’ preseason game against the Washington Capitals. That game is scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Sprint Center.
“The St. Louis Blues are excited to begin a new partnership with the Missouri Mavericks, extending our reach to hockey fans across the great state of Missouri,” said Blues CEO and President of Business Operations Chris Zimmerman in a team statement. “Importantly, we look forward to contributing to the work Lamar Hunt Jr. and his team are implementing to grow the game of hockey in the Kansas City region.”