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Mavericks introduce Richard Matvichuk as new coach

Former NHL player Richard Matvichuk (right) was announced as the new head coach of the Missouri Mavericks hockey team Thursday morning at the Independence Events Center in Independence. Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen made the announcement to a crowd of supporters.
Former NHL player Richard Matvichuk (right) was announced as the new head coach of the Missouri Mavericks hockey team Thursday morning at the Independence Events Center in Independence. Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen made the announcement to a crowd of supporters. The Kansas City Star

When former Dallas Stars defenseman Richard Matvichuk was first offered the Missouri Mavericks coaching job, he says he did not even wait to talk about the contract before accepting.

Just 14 days after his first conversation with the Mavericks, Matvichuk was introduced as the franchise’s second coach in front of a few hundred fans on Thursday at the Independence Events Center.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer when it came available,” Matvichuk said. “The core here is set, and now it is a matter of tweaking instead of trying to change the whole thing, just bringing in the little pieces I feel are missing.”

Matvichuk was chosen from a field of more than 100 applicants, which was whittled down to 10. Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen said the team was looking for someone who would be accountable and community-minded with a hard-nosed style of play and history of winning.

“It is a new face, new voice in the organization, and the area, and I think everyone, should be excited,” Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney said. “With his resume, he brings a lot to this area, and I think it is going to be good.”

Matvichuk was drafted in 1991 by the Minnesota North Stars and went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL. He played 12 seasons with the franchise, 11 of which were in Dallas, where he was part of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship.

For the past two seasons, he has served as defensive coach and assistant general manager for the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League, who won back-to-back championships.

“It’s almost the exact same situation here,” Matvichuk said. “With what Missouri has done in this league, there is a pedestal that teams have put us on because we are that elite franchise, but we are missing one thing, and that is to win that President’s Cup.”

Matvichuk will take over for Scott Hillman, who resigned in May to become coach of the ECHL’s Indy Fuel. Hillman had served as coach and director of player operations since the Mavericks were formed in 2009.

The Mavericks won a franchise-record 44 games last season and won the Bud Poile Governor’s Cup as regular-season champions. They lost in the first round of the CHL playoffs to the Arizona Sundogs.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @kgier.

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