The Islanders and Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL announced a new affiliation partnership that will cover at least the next two seasons.
The Mavs, located in Independence, MO - nine miles from Kansas City and a scant 242 miles from St. Louis - replace the Stockton Thunder, who were bought by the Calgary Flames and moved to Glens Falls, New York to become the Flames' AHL affiliate.
The Mavericks have never had an NHL affiliation before. Owner Lamar Hunt, Jr, son late AFL founder, Kansas City Chiefs owner and MLS benefactor Lamar Hunt, bought the team in February of this year and was looking for an NHL connection.
From the official release by the Mavs.
"The Mavericks are thrilled to be affiliating with a first-class organization in the New York Islanders," said Brent Thiessen, General Manager of the Missouri Mavericks. "We are excited to develop their prospects and work closely with the team moving forward."
"Today is an important day for the Mavericks, solidifying a strong NHL affiliation with a storied and proven franchise ensures we will have some of the best hockey talent available showcased at the IEC on a nightly basis," said Thiessen. "Our fans will see NHL prospects that graduate to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League and hopefully to the New York Islanders at the NHL level."
Originally a Central Hockey League team, the Mavericks joined the ECHL last year along with six other CHL teams in a league expansion. The Mavericks made the playoffs for the first five years of their history, missing the post-season for the first time last season. They play at the 5,800-seat Independence Events Center, which was opened in 2009.
You can follow them on Twitter at @MissouriMavs.
Now, does anyone know any Islanders fans in Missouri? If so, it's your lucky day. We expect full weekly scouting reports on every player.
The Mavericks are looking forward to benefiting from the Islanders' scouting staff, and Ken Morrow is the man who spearheaded the partnership.
From the Kansas City Business Journal:
"We've had a pretty slender scouting budget," Hunt said. "Now we'll be able to plug in and get our hands on better information, because they've already got a scouting staff in place, including (Islanders Director of Pro Scouting) Ken Morrow who lives in Kansas City. They can share information with us. They know hockey and they're trying to place players with us to develop. And the bottom line here is they want to win, and they want to win at all levels."
Kerry Gwydir, assistant to the general manager of the New York Islanders, said Ken Morrow was key to getting the affiliation agreement signed. He said the Islanders were looking for a new AA affiliate and wanted to put a lot of thought into it to get a better fit with the overall program they have in mind. Morrow, who played on the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic Hockey team, knows the Mavericks well and suggested checking them out. It turned out to be exactly what the Islanders were looking for.