Dallas Ehrhardt, the newest member of the Missouri Mavericks, had just returned from a backpacking trip to Spain and Portugal, yet the 21-year-old defenseman said that coming to Missouri was the best thing that had happened to him this summer.

He is excited to join his former Allen Americans coach, Richard Matvichuk, who was recently named as the second head coach in Mavericks history.

“Backpacking over in Europe was fun, but I can't wait to get to Independence and play for Matti again,” Ehrhardt said. “Matti was our assistant in Allen, so I know what he's like as a coach, what he expects from his players, and he's going to have an even bigger presence with the Mavericks.

“He was a great player for the Dallas Stars, and I think he's going to bring that mentality, that toughness to the Mavericks and I'm excited that I get to be a part of it.”

So is Matvichuk.

“We're really excited to bring Dallas to town.” Matvichuk said. “Dallas is a big strong kid who is still growing into his body.

“He is going to make us a much more physical team. If he needs to fight, he can fight. He uses his size and strength to his advantage and is going to be a very physical player for us this season.

“He's also going to be a big part of our penalty kill. I've worked with Dallas before and look forward to having him on the roster again.”

Ehrhardt said the decision to leave the Americans, who have won back-to-back CHL titles, was easy when he got the call from Matvichuk.

“I enjoyed my time in Allen,” the young defenseman explained, “but when Matti called, I knew what I wanted to do. I'm so excited about playing for him, and I remember what it was like when Allen played in Missouri last season.

“The barn is full, and the fans are a bit creative. They know how to get under your skin – which is good for the home team. Now, that I'm going to be a part of the home team, I can't wait to see what they come up with when Allen and our other opponents come to town.”

When asked about the metro area, Ehrhardt quickly said, “I've never been to a Major League Baseball game, so I hope to catch a Royals game. But No. 1, I'm there to help Matti and the organization with a championship.

“That's what it's all about.”