Who says you can't go home?
Certainly not Kellan Tochkin, who played with the Missouri Mavericks in the 2012-13 season.
After a stint last season in the East Coast Hockey League, he has returned for the upcoming season, where he will be reunited with former linemate and team captain Sebastien Thinel.
“I can't wait to get back to Missouri and team up with Sebbie again,” Tochkin said by phone. “I've been talking with the Mavericks the past three weeks, and we finally came to an agreement.”
Tochkin is no stranger to the Mavs as he played 56 games with Missouri during his first professional season.
“I was pretty much up and down during the regular season, not showing a lot of consistency,” Tochkin said. “But I was able to turn my game up during the playoffs, and that caught some other teams' attention.”
The explosive right wing scored 15 goals and added 29 assists in 56 games in the regular season but really turned it on in the playoffs, scoring 17 points in just 12 games. That trailed only Allen’s Todd Robinson (22) and Brian McMillin (20) that year, but the two Americans players did it in 19 games.
“A lot of those points came against Allen,” said former Americans assistant Richard Matvichuk, who is the Mavericks first-year head coach. “Tochkin is a proven player at the AA level, and he's really matured a lot over the last two years. He's a proven playoff player; he showed that against Allen. We're very excited to have him on the roster with what he brings to the team offensively.
“He's been a big name in this community before, and I'm sure everyone will be very excited to have him back.”
Tochkin was originally signed as a free agent by the NHL's Vancouver Canucks in 2009. The 23-year-old, Abbotsford, British Columbia, native was recently obtained by the Carolina Hurricanes from Vancouver in September 2013 as part of a multi-player trade.
“I left Missouri, but my heart stayed back in Independence,” Tochkin said. “I was a young kid who didn't know how good I had it. You don't find many fans like Frank (Spevak) and all the other great Maverick fans.”
Tochkin split last season between the Florida Everblades and the Evansville Icemen of the ECHL, totaling 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 55 games.
“I still want to get back to the ECHL, and everyone's goal who plays the game is making it to the NHL, but I'm really going to enjoy this season. I never had it as good as I had it in Missouri, and Richard (Matvichuk) is the type of coach every player wants to play for.
“I know he is going to put together a team that will challenge for a championship, and I want a ring. I know how much this organization wants a championship – it's the only thing the Mavericks haven't won.
“And I think this is the year they will do it. And I am so excited to think about being a part of it.”