Missouri Mavericks fans who were concerned about the future of the team and the Central Hockey League can take a deep breath and count the days until the season opener.
The Mavericks will open Oct. 24 against the Brampton Beast in Brampton, Ontario, as the CHL announced the 2014-15 regular-season schedule Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the league dwindling to just seven teams, after franchises in Arizona, Denver went dormant and St. Charles folded, the Mavericks will again play a total of 66 games – 33 at the Independence Events Center and 33 on the road.
The Mavericks will start their season on the road, as has been the tradition the past five seasons, with games at Brampton, Tulsa and Wichita before returning home to play host to the Rapid City Rush on Nov. 8 at the Events Center.
Missouri will face Rapid City seven times at home and seven on the road during the season, the most games they will play against any opponent. They face Brampton and the Allen Americans the fewest times, with four games in Independence and five on the road against each.
Mavericks new head coach Richard Matvichuk was a part of the Americans’ last two back-to-back CHL championship teams. The Americans will make their first appearance at the IEC in the second home game on Nov. 14.
“With the announcement of our schedule I hope all the rumors about the league and talk of the league folding will die down and we can get excited about hockey,” team president and general manager Brent Thiessen said late Wednesday.
“The league had to audible with the schedule with the announcement last week of Arizona and Denver going dormant, and as I look at the schedule, I really like it. Once again, most of our (home) games are on Friday and Saturday nights, and we're continuing our New Year's Eve home game tradition (against Wichita) and we have home games the day before and after Thanksgiving.”
The team closes with its last three regular-season games on the road – April 1 at Rapid City and April 3 and 4 at Tulsa.
“There is a chance to rekindle a lot of old rivalries and really amp up our rivalry with Allen now that Rich is our head coach,” Thiessen said. “We worked hard to give our fans a great home schedule, and I think and hope they will be pleased with it.”