Kansas City Mavericks fans can take a long, deep sigh of relief.
Rocco Carzo has signed on with the ECHL team for a third consecutive season.
There was a panic attack among the Orange Army when the Mavericks’ list of eight players who were offered qualifying contracts came out, and his name was not among that group.
“Sorry to do that to our fans,” quipped coach John-Scott Dickson, “but we’d already signed Rocco, so there was no need to put his name on that list.”
Carzo tied for second on the Mavericks with 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 2016-17, and tied teammate Dane Fox with nine power play goals.
“I can’t wait to get back to Independence in September,” Carzo said by phone Thursday afternoon. “There is no place I’d rather play – it's a first-class organization and a great community that has treated me and my family extremely well over the last two seasons.
“I really respect John-Scott and Hoodie (assistant coach Kyle Hood) and the entire organization. The coaching staff works extremely hard to put the best product on the ice every night to win games. I'm looking forward to playing in front of the best fans in the ECHL again and bringing a Kelly Cup to Kansas City.”
The 6-foot-1, 203-pound forward joined the Mavericks in 2015-16, when he posted career-highs in assists (41) and points (56). In his time with Kansas City, Carzo has totaled 101 points (36 goals, 65 assists).
He will likely assume the captaincy vacated by longtime fan favorite Andrew Courtney, who retired after last season.
“If I do become captain, I can say I learned from the best in Courts,” said Carzo, who served an associate captain last season. “People tell me I’ll become the face of the team, and I appreciate their confidence in me.
“But to me, Courts will always be the face of the team, the captain. But I can tell our fans this – I will play hard for them. I enjoy pressure – playing in the final minutes when we’re up a goal, or down a goal. Playing on the power-play or penalty-kill teams – I want to do anything I can to help this team win.
“From talking to John-Scott, I know he and (general manager) Brent Thiessen are working hard this offseason to build a great team, a team that makes it back to the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.”
The Media, Pa., native was originally acquired by Kansas City after the 2014-15 season to complete a future considerations deal with Ontario. He has since skated in two American Hockey League games in his two-year tenure with the Mavericks.
With the signing of Carzo, the Mavericks actually get two Rocco Carzos, as his father, Rocco III, will return to his familiar seat behind the east net at Silverstein Eye Centers Area.
“You get me, you get the big guy,” joked Carzo. “We consider Independence and Eastern Jackson County our home away from home.”
The elder Carzo runs the family Roma Deli in Holmes, Pa.
“I don’t know who’s more excited, me or Rocco,” said the elder Carzo, who attends many weekend games. “We love Kansas City and the great fans. They have embraced my son and made him feel like a part of their family. We can’t wait to get back.”