Kansas City Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson recalls the first time he saw forward Jared VanWormer on the ice last season.
“You just knew he was going to be a special player,” Dickson said Wednesday afternoon after the Mavericks announced the signing of VanWormer and collegiate standout Carson Dubchak, another forward, to contracts for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
“He started out a bit slow, like so many rookies do, but once he loosened up and felt comfortable he became an important part of the team.”
VanWormer, 24, was signed by the Mavericks last season after completing his final season at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. He skated in 10 games with the Mavericks, recording an assist and two penalty minutes.
The 6-foot, 205-pound forward finished third in points with 23 (9 goals, 14 assists) in 35 games for Ferris State his senior season. He also completed his final year of collegiate hockey with a team-best plus-8 rating.
The Traverse City, Mich., native served as Ferris State's captain during his senior season. The right-handed shooting forward also was the team's alternate captain in 2015-16, a year in which he recorded three multi-point games.
"Coming here after my college career ended was a great experience," VanWormer said. "Re-signing here was an easy decision because the players, coaches and fans treated me like family, and it was a great learning experience. The start of the season can't come soon enough."
“Jared immediately stood out last season with his work ethic and leadership qualities,” Dickson said. “He wore the ‘C’ for a reason. It’s great to have him rejoin us this season.”
Dubchak, 26, joins the Mavericks after spending the previous five seasons at Lakehead University of the Ontario University Athletic Association. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward tied for the team lead with 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 26 games. He also recorded a team-high 72 penalty minutes.
Prior to his time at Lakehead, the Kenora, Ontario, native spent four seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL as well as four playoff games with the Allen Americans in the 2010-11 season.
He was named the Greyhounds’ captain in 2011-12, his final season with the team, a year in which he recorded 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in addition to 103 penalty minutes.
In his time with the Greyhounds, the right-hand-shooting Dubchak totaled 114 points (53 goals, 61 assists).
"I am thrilled to be a part of the Kansas City Mavericks," Dubchak said. "After talking to Coach Dickson I was able to understand the support that both the city and staff give to its players in order to be as successful as possible on the ice. I am eager to be a part of such a quality organization and look forward to helping the team win."
Dickson said he has heard great things about Dubchak from his collegiate coach and former Maverick Trevor Kell.
"Carson is a heart-and-soul type player," Dickson said. "He plays with tenacity. He’s tough to play against and his compete level his high. We’re excited to add him to our team. His coach had great things to say about him and Trevor has watched him and said he will fit in well in our organization."
Mavericks general manager Brent Thiessen said the forward position continues to gain strength with the signing of VanWormer and Dubchak.
"Forward depth was definitely an area that we wanted to build on," Thiessen said. "Carson and Jared are strong two-way players with a great work ethic. We're excited about adding them to our roster this season."