Brent Thiessen, the president and general manager of the Kansas City Mavericks, watched as the doors opened to the inside bowl of Silverstein Eye Centers Arena for the annual Fan Fest celebration Saturday.
A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 filled the floor that in just over a month will be covered with ice as his Mavericks begin their ninth overall season and fourth in the ECHL.
Despite coming off a disappointing campaign, in which the Mavericks failed to make the playoffs for just the second time in team history, the fans were eager to see what the 2017 Kansas City squad had to offer.
“Fan Fest always signals the start of a new season for our team,” said Thiessen, who greeted fans and took part in a question-and-answer session about the upcoming season. “Last year was a disappointment, which meant a long – way, too long – offseason, but now we’re getting close and we can’t wait.”
The floor was filled with vendors, eager fans and two players – defensemen Tyler Elbrecht and Bryce Aneloski.
“I can’t wait for the season to begin,” said Aneloski, who was recently engaged and plans on living in the metro area on a full-time basis. “This team, this organization, the fans – you name it – are the best in the ECHL and I think we’re going to have a great season.”
So does Elbrecht, the team tough guy who was traded away last season but will once again wear a Mavericks sweater in 2017.
“The only team I would want to be a part of in this league is the Mavericks,” Elbrecht said. “Last year, there were some challenges. We had a lot of rookies (the most of any team in the ECHL) and we got off to a slow start.
“I don’t think that is going to happen this season and I can’t wait to get back on the ice and play for the best organization and the best fans in the league.”
MAVS ON TV: The Kansas City Mavericks will appear in 10 televised games this season as part of “Friday Night Ice” on KSMO TV.
This is the third season that the Mavericks will air select games on KSMO.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our team to increase our exposure across the Kansas City area,” Thiessen said. “It is great to continue building our partnership with KCTV (KSMO’s owner) and keep growing hockey in Kansas City.”
MAVS APPAREL: Mavericks fans can now purchase team apparel from four Rally House locations across the Kansas City metropolitan area, the team announced Monday.
Mavs merchandise will be sold in the Independence, Oak Park, Boardwalk in North Kansas City and Power & Light locations.