A pair of Kansas City Mavericks forwards have received multiple-game suspensions for their roles in an on-ice brawl during Saturday’s game at Toledo.
The ECHL announced Wednesday that Mavericks forwards Garrett Klotz and Eric Freschi were suspended. Klotz has been suspended eight games and Freschi will miss the next two games. The suspensions will begin immediately.
Klotz knocked down a Toledo player and cross-checked him several times, leading to a melee that included goalies Mason McDonald of the Mavericks and Matej Machovsky of the Walleye fighting each other at the 12:14 mark of the third period Saturday.
Toledo received a 10-minute power play for the cross-checking penalty on Klotz. Freschi later received a 5-minute major for cross-checking in addition to a game misconduct at the 19:30 mark.
Kansas City’s McDonald and Danny Smith also received game misconduct penalties, along with Toledo’s Machovsky and Connor Crisp. The game had a total of 91 penalty minutes combined, including 81 from the 12:14 mark through the end of the game.
“What happened in Toledo was unfortunate, and we join the Walleye in our disappointment regarding the events that occurred,” Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen said in a prepared statement. “We have spoken with Garrett Klotz and Eric Freschi and appreciate their understanding that their actions were unacceptable and were in no way representative of what the Kansas City Mavericks stand for as an organization.
“Klotz is a player who does not have a pattern of disciplinary issues and we believe that he is truly remorseful for his actions during the contest. We appreciate his cooperation with the league throughout this ordeal.”
Some Toledo players, including former Mavericks defenseman Kevin Tansey, said Kansas City players told Walleye players they had been ordered to “get” Toledo players in the blowout loss.
“The fact that we had to have police officers between dressing rooms after a game and players had warned us before face-offs guys were sent out to start stuff, it's disgusting, it’s gross,” Tansey told The Blade columnist David Briggs after the Walleye’s 1-0 win Sunday against Wichita. “It's not good for the game. It's repulsive.”
Thiessen stands by coach John-Scott Dickson, who told The Examiner in a private conversation earlier this week he did not send orders for his team to “goon it up” on the ice.
“With regards to John-Scott Dickson, he is a man of high character and a tremendous representative of our club on and off the ice,” Thiessen said in the statement. “He never sent anyone out to ‘get’ anyone – that is ridiculous. We have spoken with the league regarding the unsubstantiated claims made by Toledo’s players and we hope to hear back quickly on those. We accept the league's rulings with regards to our players and look forward to returning our focus to hockey and our playoff push.”
Klotz said that he acted on his own and offered an apology by issuing a statement through the Mavericks front office.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the Kansas City Mavericks, the ECHL and the Toledo organization for my actions on Saturday. I want to be clear that I acted on my own accord – I was not sent onto the ice to do anything but play. Hockey is an emotional game and I did not contain myself appropriately. My actions were not indicative of who I am as a person or player, having been suspended only once in my 10-year career, and I look forward to putting this behind me. I will use this experience as an opportunity to learn and am eager to put this behind me and return to the ice this season.”
Dickson hopes to put the incident in the rearview mirror and concentrate on three big games this weekend at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“Like Brent, I have spoken with both Garrett and Eric and have expressed my disappointment in their decisions on Saturday,” Dickson said. “I want to reiterate that no player was instructed to take any action besides play hockey through the final horn, an approach that we expect from every player who wears a Mavericks sweater regardless of score. It is my hope that today's ruling from the league will allow us to move past Saturday as we continue to prepare for this weekend's games and beyond.
“There are many things I want to say about this incident, but I simply can’t at this time. I know my family and friends, my players and the Mavericks know what type of individual I am, and that I would never condone something like this.”
MAVS ACQUIRE FORWARD: The Mavericks acquired forward C.J. Eick from the Utah Grizzlies Wednesday in a trade for future considerations.
Eick, 26, has one goal and one assist through 36 games this season while serving as the Grizzlies’ captain.
The 5-foot-7, 161-pound, left-handed forward is in his second full professional season, following a 21-point season with the Grizzlies in 2016-17.
The Appleton, Wisconsin, native played collegiate hockey at Michigan Tech, where he totaled 52 points in 145 games with a plus-25 rating from 2012-13 through 2015-16. He was named to the WCHA All-Academic Team in his senior season.
The Mavericks begin an eight-game home stand with a three-game weekend at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, starting Friday against the Indy Fuel followed by “Hockey Is For Everyone Night” against Indy on Saturday and “Faith and Family Night” Sunday against the Florida Everblades.