Kansas City Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson and fans of the ECHL team will have plenty to talk about from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena as the team hosts its annual Fan Fest.
One topic will be the signings of three forwards Tuesday, as the Mavericks came to terms with Danny Smith, Taylor McCloy and Connor Graham.
“It’s exciting to announce the signing of the three forwards because they bring depth to the team and will push the players who were here last year,” Dickson said.
“Kyle (Hood, assistant coach) and I missed Fan Fest last year because we were in Calgary at the developmental camp. This year, we’re going to Stockton (Calgary’s American Hockey League team), so we’ll be here Saturday and we can’t wait to talk about the newest guys and anything else our fans want to visit with us about.”
Smith, 26, joined the Mavericks last January and finished with 26 ECHL games. In his brief stint with the team, Smith totaled seven points (two goals, five assists) and 34 penalty minutes.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound, left-hander made his professional debut with the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League prior to joining Kansas City, posting 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) in 25 SPHL games.
“We liked Smith when he was here last year and we’re excited to see what type of progress he makes this year,” Dickson said. “We know he wants to be more of a role player, and we believe he can become an important part of our team.”
The Edmonton, Alberta, native skated in college for Rochester Institute of Technology, helping the Tigers to three conference titles. Smith totaled 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) with 94 penalty minutes in 135 games in his collegiate career.
“I loved the time I spent in Kansas City last season and am more than excited to get back there for my second year,” Smith said. “Playing in front of the Mavericks fans is truly special. Last year ended a lot earlier than any of us wanted, but I’m confident with the coaching staff and guys coming back this upcoming summer will be much shorter.”
McCloy, 25, is poised for his first full professional season after completing his collegiate career. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound forward skated for Adrian College, serving as an alternate captain during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
Following his collegiate career, in which he registered 110 points (51 goals, 59 assists) in 99 games, the Keswick, Ontario, native earned all-conference honors after totaling 38 points (24 goals, 14 assist) in 30 games in his senior season.
The left-hander then skated in two games with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals at the end of last season.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play professional hockey, and I’m glad Kansas City is giving me that opportunity,” McCloy said. “I’m looking forward to getting down there and starting the season.”
Graham, 22, joins the Mavericks following two years with the University of Toronto. In his brief collegiate career, the Aurora, Ontario, native totaled eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) and 10 penalty minutes.
The 5-foot-11, 187-pound left-hander played junior hockey with the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League, tallying 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) with 86 penalty minutes in 168 games.
“I’m excited to sign with Kansas City,” Graham said. “I think it’s a good opportunity with a great organization and I look forward to contributing toward a great season.”
Dickson said he treats all players with the same watchful eye at camp, but will pay a bit of extra attention to the newcomers.
“You know what to expect from the guys who were here last year,” Dickson said, “and I believe it’s important to give everyone a fair chance, to see what they can do at camp. We’re excited about Smith coming back and to see what McCloy and Graham do.”