Normally starting a minor league team from scratch during a tough economic time is a recipe for disaster.


And making it a hockey team in a non-hockey town makes the odds even longer for not only success, but survival.


With that said, though, the timing may be just right for the Missouri Mavericks

Normally starting a minor league team from scratch during a tough economic time is a recipe for disaster.
And making it a hockey team in a non-hockey town makes the odds even longer for not only success, but survival.
With that said, though, the timing may be just right for the Missouri Mavericks, the new Central Hockey League team that will begin play at the new Independence Events Center in November.
Why, you ask?
To put it bluntly, this area is ready for a winner in the pro ranks.
The Royals were supposed to be improved and on their way to contending in future years. Now they’ll be lucky to avoid their fifth 100-loss season in the last eight seasons.
The Chiefs went 2-14 last season. Things are looking a little brighter at One Arrowhead Way these days with Scott Pioli and Todd Haley heading the operation, but they have yet to prove it, and it may take awhile to turn that franchise around.
Sprint Center was supposed to have an anchor tenant by now, but the folks at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) have yet to lure an NHL or NBA team to town, and it sits empty except for a handful of events and concerts.
The Wizards, usually the consistent playoff hope in town, have been sinking toward the bottom of the standings. Even the T-Bones, who won last year’s Northern League championship, are struggling this year and are currently in second-to-last place.
So here come the Mavericks, and they appear to be doing things the right way.
Their early actions prove they are committed to building a winner, and they are talking that way as well.
“We’re wanting to win a championship,” Mavericks general manager Brent Thiessen said earlier this week. “Anything short of that isn’t why we’re here. We’re out to win a championship, not only for us, but for the community, as well.”
And the team has already reached out to the community, involving its potential fans in the announcement of the name and its first player.
And that first move – after hiring a championship coach in Scott Hillman – was to bring in Jeff Christian, a former high-scoring CHL MVP to not only play, but be the assistant coach as well and help lure other potential stars here.
They then went out and got an all-star defenseman in Tyler Fleck and a Southern Professional Hockey League MVP in Travis Kauffeldt along with another solid defenseman in Shaun Arvai.
Fleck, when he signed, told The Examiner the attitude shown by the team is why he decided to leave Oklahoma City and come to Independence.
“It’s great to be here,” Fleck said. “I’ve never been a free agent before. The thought of a new franchise and being part of the team really sold me here. Ultimately, I think it was (team president) Brad Lund, he’s been good to play for, for 10 years. I know how he works and how he operates, and it’s first class.”
That’s the perfect phrase for this team so far – first class.
After adding them, they then grabbed a pair of veteran goaltenders in Mike Gorman and Doug Groenestege. Gorman was the CHL’s top goalie in the 2001-02 season and Groenestege went 24-6-4 last year for Oklahoma City.
The Mavericks then bolstered their physical presence with the signing of defensemen Doug MacIver and Travis Martell and defensive forward Carlyle Lewis.
“With the amount and caliber of players wanting to play for us, we’re very happy with where we are and where we need to be,” Thiessen said this week. “Obviously, there’s more work that needs to be done, as our final test will be when we start playing games in October, but we’re very proud with where the team is going.”
Right now the team appears to be going toward a winning start. And that will make the Mavericks very attractive.
 to area fans.