It’s difficult to tell who is more excited about Colt King signing with the Missouri Mavericks – the veteran power forward or coach Scott Hillman.

It’s difficult to tell who is more excited about Colt King signing with the Missouri Mavericks – the veteran power forward or coach Scott Hillman.

“When I left Sheffield and was looking for a new team,” said King, who played in England last season, “Missouri was at the top of my list. When I played with Rapid City, we always looked forward to coming to Independence because there was so much passion in the building. It will be fun to have that passion supporting me this time around. I can’t wait for the season to start.”

When Hillman began fitting the pieces together for next season, he started with the enforcer who made life so miserable for the coach’s first-year Mavericks team.

“We didn’t know what to do with Colt that first season,” said Hillman said, shaking his head as he recalled the Rush’s four-game sweep of the Mavs in the second round of the playoffs.

“He has such a presence on the ice. He is a tough guy, a no-nonsense guy. He is a difference-maker. If we would have had Colt in the last playoff series against Fort Wayne, who knows? He can make that type of impact.”

The Mavericks made their best postseason appearance in 2012, reaching the final game of the Turner Conference championship series. However, they lost to Fort Wayne in seven games.

“I’m willing to do anything to help this team reach the championship series,” King said by phone from his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada."

King was a standout on the Rush’s 2010 President’s Cup championship team.

“There isn’t a feeling in the world like hoisting that cup above your head and sharing the moment with your fans,” he added. “We had some great fans in Rapid City, and I know we’re going to  have great fans in Independence. When I played in Sheffield, we didn’t have as much success as I’d hoped, and I want to get back with a winning team.

“The fans in Sheffield were unbelievable. When we lost, they felt like they lost. And we didn’t want to disappoint them. I know that’s what it’s going to be like with the Mavericks. I hear the fans are passionate, and I want to get involved with the fans in the community.

“I think that’s as important as performing on the ice. This is a rare league where the fans can get close to the players and it’s fun to get to know the fans and let them get to know you.”

King, 29, has played in 481 pro games in five different leagues. He has scored 343 points and totaled 1,419 penalty minutes.

When asked about his tough-guy persona, King just chuckled.

“I’ll play physical hockey and I will always stand up for my teammates,” he said. “I can chip in the occasional goal, but first and foremost, I will do what it takes to win.”

Hillman said the first Maverick to sign a contract for this season brings a rare combination to the team that was so close to reaching the cup finals this past season.

“His combination of skill and toughness,” Hillman said, “and his combination of point production and physical presence on the ice is matched by very few players in the Central Hockey League. We were so close to reaching our goal last season, and Colt King can help us get there next season.”