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Examiner
  • Thiessen: CHL remains healthy

  • Missouri Mavericks president Brent Thiessen looked calm and refreshed Monday as he sat back in his office chair and stretched his arms behind his head.

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  • Missouri Mavericks president Brent Thiessen looked calm and refreshed Monday as he sat back in his office chair and stretched his arms behind his head.
    One of the busiest men in the Central Hockey League had a rare moment to relax and talk about his team, the state of the Central Hockey League and Missouri’s newest entry into the CHL.
    But first and foremost, Thiessen wants CHL fans to be assured that the league is as strong as ever and that it’s ready to enter its 22nd season this October.
    “We're fired up and ready to go,” Thiessen said after returning from the 18th annual CHL Summer Conference in Phoenix, where the Mavericks took home six of the 16 awards announced, including the CHL Franchise of the Year for the third season in a row.
    The Mavericks also won Group Ticket Sales Franchise of the Year for the third year in a row. Missouri brought home Corporate Partnerships and Ticket Sales Franchise honors for the second year in a row and Thiessen was again named the winner of the Brad Treliving Executive of the Year. Bob Rennison was named the Broadcaster of the Year.
    “The league is strong,” Thiessen said. “We keep hearing rumors about this team leaving or that team leaving, but as of right now, we are starting the season with 10 teams, including the new Chill in St. Charles and the Beast in Brampton, Ontario (outside of Toronto).”
    Both the Allen Americans, the defending league champion, and Wichita, which lost the championship to Allen, will be back in the CHL this season.
    “Everyone was very positive at the meetings and we're looking forward to a very successful season here in Independence,” Thiessen said. “We are at the point where we can start bringing back the solid core players who helped us make the run to Game 7 of the semifinals the past two seasons.
    “I know I don't need to say this, because our fans already know, but our only goal is to bring Eastern Jackson County a championship. We've come close the past two years, and this year, we hope to make that dream a reality.”
    There will be an interesting scenario in the state this season as the ownership group of brothers Matt and Mark Adam and Mike Carper will not only own the fifth-year Mavericks, they also purchased the Chill from an ownership group that is no longer affiliated with the team.
    Former Mavericks vice president of communications Patrick Armstrong is the executive vice president of the Chill and is running the day-to-day operations, coach Jamie Rivers is running the hockey side and Thiessen is serving as the team's president to oversee all operations.
    “I'm serving as president to help get another hockey club up and going in our state,” Thiessen said. “With Patrick and Jamie on site all the time, the team is in great hands. And I can promise you, there is going to be quite a rivalry between the Chill and the Mavericks.
    Page 2 of 3 - “The Chill are going to be like 'We're ready to take a piece of the action in Missouri,' and the Mavs are going to be like, 'We're here to show you how it's done.'”
    There are certain rules both organizations must abide by, as the Mavs and Chill cannot make any player transactions or have any off-ice dealings to avoid a conflict of interest.
    “Having one ownership group own two teams is not new to the CHL,” Thiessen said. “The same ownership group owns Tulsa and Wichita – although they are not in the same state, they are rivals in the same league. The league welcomed our ownership to come into St. Charles.”
    The ownership groups of each team now own the CHL, which had been owned by Global Entertainment Corporation.
    “I want to make another thing clear on the ownership,” Thiessen said. “Every team owns one-tenth of the league. There are rumors that the Mavericks and Thunder own the biggest part of the pie, and that's just not true. This is equal ownership among all the teams.”
    Thiessen said the team is looking to sign more veteran players from last year's team and that coach Scott Hillman is on the lookout for two goalies to replace last year's successful rookies Mike Clemente and Mathieu Corbeil.
    “We've had very successful goalies each season and we look to continue that streak in the upcoming season,” Thiessen said. “This is a very important season for this franchise. It's our fifth year and we want to make it the best yet.”
    When asked about radio broadcasts for the upcoming season, Thiessen said that's an issue he is currently dealing with. Last season, the games were aired on KUDL (1660 AM), but its frequency did not carry well in Eastern Jackson County, meaning fans in the metro area could hear the games but fans in Independence, Blue Springs and Grain Valley had trouble picking up the broadcasts.
    “We just don't know right now what we're going to do,” Thiessen said. “Our fans may be able to listen to games on their phone apps or computers, or we might work out a radio deal. I just can't give you an answer right now.”
    But he can answer one question: How does this team continue to lead the league in sellouts (17 last season) and grow its season ticket base each season?
    “That's an easy one,” Thiessen said, smiling. “We have the greatest staff in the league and the greatest fans. No team in North America has grown its season-ticket base the past five years – that's unheard of. We have people on our staff who love what they do and we have fans who love this team.”
    Page 3 of 3 - ALIGNMENT, PLAYOFFS REMAIN SAME: The CHL announced Tuesday that it would keep the same alignment and the same playoff format as last season.
    The CHL will again compete in one 10-team Berry Conference. The expansion Brampton Beast and St. Charles Chill will join the Mavericks, Allen Americans, Arizona Sundogs, Denver Cutthroats, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder.
    The playoff format will remain three best-of-seven rounds with eight teams advancing. Teams will be seeded Nos. 1-8 based on regular season points totals and will play the opening round, Berry Conference semifinals and the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals.
    The CHL Board of Governors adopted two new rule changes. The CHL will eliminate the “attainable” pass rule, which allows for a linesman to waive off icing if it is determined that a pass was attainable. The board also voted to cut minor penalties in overtime to one minute instead of two and that on-ice officials have an emphasis to closely monitor diving infractions.
    n CHL Broadcaster of the Year Bob Rennison will be featured in Thursday's Examiner.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     

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