Three Missouri Mavericks could have a chance to play at a higher level this season.
Defenseman Colten Hayes, who spent time with the Missouri Mavericks last season, defenseman Anders Franzon and goaltender Shane Owen have been invited to the Chicago Wolves training camp.
The Mavericks are affiliated with the Wolves of the American Hockey League, and Chicago is an affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.
“They will be in the lineup tonight when the Wolves play Rockford in an exhibition game,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman, who is in Chicago at the Wolves training camp, said by phone Wednesday. “We're looking forward to seeing how they perform.”
It's the first time Hillman has met Owen and Franzon, and he said he is impressed with the two newcomers both on and off the ice.
“Two great young men,” Hillman said. “The type of young men we want representing our team on the ice and in the community. Our fans are going to love them.”
Owen has not given up a goal in any of his scrimmage work, said Hillman, who added, “Hayes and Franzon have been outstanding on the blue line, which we really need back home.”
“This is a great opportunity for these young players to experience the speed and level of the American Hockey League,” he added. “They have been competing hard this week and have really represented the Mavericks well.”
Hayes, 23, played 10 games for the Fort Wayne Komets in the East Coast Hockey League prior to joining the Mavericks last season. He had nine points in 18 games as a Maverick before finishing the season with the Stockton Thunder in the ECHL. In Stockton, Hayes tallied eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in the last 33 games of the season.
The last four seasons, Franzon, 24, played at the University of Vermont. The 6-foot-3, 196 pound defenseman finished his college career with 24 points in 125 games.
Owen, 23, is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound goaltender from Markham, Ontario. He led Moncton to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Championship and 2010 Memorial Cup, going 14-3-0 with 2.12 goals against average and .925 save percentage in 18 games.
Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC