The Missouri Mavericks will be called the Kansas City Mavericks starting June 1.
The announcement was made by general manager Brent Thiessen at the team’s annual Mac Awards Saturday night at the Stoney Creek Conference Center in Independence.
Thiessen wanted to make the announcement at the sold-out event because many season ticket holders and sponsors attend the ceremonial banquet, in which the team honors players and special moments from the 2016-17 season.
“First and foremost, we are changing our name – and that is the only thing we are changing,” Thiessen said. “We’re not joining the AHL. We’re not moving to the Sprint Center. We’re selling season tickets for the 2017-18 season in Silverstein Eye Centers Arena – and I think it’s important to address all the false rumors that have been surrounding the team (following a report out of St. Louis late last year that said the team might move venues and jump up to the American Hockey League).
“We are excited – very excited – to join the other professional teams in the area – the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting KC. We see this name change to Kansas City as an inclusionary move.”
Thiessen explained that after a careful study of season ticket holders and sponsors, many came from Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.
“Seventy-eight percent of our fan base (season ticket holders) come from Kansas City,” said Thiessen, referring to fans from both sides of the state line. “And 57 percent of our sponsors come from the same location.”
Thiessen expects some backlash from the name change, and said he is ready to discuss the move with any Mavericks fan.
However, he wants them to know the Mavericks are staying in the ECHL and staying in SEC Arena.
“The colors are going to be the same, we’re still going to have the horse for the mascot, but we’re changing our name,” he said. “This is more of an umbrella that encompasses how far this franchise has come in the past eight years.
“Our owner (Lamar Hunt) lives in Kansas, and when he talks about the Missouri Mavericks, people want to know where they play. We play in Independence, but we are a metro area team and we believe the name Kansas City Mavericks does not run away from our great tradition, it enhances it.
“This is not the final chapter of this book, it’s a new chapter, an exciting chapter.”
The name change had to be cleared by the ECHL, which owns naming rights to all teams, and Thiessen said the team received the league’s blessing.
“We are so proud of this arena – it’s one of the best facilities in all of the ECHL,” he said. “And we’re proud of Independence. We are not running away from Independence.
“We’re embracing our home, but this team has been so successful in the entire metro area it has simply outgrown its name. We’re proud to have such a strong base in Kansas City and across the metro area.
“And we believe this name change reflects that pride.”