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New Mavericks coach finally comes to town

Bill Althaus
Tad O'Had, right, will be in town this weekend to get a start on his tenure as the new head coach of the ECHL's Kansas City Mavericks.

Tad O’Had, the new head coach of the Kansas City Mavericks, is in Independence and ready to get to work on a face-to-face basis with assistant coach Kohl Schultz and president and general manager Brent Thiessen.

“I’ve spent five, six hours a day on the phone with Brent and Kohl, and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person this weekend and getting to work on building a Mavericks team the fans are going to love to watch,” O’Had said.

While O’Had has prepared to field his first Mavericks team, he has had to do it remotely. This will be his first chance to be in Independence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This offseason has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” said O’Had, who was named as John-Scott Dickson’s replacement on April 15. “There were the early days of the pandemic when things were changing on a minute-to-minute basis, and that’s slowed down a little bit, but we’re still not at a point where we know what’s going to happen later this month, or later this summer.

“This weekend was supposed to be the final days of the (ECHL) Kelly Cup. And no one is on the ice and no one really knows for sure what’s going to happen in the immediate future, but we’re planning on being ready October 1, and I can promise you that no team in the ECHL is going to outwork the Mavericks. We’re going to put a team on the ice everyone will enjoy watching and be proud of.”

The Mavericks are scheduled to hit the ice for training camp the first week of October. The home opener is scheduled for Oct. 17 against the Tulsa Oilers, a longtime division rival.

O’Had, a former associate head coach with the Florida Everblades, is the fourth head coach in Mavericks history. He replaced Dickson, who was relieved of his coaching duties during last season. Schultz, who took over the ECHL team as interim head coach, has been instrumental in helping O’Had become familiar with his new players, the new coach said.

“I couldn’t be any more excited about coming to town Friday,” O’Had said. “Everyone in the ECHL knows about and respects the Mavericks organization. My meetings with Brent and (owner) Lamar Hunt (Jr.) couldn’t have gone any better.

“And the work Kohl has done has been so helpful. I can’t wait to work with him this season because he’s a hockey guy with a lot of passion for the game. And having someone like Brent, who has been with the team since day one just shows what this team means to him and everyone in the organization.”

Thiessen believes his team got the perfect coach to help the Mavericks reach playoff success for seasons to come.

“All you need to do is talk to Tad once, and you know what a special guy he is,” Thiessen said. “I’m thrilled to bring in such a highly regarded coach to bring our team back to the playoffs and be a perennial contender in the ECHL. I am excited for our fans to meet him and I know it won’t take long for them to get excited for what’s ahead.”

O’Had knows the importance of making the Mavericks a playoff contender in 2020-21.

“I know that no one with the organization was happy with the way the team performed last year,” O’Had said, and we’re going to do all we can to make the Mavericks one of the premier teams in the ECHL.”

Now he’s eager to get started – in person.

“This is going to be a great weekend and a busy weekend,” O’Had said. “Bret, Kohl and I will have many discussions, I’m going to take some time to look around the city – which I’m really excited about – and I’m going to do some house hunting.

“Monday, I’m going to meet the staff at the arena and I’m heading out Monday afternoon. I just want Mavericks fans to know that we are going to do something special this offseason to bring them a team they’re going to enjoy watching. And I can’t wait to hit the ice.”