Mavericks add size with rookie defenseman Cook

Bill Althaus
Ryan Cook

The Kansas City Mavericks continue to add heft and muscle to their roster as the ECHL team signed defenseman Ryan Cook to a standard player contract for the 2020-21 season.

Cook, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound native of Lancaster, New York, joins the Mavericks after an impressive senior season with Niagara University. In 26 games with the Purple Eagles in his senior season, Cook had five points on three goals and two assists and a plus-four plus-minus rating.

“We like everything about Ryan,” Mavericks coach and director of hockey operations Tad O’Had said after the signing Tuesday afternoon. “I have a good association with the coaching staff at Niagara and they raved about him.

“They believe he is one of those players whose best hockey could come at the pro level. With the size and talent we’re signing on the blue line, no one is going to push us around this season.”

Not only does Cook possess size and strength, he knows what to do when the puck is on his stick, O’Had said.

“He is a rugged, tough and talented D-man with excellent size,” O’Had added. “He can hit like a truck, has soft hands, a hard shot and is willing to challenge and make opponents’ lives very difficult in the defensive zone.

“He was a great addition at Niagara University and we believe Cook possesses the abilities and character traits for an exciting professional career. We can’t wait to get him in town.”

Before transferring to Niagara his senior year, Cook spent three seasons at Merrimack College. In 73 games for Merrimack, Cook posted eight points on three goals and five assists.

Cook is joined on defense by rookies Tommy Muck and Luke Bafia and second-year pro Cole Candella, who previously signed with the ECHL team. The Mavericks have also re-signed forwards Justin Woods, Loren Ulett and Bryan Lemos while building the roster for the 2020-21 season