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Betzold agrees to fourth season with Mavericks

Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Kansas City Mavericks forward Greg Betzold, left, battles with Wichita's Beau Starrett for the puck in a game last season. Betzold was limited to just 11 games last season because of an upper body injury. The Mavericks have signed Betzold for his fourth season with the ECHL team.

Greg Betzold joined an elite group of Kansas City Mavericks after signing a contract for the upcoming season.

The 6-foot-3, 203-pound forward from West Chester, Ohio, will be among the longest tenured Mavericks on the roster during the 2020-21 campaign, joining the ranks of Mavericks Hall of Famer Sebastien Thinel, former coach and player John-Scott Dickson, former captain and No. 2 all-time scorer Andrew Courtney and team captain Rocco Carzo, who retired following last season.

This will be Betzold’s fourth season with the team, joining those former elite players who made an impact on the ice and in the community.

“When you see your name mentioned in the same sentence with those guys – I mean, those are the guys who have, or will have, jerseys hanging in the rafters (to honor them for their success with the team) – it kind of gives you chills,” Beltzold said.

“I just know I have a lot of fuel left in the tank after last season and can’t wait to get back to Kansas City to play hockey and hopefully give (the) fans a championship. Or, at least make a deep playoff run.”

Betzold played just 11 games last season after suffering an upper body injury that set the tone for a disappointing season in which the Mavericks failed to make the ECHL playoffs and then saw the season come to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past three seasons with the Mavericks, Betzold has 33 goals and 49 assists for 82 points in 131 games, including 25 goals and 31 assists in 70 games in the 2018-19 season. He has established himself on the ice and in the locker room, which impressed Tad O’Had, the new head coach and director of hockey operations.

“Greg showed an exceptional work ethic with our training staff and (head athletic trainer) Nick Potter during his rehab last season,” O’Had said. “We believe Greg has incredible abilities as a player. He’s a lethal shooter and puck distributor. Greg has a high hockey IQ and can contribute in all three zones for us. When he’s at his best, Greg is a force to be reckoned with, and we feel strongly that his best hockey is in front of him.”

Although he has only spoken to O’Had over the phone, the veteran forward is already a big fan of the first-year coach.

“He is so enthusiastic; I just love talking to Coach O’Had,” Betzold said. “He gets you excited about hockey and the upcoming season. If I was a waiter and he was a guest in my restaurant, I bet he would be so inspirational ordering his food that you would want to go back and make him a handcrafted meal that he would never forget!”

Betzold, who split his 2016-17 rookie ECHL season with Cincinnati and Elmira, ranks 14th in Mavericks history in games played, 13th in goals scored and 13th in points.

“I want to add to all those numbers this season,” Betzold said. “We all have unfinished business and we all want to get back on the ice.”

The Mavericks are scheduled to return to home ice at 7:05 p.m. Oct. 17 at Cable Dahmer Arena when they take on longtime rival Tulsa.

“I sure hope the season starts on time,” he added. “No one can tell what’s going to happen. I’m in Philadelphia with my girlfriend and the Phillies just played the Marlins and all those Marlin players came down with COVID and now they’re talking about making all kinds of changes in baseball.

“So I’m just going to keep working out so when it is time to play, I’ll be better than ever.”