Mavericks coach calls veteran defenseman Corrin a 'huge' signing

By Bill Althaus
Willie Corrin

Tad O’Had experienced a moment of deja vu Tuesday afternoon, as he thought back to a game his Florida Everblades were playing in front of mostly empty seats.

“We’re playing exactly four years ago today – election night 2016 – and no one was watching, they were all voting,” said O’Had, the Kansas City Mavericks coach and director of hockey operations, “and all of sudden I thought to myself, ‘Man, we should be playing hockey. 

“The season’s not going to start when it usually does, but we’re playing soon and I can’t wait because we’re making some huge signings – some of the best in the history of this franchise.”

The Mavericks announced another “huge” signing on Tuesday as the ECHL team inked defenseman Willie Corrin to a contract.

Corrin, 29, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound, 29-year-old from International Falls, Minn., is returning to North America after two seasons in Europe. 

Last season with HKM Zvolen in Slovakia, he had 47 points on nine goals and 38 assists and 136 penalty minutes. During the 2018-19 season, Corrin led the DEL-2 league in Germany in assists for all defensemen.

“This guy is the real deal, a huge signing,” O’Had said. “Willie is exactly what you want from a defenseman. He competes hard, bomb of a shot, rock steady in all zones, a great teammate and great hockey IQ.”

Corrin said he is eager about his return to North America and ECHL hockey.

“I think we’re going to have a really good team in Kansas City this year,” Corrin said by phone. “I know Austin (Farley) and Rob (Bordson) and I believe they might have given my name to Kohl (Schulz, assistant coach). We talked on the phone and I talked with Coach O’Had and he and Kohl were so enthusiastic, and on paper we really have a lot of talent. Now, we have to prove we’re a talented team on the ice.”

One thing that excites O’Had is Corrin’s background.

“Willie has experience at every level,” O’Had said, “and has always shined from NCAA, AHL, ECHL, DEL-2 and Slovakia.”

“His last time in the ECHL he was called up by three separate AHL (American Hockey League) clubs. He most recently led the DEL-2 in assists for all defensemen and was a force to be reckoned with in Slovakia. 

“Kohl and I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with Willie, he is a hockey player through and through and is dying to get back on the ice. He makes us a better club immediately and will help lead our already talented D-core.”

During his two seasons in the ECHL, Corrin totaled 54 points on 14 goals and 40 assists in 80 games, all but three games with the Brampton Beast.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that Kansas City is a great place to live and that the arena and the organization are top-notch,” Corrin said. “We never had many fans in Brampton, so it will be great to play in front of some big crowds.

“And I think we’re going to give them plenty to cheer about.”

The Mavericks are now scheduled to open the 2020-21 schedule Dec. 11 at Indianapolis and play their first home game at Cable Dahmer Arena on Dec. 18 against the same Indy Fuel team.