Calgary Flames Extend Affiliation With ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks

On Monday, August 9th, the Kansas City Mavericks, Stockton Heat, and Calgary Flames re-affirmed their affiliation, as they extended the agreement to a fifth season. In a statement, Brad Pascall, AGM of the Calgary Flames and GM of the Stockton Heat, said, “The Calgary Flames and the Stockton Heat are pleased to continue our affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, Kansas City is a first-class franchise with quality ownership and management that shares the same winning culture and player development objectives as our organization.”

Tad O’Had, Mavericks Head Coach and GM, stated, “We have been pleased with the conversation of late with Calgary and Stockton. We are committed to helping develop talent in Kansas City for Calgary. Brad Pascall and I believe we can create one of the best three-tier development models in hockey.”

In doing so, O’Had mentions more of an active development role for the Mavericks than has been communicated in the past.

Over the past five seasons, a total of 21 players have been assigned respectively by Stockton or Calgary to Kansas City. Some of the most notable names include goaltenders Tyler Parsons, Mason McDonald and Nick Schneider, defensemen Zach Osburn and Corey Schueneman, as well as forward Zach Fischer. This past season, COVID-19 restrictions at the Canadian border made it nearly impossible for players to be assigned to the Mavericks from the Heat, who had temporarily opened shop in Calgary to be in proximity of their parent club.

However, defensemen Greg Moro and Koletrane Wilson, forward Giorgio Estephan and goaltender Andrew Shortridge played for Kansas City while on AHL contracts. Estephan began the season on a standard player agreement (ECHL) before signing with Stockton after a tremendous performance with Kansas City.

This extension will not be un-controversial. There has been criticism in Kansas City of the perceived lack of cooperation between the Mavericks, Flames and Heat. Part of this is just the inherent nature of being in a AA-level feeder league, however, it has seemed in the past that the Mavericks have been used as more of a dumping ground, rather than a legitimate developmental piece of the franchise.

Given the insight from both Pascall and O’Had, hopefully, this will mean more cooperation and the use of the Mavericks as a true developmental organ of the Calgary Flames system. With a new leadership at the helm in Kansas City, a new coach in Stockton, and the Heat approved to return home, it’s very possible things could look very different this year.

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