The Kansas City Mavericks announced on Wednesday that longtime ECHL veteran Riley Weselowski is joining the team as assistant coach. Additionally, the organization has named legendary goaltender Josh Robinson as goalie coach. Both men bring years of playing and coaching experience and will be key assets for a Kanas City team that is striving to get back into the playoffs.
Weselowski played 13 seasons between the ECHL and CHL as a defenseman. He spent nine seasons with the Rapid City Rush, where he won a league championship in 2009-2010. The majority of 2020-21 saw Weselowski acting as an assistant coach, as well as video coordinator for the Wichita Thunder. With over 700 games played between the CHL and ECHL, Weselowski, 36-years-old, brings his vast knowledge and experience to the Mavericks’ coaching staff. Speaking to the new opportunity, the former defensemen said via a team press release, “I am extremely grateful to be joining the staff of the Kansas City Mavericks. I don’t take lightly the incredible opportunity for me to begin my coaching career with a premier ECHL organization.”
As per the team announcement, Weselowski, a Manitoba native, has been acting in a player/coach role through the past six seasons. Along with playing and coaching, Weselowski was a representative to the Professional Hockey Players Association, the players union which represents AHL and ECHL athletes. Head Coach and GM Tad O’Had previously coached Weselowski in 2018-19 with the Florida Everblades.
In speaking with Coach O’Had, he reflected that “Wes” has wanted to be a coach for several years, and he got to know him as “a man and a person in Florida, and [he] always liked him.” O’Had also stressed that Weselowski spent most of his career in the Mountain Division and knows what it takes to win in that division. Coach O’Had stayed in touch with Weselowski while he was playing and coaching this past season in Wichita. He said when Kohl Schultz left the team to return to the AHL’s Stockton Heat, Weselowski’s name rose to the top of the list.
Josh Robinson Re-Unites with the Mavericks
Josh Robinson looms large in the history of the Mavericks. He joined the franchise in 2012, and from there, quickly became a fan favourite. He carved out his legacy in 2015-16, where he posted a save percentage of .931, with a GAA of 1.88. This also included a 28-2-1 record and a league best 21-game personal win streak. His dominance that year helped Kansas City secure the Brabham Cup as regular season champions. He ended up winning league Goaltender of the Year that season and forever etched his name into ECHL history.
Following his tenure with Kansas City, Robinson went on to join the Florida Everblades. Since retiring, he’s spent the four seasons as Florida’s goaltending coach and video coordinator. In this role, he worked closely with Associate Head Coach Tad O’Had. As goaltending coach for the Everblades, Robinson has substantially improved the goaltending of that franchise.
According to O’Had, the Mavericks among the few teams in the ECHL who have a goalie coach on staff. “Josh is way more than a goalie coach,” O’Had said. “He’s going to be a huge addition to our goalies, but also to our team culture.”
Speaking of the chance to return, the former backstop said via a team press release, “I am very excited to return to KC and the Mavs. The staff and vision for the team that Tad is putting together is second to none.” Robinson will play an integral role in the development of goaltenders who play for the Mavericks. He is especially excited to help develop goaltenders in the Calgary Flames pipeline.
In many ways, the reunion of Robinson and the Mavericks could not be any more perfect. His expertise, coupled with the reputation in Kansas City, will greatly strengthen his effect on the team.
The addition of Weselowski and Robinson signals a turning point in the momentum of this franchise. Robinson will be the team’s first goaltending coach, which will work wonders in convincing their affiliates to send goaltenders to develop with the Mavericks. These additions are not merely exciting because of the “new” factor involved in the hirings. This is an exciting time because they are championship-caliber, heavy-weight hirings.
Tad O’Had has a clearly defined vision for this team and these moves help solidify that vision. The foundation of this team, according to O’Had, is being built on having “the best staff possible.”
“We all have the common mindset that ‘this is our NHL’, we put everything into this and that’s very important.” he said. “When your staff is acting like that, players feed off of that energy. I really think we hit a home run with both Josh and Wes.”