If St. Louis is too far to go for Saint Mary hockey fans, a competitive team based out of Independence, Missouri is quite a quality alternative. The Kansas City Mavericks play at the Silverstein Eyes Center Arena and are a part of the East Coast Hockey League. Most teams in their league have direct affiliations with NHL squads. The Mavericks are a professional team that is one of the affiliated teams with the Calgary Flames and currently have two players on the team that are on Flames contracts. These two are young goalies, Mason McDonald and Nick Schneider who have been working together to keep pucks out of the net this year.

Lead by veteran Rocco Carzo, who is in his first year as the captain for the Mavericks but fourth season playing for them, this team is one that can put on quite a show for fans in attendance. According to the ECHL website,the Mavericks are placed fourth in the Mountain Division securing them the final playoff spot in their division for now. They are currently on an eight game road trip that did not start too hot with a 4-2 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays. However, this road trip may prove to be the most important of the year. They hold the spot right now for the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, but they will need to take at least half the points out of this stretch of road games to extend their season.

Carzo said earlier in the year after beating a team quite lower in the standings, “Everyone is big at this point we need to get the points when we can. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the last place team or first place team. In the end of the season when you’re struggling for that last spot in the playoffs these points are going to come back to either help you or hurt you,” and this quote is becoming more relevant than ever. It’s crunch time for this team and as a result, some high intensity games are being played with end results being decided in mere seconds. If there is a time to check out this team for the first time, it is now.

The level that the Mavericks play slightly differs from that of NHL hockey. It has what people call an “old-time hockey,” feel to it. Where some games can include multiple fights and interesting plays not really seen in the National Hockey League, there are big hits and a wide variety of individual player skills that come together in this league. At the end of the day, most of these guys are trying to earn their shot on an American League team to be one step closer to the NHL or they are just playing out as much professional hockey as their body will allow them to.

Single game ticket prices range from $10-41 based on the night and deals offered. This season they have held Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Marvel theme nights where fans are welcome to dress up and the players play with custom jersey’s based on the theme that are auctioned off after the end of the game. As of now, the Mavericks only have one home game left on Tuesday April 2ndagainst the Tulsa Oilers. That being said, holding their playoff spot will add more games to their schedule that will go into the heart of April and start of May. Tickets can be purchased at the box office on site, over the phone or online at ticketmaster.

Paige Siewert is a Senior at the University of Saint Mary studying Digital Communications.