The Missouri Mavericks are denying reports that link the franchise and owner Lamar Hunt Jr. to a proposed AHL squad at the Sprint Center.
Hunt is the owner of Mavericks, who play out of Independence’s Silverstein Eye Centers Arena as members of the ECHL. Recent reports indicated that Hunt was looking to set up shop at the Sprint Center, the downtown Kansas City venue that has long been speculated as a potential match for an NBA or NHL franchise. The team at the Sprint Center would be a St. Louis Blues affiliate, and play out of the AHL.
The Blues have ties to the Sprint Center, as they have previously played exhibition games at the arena. As it was reported, the move allowed the franchise to strengthen its ties to Kansas City, as the team at the Sprint Center would replace the Chicago Wolves as the Blues AHL affiliate. However, those tied to the transaction quickly denied the reports. More from the Kansas City Star:
A report Wednesday from the “In the Slot” blog and TV station KSDK in St. Louis said that Hunt and Kansas City Youth Hockey Association president Tom Tilley would own the AHL team and house it at Sprint Center, noting that the team would replace the Blues’ current relationship with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. The report cited a source as saying the plans were “pretty much a done deal.”
When reached by The Star on Wednesday, Tilley said, “There’s no truth to that at all.
For their part, the Mavericks responded in a statement from general manager Brent Thiessen that affirmed their commitment to both Independence and the ECHL:
“Lamar Hunt Jr. and the Missouri Mavericks hockey team have a working relationship with the Blues and Chicago Wolves through the balance of the season, and have no plans at this time to leave the ECHL or Silverstein Eye Center Arena. Any speculation would be just that. We are very happy with our partnership with the Blues at the National Hockey League level and the Wolves at the American Hockey league level, and appreciate the opportunity to develop the seven prospects that have played with the Mavericks so far. As we work to continue to grow the game locally in Kansas City, we are thrilled to partner with the Blues as they share our vision of growing the game of hockey throughout Missouri.”
In a partnership that began this year, the Mavericks have a working agreement with the Blues and the Wolves. However, they also serve as the ECHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.