New Missouri Mavericks head coach John-Scott Dickson can add two new pieces to the puzzle he is carefully constructing as the ECHL team heads into the upcoming season.
The Mavericks announced they have signed forwards Rocco Carzo and Dane Fox to standard player contracts for the 2016-17 season.
“Rocco and Dane are two important signings for us, and I’m excited about the offensive ability they bring to the club,” Dickson said. “Rocco is a big part of the leadership group here. He knows how we want to do things and plays the right way – team first.
“Dane is a player that can play in all situations and he sticks up for his teammates, which is important when trying to bring a group of guys together. But Dane is a proven goal scorer in this league and that is what’s expected of him.”
Carzo, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward, led the Mavericks with 41 assists during the club-record 52-win campaign last season and was third on the team with 56 points with 15 goals in 69 games. The 26-year-old forward from Media, Pennsylvania, recorded a career-high eight-game assist streak when he recorded nine assists March 16-30.
“I’m so excited to be coming back to the Mavericks, a first-class organization with the best fans in the league,” Carzo said by phone Wednesday. “It was a no-brainer to re-sign with the Mavericks. They are putting together a highly skilled and competitive team, and I’m excited to get back to the playoffs and battle for that Kelly Cup.”
Carzo spent a few weeks off the ice, including a few weeks of fishing in Florida, but now his attention is spent on a return to the postseason and a run toward the team’s first ECHL title.
“I still have a bad taste in my mouth from losing to (eventual ECHL champion) Allen,” Carzo said of the conference semifinal series loss. “I know we lost a lot of great talent off last year’s team, but I know Coach Dickson, Brent (Thiessen, general manager) and everyone is going to put together another great team this season.
“I’m excited to play for John-Scott. He was very impressive last season as our assistant coach, and I think he is the right man to coach us this season.”
Over Carzo’s first three professional seasons he has compiled 147 points (51 goals, 96 assists) over 201 ECHL games between Missouri, Ontario and Florida. He has also recorded an assist in eight American Hockey League contests with Norfolk and San Diego. Carzo came to the Mavericks in June 2015 as a completion of an earlier trade.
Fox, 22, finished tied for fifth in the ECHL last season with 26 goals for the Kalamazoo Wings. That followed a 30-goal rookie campaign with Kalamazoo in 2014-15 and with 56 goals over the last two years, Fox has scored the ninth most goals in the ECHL in that span.
Along with his 56 goals, the 6-1, 190-pound forward has chipped in 39 assists and racked up 197 penalty minutes in two ECHL seasons. He also has one assist in two AHL games, one each with Utica and Charlotte.
“I’m excited to come to the Mavericks to play for Coach Dickson because they are always competitive and focused on winning,” Fox said. “It’s a great place for me to grow as a person and player, and to help me reach the next level.”
Prior to turning professional Fox played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League between the London Knights and Erie Otters.
The Chatham, Ontario, native produced 227 points (118 goals, 109 assists) over 243 games. That included a 107-point (64 goals, 43 assists) season in 2013-14 in which he led the OHL in goals and finished second in points. Fox’s efforts that season led to him signing a free agent contract with the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks.
Carzo and Fox join team captain Andrew Courtney, Darren Nowick, Kevin Tansey, Yuri Terao, Andrew Courtney, Bryce Aneloski and Dan Correale on the Mavericks’ preseason roster.