Cooper, Stepan sign with Mavericks

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The Kansas City Mavericks added two forwards to the 2017-18 roster with the announced signings of Mark Cooper and Zach Stepan.

The Mavericks are the ECHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League and the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.

Cooper joins Kansas City after spending his first full professional season with Rapid City in 2016-17. With the Rush, Cooper ranked second on the team with 42 points (16g-26a). He also skated in 10 games with the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL, claiming two assists.

The 25-year-old broke into professional hockey with two games with the Chicago Wolves in 2015-16 after completing his collegiate career at Bowling Green State. Cooper served as an alternate captain with the Falcons for his senior season, a year in which he was named to the All-WCHA Third Team as well as earning his third Academic All-WCHA recognition. The Toronto native was Bowling Green's leading goal scorer (16) and finished as the team's top point-getter (32) in his senior season.

Prior to his collegiate career, Cooper played two seasons for the St. Michael's Buzzers of the OJHL, where he recorded 111 points (49g-62a) in 95 games.

Stepan, 23, joins the Mavericks after completing his collegiate career with Minnesota State-Mankato in the 2016-17 season. A fourth-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Stepan tallied 59 points (24g-35a) in 137 collegiate games.

The Hastings, Mich. native was a four-year letterwinner with the Mavericks and was a two-time honoree on the WCHA All-Academic Team. Stepan helped lead MSU to two conference regular-season titles and two conference tournament championships. 

Prior to his collegiate career, Stepan skated for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks in the 2012-13 season, where he posted 78 points (32g-46a), the league's third-best total, in 56 games. Stepan claims international experience as well, having represented Team USA on multiple occasions, winning tournaments on both the U-17 and U-19 teams.

Stepan played high school hockey for the storied Shattuck-St. Mary's program in Faribault, Minnesota, where he helped the team win national championships in 2011 and 2012. He is the cousin of Arizona Coyotes center and former New York Rangers alternate captain Derek Stepan.