It might not have been Jeff Buvinow's first question when he arrived in Independence to join the Missouri Mavericks, but it was among the first.
“How do you get to Plowboys?” Buvinow, a college roommate of former Mavericks goaltender and barbecue connoisseur Mike Clemente, asked of the Blue Springs restaurant.
“After I signed with the team, I called Mike and he told me about this great barbecue place called Plowboys. The restaurant wasn't open when he played here, but they catered a meal for the team and it was all he talked about.
“When Mike and I were at Brown University, we were always looking for good barbecue, and he told me it would be a lot easier to find it here in Missouri.”
Mavericks coach Scott Hillman is as excited about the addition of the veteran defenseman as Buvinow is about the barbecue.
“He's such a big addition to the team,” said Hillman, who called Buvinow after he was waived by the Arizona Sundogs of the CHL earlier this season. “He handles the puck so well, and he will be a welcome addition to the second power-play line.”
The moves bring the Mavericks’ healthy roster to 17, with defenseman Henrik Řdegaard on personal leave to play for Norway in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and newly signed defenseman Evan Zych and forward John-Scott Dickson on injured reserve.
Buvinow, a native of Turnersville, N.J., spent four years at Brown University – rooming with Clemente for three years – and went on to play for the Trenton Titans (ECHL), Tulsa Oilers (CHL) and, most recently, Arizona earlier this season.
“We saw Jeff a ton last season when he was with Tulsa,” Hillman said. “He's the type of guy you want out there with the teams we have coming up on our schedule – Wichita and Allen. He's a nice addition to our team and he comes at a good time.”
Buvinow can't wait for tonight's game at Wichita and his first home game at the Independence Events Center at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against the Allen Americans.
“I played here so many times last year with Tulsa, and we loved coming here because the Mavericks have the best fans in the league,” he said. “I enjoyed my time in Tulsa, then I went to Arizona and got hurt and they put some guys in the lineup and there really wasn't room for me to come back when I got healthy.
“It was a numbers game, and I understood. Then, I got the call from Scott, and I am so excited to be here. Mike had so many great things to say about the team, management and the fans.
“I can't wait to play here as a Maverick, rather than an opponent. It's going to be great to have the fans cheering for me.”