I love lists, any type of list. The 10 greatest rock ’n roll bands of all time, the top 40 singles, the best pizza joints in Eastern Jackson County, the greatest lines in movie history – you name it, I can make a list out of it.
The Missouri Mavericks are giving their fans the opportunity to vote for their top 10 favorite all-time players, who will be featured on trading cards that will be handed out in packs of five at two Maverick games during the regular season.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see who makes the final cut. This team is entering just its sixth season, but because of the fans intense loyalty to the Mavericks, this process could be difficult. I can think of a handful of players who should be locks for the all-time team, but you never know how fans are going to vote.
I had an animated disagreement with a fan during the team’s memorable fifth season saying that I thought one of the most important players in the history of the team was former enforcer Carlyle “The Grim Sleeper” Lewis.
During the team’s chaotic first two years, when players came and went as if they were being ushered through a revolving door, Lewis was the team’s rock, its foundation. He didn’t put up the big numbers, but he had a presence on the ice that will never be forgotten, and if a teammate needed to share a foxhole with someone, Lewis’ name was always called.
All I have to do is close my eyes and think back to that memorable game where he earned his nickname by KO-ing an opponent and then skating off the ice with his head in his hands as he was about to fall asleep himself. That night “The Grim Sleeper” was born.
There are simply too many memorable moments – and players – to mention, so . . . here is the list compiled by the Mavericks:
Obi Aduba, Eric Castonguay Jeff Christian, Mike Clemente, Andrew Courtney, John-Scott Dickson, Charlie Effinger, Blake Forsythe, Ryan Jardine, Trevor Kell, Colt King, Jared Lavendar, Carlyle Lewis, Ed McGrane, Kenton Miller, Robbie Nolan, Henrik Odegaard, Shane Owen, Derek Pallardy, Dave Pszenyczny, Cole Ruwe, David Simoes, Nick Sirota, Brandon Smith, Sebastien Thinel, Kellan Tochkin, Bill Vandermeer, Evan Vossen, Mike Wakita and Simon Watson.
The Mavericks will have all the information fans need to vote for the top 30 players on the team’s initial list sometime today. If a fan does not see his or her favorite player on the list, write that player in by voting at email@example.com.
I was a little surprised that Nathan O’Nabigon was not on the list, because I believe he scored the biggest goal in team history – the postseason game winner against the Wichita Thunder in 2011. I’ve never heard the crowd in the Independence Events Center make as much noise as it did following that goal.
I’d also like to write-in Toby LaFrance, a personal favorite. He was always the smallest player on the ice, but no one had a bigger heart that the native of Quebec who went on to become a successful European player.
This promotion is going to be a lot of fun, and a bit of a challenge. How do you select just two goalies from an elite group like Effinger, Nolan, Clemente and Owen? David Simoes’ playing days in Missouri was cut short by a cheap shot that resulted in a career-ending concussion, but on and off the ice he was in a class by himself. I compiled my top 10 list after I received the 30 names from the Mavericks, and I will share it with Examiner readers when we come closer to the voting cut-off date of July 11.
While some of the details are still be finalized, this is going to be a fun and exciting way to keep the Mavericks on everyone’s mind during the dog days of summer.
Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC