Viva Lafrance!

Toby Lafrance, who averaged close to a point per game after joining the first-year Missouri Mavericks in February, is coming back to the Central Hockey League team.

Viva Lafrance!
Toby Lafrance, who averaged close to a point per game after joining the first-year Missouri Mavericks in February, is coming back to the Central Hockey League team.
“I am so excited,” said Lafrance, who is spending the summer in his hometown, Granby, Quebec, near Montreal. “I’m just 22, and haven’t been a pro for that long, but I never experienced anything like last season.
“From Scott (Hillman, coach) and Brent (Thiessen, president and general manager) to the greatest fans on earth – it was unbelievable, just amazing really.
“From the minute the season ended, I wanted to re-sign with the team, and I am honored that Scott and Brent wanted me back.
“I think the fans will be so excited when the season starts because we’re going to be the team they saw when the season ended – the team that made it to the playoffs.”
Lafrance wasn’t the only excited member of the Mavericks.
Hillman was so pumped up about Lafrance’s return that he called me while he and his family stood in line for a ride at Universal Studios theme park.
“Toby was one of the players we brought in last year who just got better and better and better,” Hillman said of the personable forward. “He was a guy everyone loved in the locker room and he was a fan favorite, too. Everyone’s been asking me, ‘Is Toby coming back?’ Now, I’m happy to say he is.”
With the addition of center Olivier Filion, who is a friend of Lafrance, Hillman said Lafrance will be moved to the wing.
“I’m excited about the move, because Olivier is an amazing player,” Lafrance said. “Our fans are going to love him. He has the ability to put the puck right on your stick, and we’re going to benefit from that and score more goals.”
Thiessen said signing Lafrance was a no-brainer.
“Toby is going to be a part of the future of this team,” Thiessen said. “We want to make it to the championships, and we think we can do it this season. And Toby is going to be a big, big part of where we want to go and how we get there.
“He and his wife love it here. He made sure to let me and Scott know that he wanted to come back and we are so excited that he’s going to be back. As big an impact he makes on the ice, he makes an even bigger impact in the locker room. Everyone loves to be around Toby, and he became a team leader.”
• The Mavericks also signed defensemen Chris Mifflen and Mike Wakita.
Lafrance and Mifflen return after playing for Missouri in the team’s inaugural season and Wakita enters his rookie season in the Central Hockey League.
“Scott wanted to get bigger on defense, and with the signing of Chris and Mike, we’re getting bigger, younger and stronger,” Thiessen said.  “They will give us a real presence on the blue line.”