When the team bus pulled up to the DeSoto Civic Center, the Missouri Mavericks were greeted by two special fans - Dorie and Ryan Christian, the wife and 8-year-old daughter of all-star forward Jeff Christian.

When the team bus pulled up to the DeSoto Civic Center, the Missouri Mavericks were greeted by two special fans.

Dorie and Ryan Christian, the wife and 8-year-old daughter of all-star forward Jeff Christian, were there Thursday night to greet the team before the Mavericks won their first-ever playoff series – downing the Mississippi RiverKings 3-1.

“It was great to see Jeff’s wife and Ryan there at the center,” Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger said. “You know, Jeff is going through so much with Ryan and for him to play in the games and make such an impact and help us get that playoff win is pretty amazing.”

Ryan is a patient at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., which is a short drive from the Southaven, Miss., the site of the Mavericks playoff series.

“I was able to stay with Dorie and Ryan and come over for the playoff games, and it was great,” Jeff Christian said. “It’s just amazing to see Ryan and have her be a part of all of this.

“It’s been tough on our family. We’re living down in Memphis, and we have wonderful friends, and neighbors and teammates who are taking care of things at our home back in Blue Springs.

“I know it gave me a boost to have Dorie and Ryan here tonight and I think the boys got a boost from seeing them, too.”

A recent entry in Dorie Christian’s online journal gives some insight into what the family is experiencing, as Ryan heads into her second round of chemotherapy treatments.

“Today we went to St Jude’s and had blood work done. Ryan also had a nutrition visit and an EKG. All these tests are done prior to starting round two of chemo on Friday. This evening Mom and Ryan attended the Missouri vs. Mississippi game where Missouri won and therefore knocked out Mississippi in the playoffs. Round two of the playoffs starts Saturday and Sunday in Missouri. Dad stayed in Memphis after the game and will fly back to Missouri Friday night. Ryan’s hair is really starting to fall out. She is handling it quite well … even pulling strands out and throwing them at Mom for fun. Ryan has at least 30 new hats and is very comfortable wearing one when she goes out. We are heading to St Jude’s tomorrow morning for more blood work prior to being admitted.”

Those words make an impact on Christian’s teammates.

“You hear about an 8-year-old undergoing chemo and losing her hair and it gives you a different perspective on a game,” Effinger said. “Jeff is dealing with something that is so painful because it’s his daughter. I don’t have any kids, but I can’t imagine watching your daughter go through something like that. But he knows he has his family, the guys on the team and the community to support him and I know that helps.”

Added coach Scott Hillman: “Having Dorie and Ryan at our games down in Mississippi was just great. Looking up and seeing them in the stands, and seeing them by the locker room after won really gave everyone a big lift. They are a very special family, a strong family, and we will continue to do anything we can to support them.”