It was a veritable Who’s Who of Missouri Mavericks and Independence government personnel on hand Friday afternoon for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hockey Republic, located inside Shocking Prices at 23rd Street and Missouri 291.

It was a veritable Who’s Who of Missouri Mavericks and Independence government personnel on hand Friday afternoon for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hockey Republic, located inside Shocking Prices at 23rd Street and Missouri 291.

Billed as “the No. 1 source for hockey and skating equipment in the metro area,” the opening attracted Independence Mayor Don Reimal, Mayor Pro-tem Jim Schultz, Third District city councilman Myron Paris, members of the Independence Chamber of Commerce, Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen, coach Scott Hillman and forward Derek Pallardy, who just signed a new contract with the Central Hockey League team.

“Who would have thought a year ago that Independence would have its own hockey store?” asked the mayor, who cut the ceremonial red ribbon. “There is no better feeling than to see something like this great store open right here in Independence.

“I was involved with the Pop Warner Football League for years, and it’s so important for kids to have the right equipment and to look good when they’re out there playing.

“Now, they can get the equipment right in their own back yard.”

Thiessen and Hillman were equally enthusiastic.

“We’ve talked about what it’s going to take for our sport to grow and prosper, and one way is to get the young people involved – both attending games and playing the game of hockey,” Thiessen said. “This store is a great advancement for that to happen. I look around and see all the gear and all the equipment that is being used in the CHL and the NHL. This is just awesome.”

Added Hillman: “It’s so good to see a local store, especially a store like Shocking Prices, which has been a great partner with the Mavericks, take a step like this.

“I’ve had people with kids playing hockey ask me where they can go to get equipment, and now, I can tell them to go to Hockey Republic.”

The idea for the store came from John C. Olivarez, whose father, John, is a Mavericks season ticket holder and the owner of Shocking Prices.

“I got back from serving in the Army in February and my wife and kids started talking to me about this new hockey team we had in Independence,” Olivarez said. “I was like, “Hockey? In Independence?’

“Then I went to a game and was hooked. My kids both skate and we needed to go to Overland Park, Kan., to get them what they needed, so I thought, why not open a store here in Independence?”

The store features a full line of skates, sticks, gloves, helmets, masks, socks, pants and will soon offer jerseys.

“We were late getting started,” Olivarez said. “They told me I should have ordered back in December. But I was lucky and hooked up with a store that was overstocked, and now, we’re going to be able to get just about anything hockey players and skaters will need.”

They will offer professionally fitted skates and sticks and many of the Maverick players will be on hand to help fit customers young and old.

“How wonderful for a local businessman, in this economy, to step forward and open something like this,” Schultz said. “Everyone I have talked to is as excited about this store as I am.”

Paris, whose district includes the Independence Events Center, was one of the first people to congratulate Olivarez.

“The public demanded it, and John is answering that demand,” Paris said. “I am so proud of this team and the fact that Independence and the surrounding area has been so supportive.”

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Hillman, Thiessen, Pallardy and Simon Watson will take part in another ribbon cutting ceremony. The Mavericks will then sign autographs and help players pick out the proper gear.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday.