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Examiner
  • Lavender savoring latest stint with Mavs

  • Jared Lavender has no idea how long his second go-round with the Missouri Mavericks will last, so the popular defenseman is simply enjoying every minute back with his old team.

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  • Jared Lavender has no idea how long his second go-round with the Missouri Mavericks will last, so the popular defenseman is simply enjoying every minute back with his old team.
    When he was announced as a starter in the Mavericks' 1-0 New Year's Eve win over Tulsa at the Independence Events Center, he was greeted with a familiar cheer: “Lavie! Lavie! Lavie!”
    “I heard it, and I loved it,” Lavender said Wednesday morning, following the first practice of the new year. “There are no guarantees, and I really don't know how long I'll be back with the team.
    “The defense is banged up and I want to help the team out. I started the season in Quad City and got released and went to Evansville.
    “After I was released by Evansville, I went to Tulsa and that didn't work out, so I went back home to Cleveland and spent a couple of weeks with my family.
    “I'd been in contact with the Mavs and was hoping to hear from Scott (Hillman, the Maverick head coach) and luckily, I did. I know right now it's just game by game, and hopefully week by week, but I feel like I can help this team.
    “I have a lot of respect for Scott and Simon (Watson, the assistant director of hockey operations). Being with the Mavs the first two years was great. Watching a new team grow and develop and make the playoffs those two years was a lot of fun.
    “And I want to be a part of this year's team. We're playing well right now, and we want to get four points this weekend against Wichita (at 7:05 p.m. Friday) and Denver (at 7:05 p.m. Saturday).
    “It's always so much fun to play in front of our fans. They're the greatest. I was looking around (New Year's Eve) and saw some Lavender jerseys in the crowd. That made me feel good.”
    Hillman has been thrilled with Lavender's presence on the ice.
    “Lavie's been amazing,” Hillman said. “We'd been in contact with him, and we brought him in because the defense has been hurt by injuries and illness. And he's done just what he'd hoped, and a little more.
    “We know him. He knows us. He could be here a couple more games or a couple more years – you just don't know. But he couldn't have done any more for us in the games he's played and we're excited to see what he does this weekend. He's been a big, big addition and we know he came here with the intention of winning a permanent spot on our roster.”
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