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Examiner
  • Nearly 1,500 show up for Mavs Fan Fest

  • Brian Bicek, the newest member of the Missouri Mavericks hockey team, glanced at the thousands of fans who flooded the Independence Events Center for Saturday afternoon’s Fan Fest and shook his head.

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  • Brian Bicek, the newest member of the Missouri Mavericks hockey team, glanced at the thousands of fans who flooded the Independence Events Center for Saturday afternoon’s Fan Fest and shook his head.
    “We had games in Evansville where we didn’t have this many people,” the all-star forward said. “I heard from Scott (Hillman, the Mavericks coach) and Brent (Thiessen, president and general manager) about the great fans here. Now, I know what they were talking about.”
    Bicek, a standout for Evansville who joined the Mavericks in the offseason, is excited about the upcoming 2012 campaign.
    “I can’t wait, especially after seeing all these fans here today,” said Bicek, who is one of 16 players signed to the preseason roster. “I was completely caught off guard by the number of fans. I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect a turnout like this.
    “When I left Evansville, I had a lot of options, but my No. 1 priority was coming to a team that had a chance to win a championship, and I think that we have a very good chance of winning a championship here in Independence. I’ve had some great talks with Scott and I like the way he and Brent are building the team.
    “We want to give these great fans something special.”
    There were several announcements at the Fan Fest, and the one that drew the biggest cheer was the news concerning the signing of former Mavericks forward Jordan Foreman and perennial fan favorite Ryan Jardine to contracts.
    Foreman, 25, heads back to the Mavericks after spending the past two seasons in the ECHL with three different teams. The Cambridge, Ontario, native finished with six goals and 16 assists in 49 games last season with Stockton, Utah and Gwinnett.
    “Jordan Foreman is a heart and soul player who the fans loved when he was with us before,” Hillman said. “He was an instant hit on the ice in our first season. He puts his heart on the line for his team each and every night and will play a big role on our hockey club with the versatility to play center or wing.
     “He is also the second player from previous seasons that will be making a return to the Mavericks (joining Blake Forsyth). We believe this is a testament to the way our players are treated while they are here in Missouri by our great fans and the organization.”
    Jardine, 32, returns for his third season with the Mavericks and 13th professional season. The Ottawa, Ontario, native ranks in the Mavericks’ top 10 in nearly every major offensive category and has a total of 76 points in 97 games with Missouri.
    “Ryan was hurt so much of last season,” Hillman said, “so we’re looking forward to a healthy Ryan Jardine joining the team this season. He was a real leader during our playoff run and had a real passion for the game.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Mavericks also teamed with the Red Cross for a successful blood drive where fans were encouraged to roll up their sleeves and donate.
    For three years, season-ticket holder Frank Spevak said he bled orange and blue – the team colors – and he got the chance to prove it Saturday by donating blood.
    “For what these guys go through on the ice and for what they do in the community, giving blood is the least I could do,” said Spevak, who was one of the first volunteers.
    It wasn’t orange and blue, but that didn’t matter to the Red Cross. They were thrilled with the donation.
    The Mavericks also announced that they would be affiliated with Chicago of the American Hockey League for a second consecutive year.
     
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