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Examiner
  • Bill Althaus: Former Mav has designs on a new career

  • Long before Missouri Mavericks fans fell in love with players like Charlie Effinger, Toby LaFrance, Colt King or Sebastien Thinel, a fan favorite was the CHL rookie team’s first captain, Tyler Fleck.

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  • Long before Missouri Mavericks fans fell in love with players like Charlie Effinger, Toby LaFrance, Colt King or Sebastien Thinel, a fan favorite was the CHL rookie team’s first captain, Tyler Fleck.
    He was the gritty veteran a young expansion team so desperately needed, and he fit in perfectly with other veteran standouts like Jeff Christian and Carlyle “The Grim Sleeper” Lewis.
    Although he didn’t make it through the entire 2009-10 season, because of a trade that was brought on by a family situation back in his adopted home state of Oklahoma, he left an impact that is still felt today.
    “Every first-year team needed a guy like Tyler,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said of the team bringing in the nine-year Oklahoma Blazers veteran to solidify a lineup that was shaky at best. “We were lucky with guys like Tyler, Lewie and Jeff (Christian). We’d have loved to have had Tyler play with us that entire first season, but a family situation came up and he needed to be back near his home and we accommodated him.”
    That deal took him to Tulsa, where he is still a standout with an Oilers team that visits the Independence Events Center at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
    Fleck, who still has a strong fan base in Independence, enjoys the many trips the Oilers make to his favorite CHL team outside of the state of Oklahoma.
    “I love coming back here,” Fleck said following a recent Oilers trip to Independence. “It’s so cool to come here, to see my old fans and friends, to play in a place that is sold out every night. The energy level here is amazing, and though I wasn’t here as long as I would have liked to have been, I am so proud to be a part of this team’s history.
    “They’re doing something right and building something special in Independence.”
    Fleck still has a small role in what’s happening on the ice with the Mavericks as his growing jersey manufacturing company, Hard Nosed Apparel (http://hardnosedapparel.com), makes some of the Mavericks’ specialty jerseys, like the ones that will be auctioned off following Saturday night’s Pink in the Rink Night to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation – although he did not create this year’s Pink in the Rink design.
    “The Pink in the Rink, Military Night – special nights like that – are so much fun to design and create,” said Fleck, who creates the jerseys that go out to a variety of pro and amateur hockey teams. “If I’m not on the ice, I’m at a computer designing a jersey. I’m 34, and as much as I’d like to play hockey the rest of my life, I know that’s not going to happen.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve designed some of the Mavericks’ preseason jerseys and some jerseys they played in and gave away to Hometown Heroes a couple of years ago. I know everyone here and hope to do more work with the Mavericks. And I’m designing all the specialty jerseys for the Oilers, so I’m keeping pretty busy.”
    If you have a jersey need, give the Mavs’ first captain a call.
    “I love working with all-star teams, youth, high school or college teams – you name it. The design of a jersey is my favorite part of the process. You give me an idea of what you want and we’ll take it from there.”
    For more information on Hard Nosed Apparel, call 405-255-1979 for more information.
     
     
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