Sophia loves horses more than anything on earth.

“I love them so much,” said Sophia, a 9 1/2-year old member of the Independence Boys & Girls Club, “that I want to have 100 of them someday. I love to ride them and feed them and pet them. I just love horses.”

So, when she found out that members of the Kansas City Mavericks hockey team were going to visit her Independence club at 315 S. Leslie Ave., she was beyond excited.

That’s because the players and youngsters from the club were going to decorate aprons the Mavericks will wear at the ninth annual Dinner on Ice gala, Nov. 8, which will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

“Do you know what the team mascot is?” asked Sophia, making sure that her age was listed as 9 ½ and not just 9 years of age, “a horse! Their mascot is Mac, and he’s a horse!”

So, she had Carson Dubchak began the process of creating an apron that featured Mac.



“Carson drew Mac,” Sophia said, before she was politely interrupted by Dubchak.

“It was a joint effort,” the Mavericks forward said, grinning from ear to ear. “Sophia was our inspiration. When she told me she loved horses, we had to create an apron with Mac on it.”

As the finished up the apron, Sophia continued.

“You know what I love almost as much as horses?” she asked. “Art. And the Mavericks. This is the most fun I’ve ever had.”

It was difficult to tell who was having more fun, the wiggling, giggling excited youngsters or the Mavericks – who have continue to make an impact both on the ice and the community of Eastern Jackson County.

“This is so much fun,” said team captain and certified tough guy, defenseman Tyler Elbrecht, who was working with 7-year-old Kailen on an emoji themed apron. “Something like this not only makes an impact on the kids, but look around at the guys – they’re having as much fun as any youngster here.

“And that’s why I love this organization so much. When I came to this event last year, it really made an impression on me. That’s why this organization is such an important part of our community. The Mavericks go above and beyond to make an impact in the community, and what better way to do that then by working with kids?”

Associate captain Patch Alber and 9 ½ year old Riley were just finishing up their apron when Riley wanted to add a few extra touches.

Soon, Riley was adding a border of paint around the apron as Alber grinned, and looked on.

“This is just fun, as much fun as you can have off the ice,” quipped Alber, as he wondered just how long it would take this latest layer of paint to dry. “These kids are so creative and we’re all having fun. I know I’m having as much fun as anyone in here – the kids or my teammates.”

President and general manager Brent Thiessen said the same thing.

“We work so hard to find the best players, who are willing to go into the community and take part in an event like this,” Thiessen said, as he painted with several youngsters. “Look at all the smiles – on the faces of the kids and our players.

“I can assure you that this is making as big of an impact on our players as it is on the youngsters from the Boys & Girls Clubs. “It’s something our guys look forward to every year, and so do I.”