An award from your peers and a pat on the back from dad are two of the best things in life.
Longtime Missouri Mavericks equipment manager Andrew Dvorak received both as he was named the 2016-17 CCM Hockey ECHL Equipment Manager of the Year.
Dvorak was given this honor following a vote by the league's equipment managers and athletic trainers.
“When you receive something like this from your peers, it really makes it special,” said Dvorak, who has never missed an entire Mavericks game since joining the franchise eight seasons ago. “The first person I called was my dad, Stan, and, of course, my mom, Nancy, down in Orlando.
“To get an attaboy from your dad is pretty special. It’s a great honor and I want to thank everyone who voted for me.”
Over the past eight years, Dvorak has become the heart and soul of the Mavericks. His duties include ordering equipment, maintaining equipment, sharpening skates and keeping the locker room in order.
“We also set up the visitor’s locker room for teams when they come to our place,” Dvorak added. “You know, you want them to feel at home. And if they need anything we’ve got it for them.”
Before joining the Mavericks, Dvorak spent six seasons in Richmond, Va., working three seasons with the United Hockey League's Richmond Riverdogs and three seasons for the Southern Professional Hockey League's Richmond Renegades.
He also worked for the Miami Manatees in the World Hockey Association for one year and the Jacksonville Barracudas of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League for one year.
Dvorak was also honored by the ECHL this season for working his 1,000th career game April 5, 2017.
“Yeah, my 1,000th career game, and you’d think they’d win it for me,” joked Dvorak, who made the comment within earshot of his longtime friend, Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson. “Really, that was a special night. After the game, Courts (newly retired team captain Andrew Courtney) got the puck and gave it to me and said, ‘Wish we could have won it for you.’ That meant a lot to me.”
Dickson and general manager Brent Thiessen are proud that the franchise’s only equipment manager received the league’s highest honor.
"We are thrilled for Andrew and his achievement of being named Equipment Manager of the Year,” Thiessen said. “It is extremely well-deserved. He has been dedicated to the Mavericks since day one, and the award couldn't go to a more deserving person."
Dickson was quick to add, “Andrew Dvorak – hmmm, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever called Drew, Andrew Dvorak – is the best. He does so many things that no one knows about. He does everything for this team and for all the opposing teams who come to our place.
“He’s become a great friend; I don’t know what we’d do without him.”
While he has never missed an entire game, earlier this season he was so sick he spent the game in the locker room – after setting up the bench and having everything ready for his team.
“It might not have been pretty if I had been out on the bench,” joked Dvorak, “but if they needed me, I was at least in the building.”