Junior Mavericks Hockey- A Team Of Young Champions
March 23, 2013
By Fred Liggett
Area hockey fans know all about names like Andrew Courtney, Ryan Jardine, Brandon Smith and others who play for the Missouri Mavericks pro hockey team. At the other end of the Independence Events Center there are young players who may become as well known as the current Mavericks team some day.
The Centerpoint Ice Center is home to youth hockey leagues, public skating and Ice skating lessons. The center is also home of the reigning Midwest Hockey League champions. The Jr. Mavs PeeWee Select #1 team won the title earlier this year. There were 9 teams in four states competing for the title.
The Jr. Mavs hockey program is broken down into multiple age groups starting as young as 8 years of age and continue all the way up through High school. Teams are known as 8U, Squirt, Bantams and High School. The Jr. Mavs organization has 5 select teams. Select means the team was selected from a tryout. Over 30 players tried out for a team that consisted of 15 players. The team practiced one per week from Mid October to early March. Typically a season will consist of 20-25 practices. A a select team plays 20-25+ games. The team travels around Kansas City area and within a 4-5 hour radius of the metroplex. The farthest trip this year was one to Sioux City, Iowa.
When the Jr. Mavs organization started back in the 2010-11 season there were 65 players out to play. Just three short years later the 2012-13 season ended with 220 players.
Six Lee’s Summit kids were on the roster of the peewee select #1 team that won the title. Of the 220 players in the program around 70 are from Lee’s Summit. Guy Gronberg of Lee’s Summit has been a part of the Jr. Mavs program since it’s inception. Gronberg believes one of the biggest attributes is there close affiliation with the Missouri Mavericks team. Several team members provide expertise and help the Jr. Mavs grow bigger each year. Gronberg feels the future of the Jr. Mavs program is a bright one. “The number of kids signing up for the Learn to Skate programs and Beginning Hockey is just staggering.” All these new kids are looking to become a part of the organization and help add another Midwest Hockey League championship banner at the Centerpoint Ice facility. Gronberg adds “one of the neatest things for the kids is the willingness and availability that the Mo. Mavericks players display as multiple players come out and practice with our teams each week.” The pro players have been known to run drills right along with the kids, they give instruction and encouragement, but most important provide the kids the opportunity to dream BIG if they desire. Sounds like there are a lot of winners, both young and old playing the game of hockey right here in Eastern Jackson County.