February 4, 2023

By Fred Liggett

A night many Kansas City Mavericks hockey fans look forward to every season is Military Appreciation Night where the theme is to honor the sacrifice and service by our nation’s military. Mavs players, coaches along with the team’s front office use a number of ways to show their appreciation to those who have served our country.

Mavericks players wear a camouflage colored jersey that is auctioned off after the game to raise funds for a local military cause. Throughout the evening a number of military personnel are honored with them being put on the arena’s large video board. One special moment for fans is when a medley of Armed Forces theme songs for each branch is played. Veterans in the crowd are invited to stand up when they hear their branch song is played.

Kansas City Mavericks Head Coach Tad O’ Had felt the team’s “jerseys were sharp.” O’Had says a team “can learn a lot from the military, about team work and protecting one another.” One of the key players for the Mavericks goaltender Shane Starrett was in the Air Force Academy and played two seasons for the Falcons. O’Had said of Starrett “He and I talked about it, took it seriously, took a lot to come out and play pro hockey.”

The 28-year-old Starrett who played for Air Force in 2015 to 2017 called the evening “an important night.” Starrett feels “It’s always a good night to reflect on a person’s time” in the military. Now playing professional hockey for a number of years Starrett says “lot of former teammates are still in the service.” Nights set aside for military appreciation Starrett feels is “important to celebrate those people.” Starrett hasn’t forgotten his past as he visits his hometown in Massachusetts every summer.

The latest military appreciation night for the Mavericks saw the team come up short on the ice losing to Wheeling 6-2 in front of 4,325 fans. Off the ice the Mavericks were able to raise funds for area military charities while showing appreciation to current and former military members in attendance.