"KAN-SAS CITY GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!"
The familiar cry rings through Silverstein Eye Centers Arena followed by the Orange Army screaming LEMOS as the lights flash and the Mavericks celebrate. A sly grin escapes the face of #19 as he skates past his bench and receives congratulations from his teammates.
Flashback to April of 2019 – Bryan Lemos just reached the pinnacle of the college hockey world. His Providence College Friars team is in the Frozen Four. After overcoming the odds and defeating the #3 seeded Minnesota State team and a scrappy Cornell team, the Friars had made a remarkable run to the doorstep of a championship on the back of red hot goaltender Hayden Hawkey. But, in an instant, it was over. A loss to the eventual National Champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs spelled the end of Lemos’ college career. Within a matter of 60 minutes on a frozen sheet of ice in Buffalo, the hopes and dreams of a young man were dashed. In his mind, it was the end of his hockey career. After playing in only seven games as a junior and seventeen as a senior, Lemos thought this was the end of the road.
“I was going to hang them up. I have a degree in finance and I was going to move to Boston with a couple of buddies and work in the business world,” Lemos said after the Mavericks 2-1 win over rival Wichita Thunder Tuesday.
But, Mavericks Interim Head Coach Kohl Schultz saw something in Lemos, resulting in the Mavs offering Lemos a pro contract. Now that his talents have been on display in Kansas City for over half a season, it’s very easy to see what that was. Bryan Lemos is the definition of a Kansas City Mavericks hockey player. He’s tough, gritty, not afraid to get to those dirty areas. He’s a grinder. With those attributes, the winger is thriving in the ECHL.
“I don’t think I got as much of an opportunity at Providence as I would have liked,” Lemos recalled.
To put it in perspective, Lemos had eight goals and seventeen assists in 90 games at Providence. He has thirteen goals and sixteen assists in 44 games for the Mavericks this season. That’s incredible output from a young man that his hungry to succeed and understands the price that is paid to compete for a championship.
Lemos is quick to credit his family for the encouragement in furthering his hockey career.
“My family was like, not too many people get to go on and play hockey for a living. They told me to go try it out for a year and now that I’m here, I love it. We have a great group of guys and it’s awesome,” Lemos explained.
Those were wise words from a family that, ironically, didn’t play hockey themselves. Lemos credits watching hockey games with his dad as a child as the motivation to begin playing the sport and he is truly thankful to have two individuals in Bill and Cheryl Lemos that are in his corner to push him to continue doing well on the ice and off.
“The people who truly care about you and want you to do well are what is going to push you through the downs and be there through the ups. I couldn’t ask for two better people and I tell everyone that. I love them and they are awesome.”
To describe the game of Lemos, one really has to watch #19 on the ice. The fans see the gritty determination that Lemos brings to the ice night in and night out, but he sees himself as more of a playmaker.
“I like to work hard, but I like to make plays. I like to look up, you know, and maybe take a second and if it’s not there, chip it in and go to work.”
And go to work he has for the Mavericks this season. In a season that has been full of ups and downs, Lemos has been as consistent as anyone for this Mavericks squad.
The transition from college to the pro game has come easy for the young winger.
“In high level college, you know, everyone is a good player and you have to skate. It’s a system game and everyone is running and gunning. When you get here, guys are more positionally ready. You have great players around here that can pick their head up and take a second to make a play instead of coming 150 mph at you every second of the game like in college. It’s a skill game and it takes a lot of poise to make plays. I can relate to the pro style more, I’ve got time to look up and make a play. I’m trying to go to the net more and finding little scrums to get rebounds to put in the net.”
Back in the early 2000’s, Kansas City baseball fans had little to cheer for until a certain starting pitcher introduced the town to “Lima Time”; and the rest is history for Jose Lima lore in Kansas City. Maybe, just maybe, 2020 will bring about an era of “Lemos Time” in our fair town. The Mavericks faithful will definitely take more of the same from #19 each time he hops over the boards this season and hopefully in the years to come.