Independence police officer injured on duty drops puck at Mavericks game on ‘First Responders Night’

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The Kansas City Mavericks honored first-responders at Friday night's game, including Independence Police Officer Thomas Wagstaff who was shot in the line of duty nearly a year ago.

Wagstaff was a regular at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, working security detail right up until he was shot last March. He underwent several months of rehab before he returned home to a hero’s welcome and parade in late 2017.

On Friday night, he was all smiles as he got a chance to meet the players in the locker room and then headed out onto the ice for the ceremonial puck drop before the game.

“I think things like this just still remind him of how he’s still involved in the community," Independence Police Officer John Syme said. "He’s still a big part of our police department, and we’re happy to have him. He’s a celebrity!"

“We’re so happy for the progress he’s made," Mavericks Communications Director Brandon Weiss said. "We’re rooting hard for him to keep continuing. We know he’s rehabbing hard, and we believe he’ll hit his ultimate goal of resuming a completely normal life."

Players wore the thin blue line on their helmets in support of the police department. They also sold special police and firefighter Mavericks shirts with proceeds benefiting first-responders.

And for a bit of fun, Independence police officers defeated Independence firefighters in a broom ball game between periods. Then the Mavericks defeated the Allen Americans 6-3.