Belleville na­tive re­tires from ECHL Mav­er­icks

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - SPORTS - PAUL SVO­BODA

Andrew Court­ney wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one thing. The 31-year-old Belleville na­tive re­cently an­nounced his re­tire­ment from pro­fes­sional hockey at the con­clu­sion of the 2016-17 ECHL reg­u­lar sea­son.

Court­ney, a six-foot-three, 200pound for­ward, spent his en­tire seven-year mi­nor pro ca­reer with the Mis­souri Mav­er­icks in In­de­pen­dence, MO, where he fin­ished the sea­son as the fourth team cap­tain in the club’s eightyear his­tory.

On the Mav­er­icks web­site, Court­ney said he couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter place to play. His lone re­gret was not be­ing able to share a league ti­tle with Mav­er­icks fans, he said.

“I was just a young col­lege kid want­ing to con­tinue his hockey ca­reer,” he said. “Look­ing back, I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion to con­tinue my ca­reer with. To be able to play for the same team my whole pro­fes­sional ca­reer has been a bless­ing.

“There’ll al­ways be a spot in my heart for the Mis­souri Mav­er­icks fam­ily.”

Court­ney leaves some big skates to fill with the ECHL af­fil­i­ate of the NHL New York Is­lan­ders.

He holds Mav­er­icks fran­chise records for most games played (360) and goals (149). The former Jr. A Tren­ton Sting added 142 as­sists for 291 ca­reer points, along with 396 penalty min­utes.

In 40 ca­reer play­off games, Court­ney scored 19 goals and tacked on 14 helpers for 33 points.

Court­ney played five years of univer­sity hockey with the Lethbridge Pronghorns be­fore turn­ing pro with the Mav­er­icks dur­ing the 2010-11 sea­son. He left Lethbridge on a high note, earn­ing 23 points in 23 games in his fi­nal CIS sea­son.

Court­ney burst onto the mi­nor pro scene in his rookie cam­paign with Mis­souri, scor­ing 29 goals and adding 30 as­sists for 59 points in 63 games. Be­tween 2013-15, Court­ney scored sin­gle-sea­son ca­reer highs of 34 and 36 goals, re­spec­tively.

Bat­tling the in­jury bug this sea­son, the rangy for­ward scored nine goals and to­talled 26 points in 42 games. Mav­er­icks fin­ished fifth in the seven-team Moun­tain Divi­sion and missed the playoffs.

Mav­er­icks were sev­enth in av­er­age home at­ten­dance in the 27-team ECHL this sea­son (5,068) and Court­ney saluted the “Or­ange Army” for their sup­port dur­ing his ca­reer.

“Best fans in the league,” he said. “Through all the ups and downs, you’ve never left our side. I’ll never for­get the noise you bring to ev­ery game. My only re­gret is not be­ing able to bring a cham­pi­onship to you.”

Court­ney, who met his wife, Kara, while play­ing for the Mav­er­icks, said his team­mates, coaches and train­ing staff helped pre­pare him for life af­ter pro hockey.

“What I’ve learned from all of you will help me make the tran­si­tion into the next chap­ter of my life,” he said.

• Need to know: Belleville na­tive Zach Hall scored for the Allen (TX) Amer­i­cans in a 4-2 win over the Utah Griz­zlies in an ECHL play­off game Wed­nes­day night. Allen leads the best-of-seven first-round se­ries 2-1 with Game 4 tonight.

JOHN HOWE PHOTO

Belleville na­tive Andrew Court­ney is re­tir­ing from pro­fes­sional hockey af­ter a seven-year ca­reer with the ECHL Mis­souri Mav­er­icks.

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