Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Mavericks on the Road

                                                             With Andrew Courtney

One of the hockey teams that occasionally comes to visit the Florida Everblades hails from Missouri, the Mavericks. They play most of their games in the central United States, with an occasional visit to South West Florida.

They recently wrapped up a weekend visit, coming away with two victories. Their captain sat out one of the games, nursing a sore back. His name is Andrew Courtney, and he hails from Belleville.

He played all of his minor hockey in Belleville, then signed with the Trenton Sting, in 2003. He spent two years with the Sting, amassing 78 points in 88 games. He also racked up more than 100 minutes in penalties. His coaches in Trenton were Mike Kiley and Lou Crawford.

He moved on to spend 5 seasons at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. In his final two seasons, he chipped in a point a game. He graduated in 2011, with a degree in Kinesiology.

Following his graduation, he signed with the Mavericks, then members of the Central Hockey League. Now playing in his seventh season in Missouri, he has four points in the 12 games played up to this point in the season.

He has played more than 300 games for the Mavericks. Last season, he set a Mavericks ECHL record with 36 goals. He tied for fourth in the league in scoring. Twelve of those goals came on the power play. At 6' 3”, weighing over 200 pounds, he takes up a fair amount of space around the net.

We sat with Andrew during the game. He mentioned that the veterans in the league have that key advantage of experience, being able to think a play ahead. There are many young players from American Colleges and Universities, and several from the Canadian Hockey League. He moved to the edge of his seat when the gloves were dropped near the Blades' bench.

                                         Discussing strategy with Lyle Lloyd

One of his teammates a couple of years ago was Jason Shaw, also from Belleville. Jason's brother, Andrew, now toils with the Montreal Canadiens.

Andrew told us that American billionaire Lamar Hunt, Junior, was the owner of the Mavericks. They play out of Silverstein's Eye Centre Arena, built for the Mavericks ans seats 5 800.

Courtney's brother Eamon also played a fair amount of hockey in and around the area. He also played for the Sting, as well as the Dukes and the Pickering Panthers of the OPJHL.

The Everblades picked up a couple of wins last weekend, and continue to lead the South Division of the ECHL with 27 points in 17 games. The Mavericks are in the middle of the Mountain Division with 17 points in 17 games.

At the end of regulation play, the Blades and the Mavericks were tied at a goal apiece even thought the Blades enjoyed a 35-15 shot advantage. Following a 3 on 3 overtime, Sam Povorozniouk from Northbrook, Illinois, scored to seal the deal for the Mavericks.

Andrew was married this past summer in Missouri, with his former next door neighbour, Brian McGuigan, in the groom's party. A long way from Shamrock Road, Belleville.

November 28, 2016.

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