Thursday, April 20, 2017
Andrew Courtney Hangs up his Blades.
By Paul Svoboda, The Intelligencer
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, 200-pound 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 eight-year history.
In a letter 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: Former Belleville Bulls defenceman Stephen Silas signed with the Mavericks following the 2016-17 Ontario university season with the Waterloo Warriors.
Copied from The Intelligencer on April 20, 2017.