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Examiner
  • Effinger says goodbye to Mavs

  • Charlie Effinger, the standout goaltender who led Missouri to the Central Hockey League Turner Conference championship series last season, will not return to the Mavericks in 2012-13.

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  • Charlie Effinger, the standout goaltender who led Missouri to the Central Hockey League Turner Conference championship series last season, will not return to the Mavericks in 2012-13.
    It has nothing to do with money, team chemistry or personnel.
    It has everything to do with opportunity.
    “I love the Mavericks, their fans, Independence, Hilly (coach Scott Hillman) and Brent (Thiessen, team president and general manager),” Effinger said by phone late Thursday night.
    “But I’m a 26-year-old knucklehead who is coming off a pretty good season and I want to give myself the best shot to make a team in the AHL (American Hockey League, which is considered the AAA league of professional hockey, a step below the NHL).
    “I’m in the prime of my career, and I want to see if I can fit in with an AHL team, so I am signing with an ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) team.”
    Effinger has been flooded with offers following his brilliant 2011-12 season with the Mavericks, where they took eventual CHL champion Fort Wayne to the seventh game of the conference championship series.
    “This was never about money,” Effinger said. “Hilly and Brent know that – and I want the fans to know that they bent over backwards and offered me 18 different ways to stay with the team. But they couldn’t offer me what I can get in the ECHL.”
    When a player signs with the ECHL, he is basically a free agent and can be signed by any AHL team.
    Effinger signed a two-way contract last season with the Mavericks and Chicago, of the AHL. However, Chicago is goalie-deep and there is little chance Effinger can get a legitimate shot with the Wolves.
    “By playing in the ECHL, I’m a free agent for any team in the AHL,” Effinger said. “I might bomb, get off to a bad start and get traded – who knows. But I might get off to a good start and get a look from some AHL teams.
    “It’s a crap shoot, but it’s something I have to do – even though I’m going to miss everything there is about the Mavericks. They are a first-class organization and the fans are the best. I’m really going to miss the energy of skating out onto the ice for every home game, with the fans going crazy.
    “This was not an easy decision. I had so many conversations with Hilly and we just couldn’t work anything out.”
    The decision by Effinger, who will likely announce his new team next week, takes some of the luster off the signing of returning team captain and scoring leader, Sebastien Thinel.
    “The Mavs signed Sebbie and (backup goaltender) B.J. (O’Brien) and I know Brent is going to go out and sign a great goalie,” Effinger said. “When I went to England (after the Mavericks first season) he signed Robbie (Nolan) and he was Goalie of the Year in the league.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Brent and Hilly are building a great team. And who knows, I might be back there one day. Never say never.”
    Hillman had nothing but good things to say about Effinger.
    “There’s always a place for Charlie,” Hillman said. “Charlie is such a class act. He wants our fans to know how hard we worked to sign him. He is doing what he thinks is best for his hockey career. We’re going to miss him, we’re always going to love him and we hope he has a great career. Even if it’s not with the Mavericks.”

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