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Examiner
  • Mavericks hope signings can help make up for loss of Effinger

  • While Missouri Mavericks fans ponder a 2012-13 season without stalwart goaltender Charlie Effinger, they can take solace that president and general manager Brent Thiessen will do everything possible to bring in a top-notch replacement.

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  • While Missouri Mavericks fans ponder a 2012-13 season without stalwart goaltender Charlie Effinger, they can take solace that president and general manager Brent Thiessen will do everything possible to bring in a top-notch replacement.
    “Brent will leave no stone unturned,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “We hate to lose Charlie, but he has a very good chance of making some big strides in career by playing in the ECHL this season.
    “I hope the news about Charlie doesn’t overshadow the fact that our leading scorer is back next season – and that’s a huge step for this team.”
    Effinger announced in The Examiner Friday that he would be playing with Fort Wayne in the East Coast Hockey League this season on the same day the Mavericks announced they had re-signed captain and leading scorer Sebastien Thinel and the signing of goaltender B.J. O’Brien and veteran defenseman Jamie VanderVeeken.
    “We’re pleased with the direction of the team,” Thiessen said when asked about the new signees. “We feel these three players make us a much better team and they fill some holes we needed to fill.”
    Thinel, 31, set a franchise record for points in a season in his first year with the team with 82 points in 65 games. He joined an elite club last season while playing with the Mavericks when he became just the seventh player in the 20-year history of the league to record his 700th CHL point.  He is just two points shy of moving up to sixth place on the league’s all-time points list.
    Thinel led the CHL in scoring during the 2010-11 season with a career-high 110 points in 66 games. Prior to joining the Mavericks, the former league MVP played all but one of his previous nine seasons with the CHL’s Odessa Jackalopes, where he was a teammate with Hillman.
    “Sebbie has had a lot of individual success, but he has not won a team championship and that was his goal – and our goal – last season and he wants to come back this year and win a league championship,” Hillman said. “And we’re going to do everything possible to make that happen.
    “We’re really excited that he’s coming back, because he was a big piece to the puzzle that we are trying to piece together in the offseason.”
    Hillman is eager to see Thinel perform this season with returning teammates from last year’s squad that missed the CHL Championship Series by one game.
    “Sebbie is a game changer,” Hillman said. “He made every player on the ice a better player last season. We would move struggling players to Sebastien’s line and he could instantly help them to get back on track. In addition to his big point production, he does a lot of little things that go unnoticed outside of the locker room to give us a chance to win every night.”
    Page 2 of 2 - O’Brien, 26, returns to the Mavericks for his second pro season. He played for five different teams in three different leagues during his rookie campaign last season, but finished with the Mavericks. He played in two games for Missouri and won both.
    “We like what we see with B.J.,” Hillman said. “He has the same work ethic and intensity we saw in (former Mavericks goaltenders) Robbie (Nolan) and Charlie (Effinger). Right now, we are looking at him as a solid backup, but who knows what might happen.
    “B.J. had limited action with us last season but stepped in and showed very good potential. Not only do we believe he can be a very solid goaltender in our league, but he has also been a big asset to our youth hockey program in the area by spending hours on the ice helping develop young goaltenders.”
    VanderVeeken, 26, returns to the CHL after playing overseas in Italy and England. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman enters his sixth pro season and fourth in the CHL where he previously played for the Rapid City Rush and the Arizona Sundogs. He helped Rapid City win the CHL title three years ago.
    “VanderVeeken is a proven winner – you always like to have players in your locker room who have won a championship – and one of the top defensemen in the CHL,” Hillman said. “He has a heavy shot from the blueline and will be a big addition to our power play.
    “We made great strides with our power play last season and adding Jamie to the mix this season will give us another element in which other teams will be concerned with.”

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