Charlie Effinger might be in Chicago, but his heart is in Independence.

Charlie Effinger might be in Chicago, but his heart is in Independence.

Effinger, the popular goaltender who helped the Missouri Mavericks make an improbable playoff run in the team’s inaugural season, is back with the Central Hockey League team this season and is one of three players to sign a two-way contract with the American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves.

Other Mavericks who have two-way deals are defensemen David Pszenyczny and Dustin Friesen.

The Mavericks announced at last Saturday’s Fan Fest at the Independence Events Center that they had signed a one-year deal with the Wolves, and this is the first wave of player announcements.

The Wolves are the primary AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks. The Mavericks previously announced the signings of Effinger and Pszenyczny. Friesen was signed by the Wolves and becomes the third player to be on a two-way contract.

“I know the fans back in Independence and the surrounding towns are excited about this season,” said Effinger, who is working out with the Wolves, “but they can’t be any more excited than the players.

“This affiliation is huge. Because of the affiliation and two-way contracts, the Mavericks are going to be the team every good, young player wants to sign with. I know Coach (Scott) Hillman is going to be coming to the Wolves camp to exchange some ideas with the staff here, and it’s just going to make the Mavericks that much stronger.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Friesen, 28, becomes the 30th and final player to be signed to the Mavericks’ preseason roster. He is entering his third professional season.

The 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman has played a total of 126 games in two seasons in the East Coast Hockey League and AHL with 51 points overall.

“I am excited for our fans and organization to see this immediate benefit from our affiliation,” Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen said.

Hillman shares that excitement, adding, “We are very excited to have Dustin as a part of our organization. This is a great opportunity for these three players to be signed to two-way deals.”