Friday, May 2, 2014

Quick Hits: Francis Wathier to Test Free Agency, Might Catch a Few Stars Games

Wathier (Credit: Clint Trahan)
Former Texas Star Francis Wathier was eliminated from the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs last night as his Milwaukee Admirals fell to the Toronto Marlies in a 3-0 sweep of their first round series. Wathier was sent to the Admirals in return for Kevin Henderson in March. Wathier is on his way back to central Texas via Milwaukee. I caught up with him via phone Friday morning.

On the 20 games he played with Milwaukee this season and the playoff series:
"We had a good stretch team-wise and did very well. We were very confident going into the playoffs that we would be successful. Three loses doesn't say what really happened. It was pretty tight for those games. A few bounces didn't go our way. It is what it is. We're disappointed for sure."
On the transition to Milwaukee and the decision to go:
"The transition was very easy. Dean has a simple game plan with good structure. He and [Texas coach Willie Desjardins] have some similarities.
"I had a rough go in Texas, not playing a lot with the veteran rule. I think it was time for a change for me, and it was the best move for my career to come here. I was put into a role that allowed me to be successful. It worked for everyone. I'm proud to say I've been [with Dallas] for 11 years. It's something you don't see often, especially in the minors, but I'm proud of that. It was so tough to leave Texas, but it was the best move for my future."
On his future in hockey:
"The last two times I was fortunate to sign before July 1 with Dallas. I've never experienced free agency, so I'm keeping my options open. We had meetings this morning with [Milwaukee] coaches and GMs. Nothing on the future, but they like what I bring to the table.
"If Dallas is going to offer me something before July 1st, I don't know. I want to test free agency. I'm going to be 30 next year, but I feel like I still have a lot of gas in the tank. I haven't quit on my NHL dream.
On being away from his family for months:
"My wife and three kids stayed in Austin. My oldest is in school so it would have been a tough transition to move. They're obviously not happy about us not winning but I'm excited to see them. Speaking as a Dad and husband, I'm glad to see my family again."
On the chances he might come to a Texas Stars playoff game as a spectator:
"I'll definitely head to a couple of games. I still have a lot of connections over there, and I've been talking to a lot of them since the trade. You create some good bonds that will never fail. After my son's finishes school, we're going to head back to Ottawa, enjoy the summer and see where free agency takes us.
"Obviously I wish the Texas Stars the best. They were good to me, and I hope they have success in this Calder run."

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