Missouri Mavericks captain Sebastien Thinel lost much more than a first-round playoff series to the Arizona Sundogs this week.
The team scoring leader and two-time CHL MVP lost his grandfather, Gaston Chartrand, who was 83.
“He was my taxi when I was growing up. He drove me everywhere,” Thinel said Wednesday afternoon as he and his teammates were still trying to recover following their 4-3 double overtime loss to the Sundogs Tuesday night at the Independence Events Center that ended their season prematurely. “He was my coach, he taught me how to drive, he taught me about life. He was everything to me, and I will miss him.”
Thinel attended Chartrand's funeral in Montreal and rejoined the Mavericks Tuesday, where they became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round to a No. 8 seed in the history of the Central Hockey League playoffs.
“It was a tough day, to say the least,” Thinel said. “I wish I could tell you and our fans what happened in the playoffs, but I don't have an explanation. We had the best power play in the league (in the regular season) and they score two power play goals to tie the game in the third period.
“We make so many mistakes that we never made in the regular season. I still think we are the better team, but you have to give credit to Arizona. We played all season to get home ice in the playoffs, and they came here and won two games in our building.”
Thinel said that despite the loss, he was appreciative of the support shown by the fans.
“It's been nearly 24 hours after the game and I can still hear our fans cheering and supporting us,” he said. “The fans who attended the game Tuesday night were among the best fans whoever came to a Mavericks game.
“They gave us extra legs, and we fed off them in the overtime periods. And so many stayed so late until the end of the game. I want to thank them for supporting us all season.”
The Mavericks dominated both overtime periods, but the Sundogs came away with the win on a Kevin Baker goal with just 52 seconds left in the second extra period.
“In overtime, we had the puck in their end of the ice for 35 of the 40 minutes, but their goaltender (Andrew Engelage) was amazing,” Thinel said. “So was Shane (Owen). I'm still trying to figure out what happened.”
When asked if he had thoughts on returning next season, Thinel provided some good news for Mavericks fans.
“I have not talked with Scott (Hillman, coach) or anyone from the front office, but if they want me back, I want to come back another season,” said Thinel, who has led the Mavericks in scoring the past two seasons. “I love it here. My family loves it here. We consider Independence home, and I don't want to end my career on that loss, so we will see what happens.”
SAY GOODBYE TO THE TEAM: The Mavericks will host an End of Season Celebration 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Events Center. The entire Missouri Mavericks team and coaching staff will be on hand to sign autographs and say goodbye to fans.
Fans should enter through the main east entrance beginning at 5:45 p.m. The Mavericks will also have a special silent auction with game-worn jerseys and other team memorabilia during the event as well as a sale at the Missouri Mavericks Team Store.
Auction items will include black game-worn jerseys, black, orange, white and blue practice jerseys, the 2014 player playoff signage that hung on the doors and windows of the Events Center and game-used pucks.
A Henrik Ødegaard Olympic game-used stick, Colt King's broken helmet from a fight on March 1, 2014, and Andrew Courtney's puck from his single-season record-breaking goal will also be up for auction.
TAKE HOME CHARLIE: The 48x96-inch poster of former Missouri Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger has been taken off the wall of the team store and is going to be sold through a sealed-bid auction at the Missouri Mavericks Team Store.
Bids will be accepted through April 19 by calling the team store at 816-777-0564 or by stopping at the team store this week 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The auction ends at 5 p.m. Saturday. The minimum bid is $200.