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Examiner
  • Fans show appreciation for Thinel

  • An overflow crowd gathered Monday night at the Rib Crib in Independence to celebrate two special occasions – the Missouri Mavericks making the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and team captain Sebastien Thinel earning his second Central Hockey League Most Valuable Player award.

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  • An overflow crowd gathered Monday night at the Rib Crib in Independence to celebrate two special occasions – the Missouri Mavericks making the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and team captain Sebastien Thinel earning his second Central Hockey League Most Valuable Player award.
    “We owe our fans so much,” said Mavericks coach Scott Hillman, who introduced each of the players as they mingled with the crowd, signed autographs and posed for photos. “This is a chance to give a little something back, because we’re going to need them for our playoff run.”
    The Mavericks, who finished in fifth place in the CHL standings, will open the playoffs Friday in Rapid City. After playing the Rush Friday and Saturday, the playoffs return to the Independence Events Center for games next Wednesday, April 3; Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6.
    “This is pretty special,” said Thinel, who was accompanied by his wife Ashley and two sons, Maddx and Jett. “This MVP is for our fans. They deserve it for all the support they gave us all season.”
    The feeling was definitely mutual.
    “Sebastien Thinel. What else needs to be said?” said Mavs fan Frank Spevak, who is there when the Mavericks pack for the road and there when they return to the IEC. “I don’t want to put anyone else down because I love everyone on this team, but where would we be without Sebbie?
    “He’s the Wayne Gretzky of the CHL.”
    Todd Johns, a former American Royal Barbecue grand prize winner and the chairman of the board of Plowboys BBQ, was there to visit with team before serving them lunch today.
    “What is so cool about tonight,” said Johns, who was there with his son Michael, “is that everyone is so excited. The players seem to be excited, and you know the fans are going to be excited. With Sebastien winning the MVP and the playoffs coming up, this is a great time to have something like this.”
    Team sponsor Al Boeck agreed.
    “This reminds me of the old days,” said Boeck, referring to the Mavericks' first season, when they held many player-fan events at the Rib Crib. “You just feel good when you look around and see everyone having such a good time.”
    Thinel signed T-shirts, caps, pennants, photos and anything else that was placed in front of him.
    “We have the best fans,” the veteran forward said. “It’s good to see so many of them here tonight.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
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