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Examiner
  • Mavs' Thinel named CHL Most Valuable Player

  • Sebastien Thinel cannot leap tall buildings, like the Independence Events Center, in a single bound.

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  • Sebastien Thinel cannot leap tall buildings, like the Independence Events Center, in a single bound.
    The Missouri Mavericks captain is not faster than a speeding bullet and he uses the team locker room – not a phone booth – to change into his hockey gear.
    However, when you talk to Mavericks coach Scott Hillman and his teammates, they will tell you Thinel is super.
    He's also the 2012-13 Central Hockey League Most Valuable Player and winner of the Joe Burton Scoring Championship Award.
    “I won the MVP award once before (in 2009 with Odessa),” Thinel said Monday afternoon as he skated with his young son Maddx at the Events Center. “That's my MVP award. This one belongs to our fans. They're one of the biggest reasons I came back to the Mavericks this season.
    “I'm playing for them, and the chance to win the cup. This is a great honor because I can share it with my teammates and our fans. Maybe we can do the same with the cup. We'll just have to wait and see on that.”
    Thinel is the fourth player in CHL history to win the MVP twice, and the first to win three Joe Burton Scoring Championships.
    The MVP honor is determined through balloting of CHL coaches, communications staff members and selected media members in each market.
    The Joe Burton Award is given annually to the league's leading scorer and is presented in honor of CHL Hall of Famer Joe Burton, the CHL's career leader with 985 points accumulated over 11 seasons with the Oklahoma City Blazers.
    Thinel led the league in scoring with 96 points and in assists with 67. Those stats are even more impressive when you realize that Rookie of the Year candidate Kenton Miller was the only other Maverick in the top 25 in scoring (51 points to rank 22nd in the league).
    “I can't imagine a player in this league this season, or any other season, who meant more to his team than Sebbie meant to us,” said Hillman, who played with Thinel at now-defunct Odessa. “He's a CHL legend, an icon. He's one of those rare players who make everyone else on the ice that much better.
    “It didn't matter which line we put him on, it produced. And he meant the world to (rookies) Millsie (Kenton Miller) and Toch (Kellan) Tochkin.”
    “Sebbie got nearly twice as many points and assists as anyone on the team. He is a true professional and wants nothing more than to help his teammates and his organization succeed.”
    The Maverick rookies who share the same line with Thinel speak in awe of their veteran teammate.
    “He's so special,” Tochkin said. “He's the greatest player I've ever played with and he's like a father figure to me. He doesn't say a lot, but when he says something, you listen and pay attention. He and Millsie and I have good chemistry out on the ice, and it all comes from him.
    Page 2 of 2 - “You hear people talk about selfless players, and he is one. He doesn't want the headlines or the attention; he just wants to make everyone out on the ice that much better. He'll do something special, and people will be surprised. But nothing he does surprises me – nothing.”
    Miller set a Mavericks team record with 30 goals this season, and he credits Thinel for much of his success.
    “Sebastien always takes me aside at practice and gives me pointers, and every one of them have made me a better player,” said Miller, who has shared the same line with Thinel and Tochkin much of the season. “He gives me such good advice. I never thought I would play with someone like him, especially my first year as a pro. Sebastien is the type of player who wants everyone else to be better.
    “He'll do anything he can to help make them better, either during a game or at practice. And he's the type of player who will go out in the third period and score the tying and winning goals. This MVP award is great. He deserves an award like that. No one in the league deserves it more than him.”
    Those words make Thinel smile.
    “I am so happy that Millsie and Toch had the great years,” said Thinel, who played in all 66 games this season and led the team with a plus-28 rating, which was also second best in the CHL. “They look up to me like I look up to Jards (veteran forward Ryan Jardine, who spent some time in the NHL). Jards is my role model.”
    Andrew Courtney, a veteran forward who represented the Mavericks at the 2011-12 All-Star Game, shares Miller and Tochkin's appreciation of the league MVP.
    “Sebbie is our team,” Courtney said. “Where would we be without Sebbie? He works his butt off, and makes everything look so easy that you don't realize how hard he's working. He makes the players on this team so much better. He is the best player in the league and the most valuable player, too. No one deserves this award more than Sebbie.”
    Thinels' 96 points were 10 more than the player who finished second in scoring, Bloomington's Jon Booras.
    The St. Jerome, Quebec, native gained half of the votes on the returned ballots (22 of 44). Quad City's Mickey Lang finished second in the voting with 16 votes. The other finalists for the MVP award were Bloomington's Booras, Allen's Aaron Dell and Denver's A.J. Gale.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     
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