The phone call caught Sebastien Thinel off guard.
It was a call from Kansas City Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen telling the former Central Hockey League MVP that his jersey No. 43 was the first selected by the Mavericks Selection Committee to be retired and hung from the rafters of Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“I really was surprised when I got the call from Brent,” Thinel said from his office at a Montreal masonry business, where he oversees approximately 250 workers. “Something like having your number retired or being recognized after you are away from the team so many years is so special
“Whether you are the first, third or fifth it’s special – but being the first to have my number retired is very, very special to me and (my wife) Ashley and our boys (7-year-old Jett and 9-year-old Maddx).”
The banner ceremony will take place on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, when the Mavericks play host to the Cincinnati Cyclones.
“It’s an honor to have Sebastien return to Kansas City and become the first player to have his number retired,” Thiessen said. “It was always fun watching him play. He was a player that was always a step ahead out there and his stats prove it.”
Thiessen said Thinel was a leader in the locker room, on the ice and a fan favorite in the community.
“It was a pleasure being able to be on the same team,” Thiessen added. “He was a true professional in everything he did and how he approached the game both on and off the ice. It will be a fun night to be able to honor him and his family. I would also like to thank the Mavericks Selection Committee for their dedication throughout the process of establishing jersey retirement criteria and ultimately choosing Sebby to be our first honoree.”
Thinel is the Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer, with 378 points in 294 games over four seasons. He also tops the Mavericks in career assists (280) and plus-minus rating (plus-51).
“You can do those things when are with one team for a while, and I was so fortunate to play with the Mavericks for four seasons,” Thinel said. “I think I might have played as long as anyone except Courts (forward Andrew Courtney, who will be eligible for the honor next year).
“Gosh, when think back to the great Mavericks players – Jeff Christian, Lewie (Carlyle Lewis), Charlie Effinger – and there are so many more, it makes you realize how special this really is.”
A four-year captain for the Mavericks, Thinel was named CHL Most Valuable Player in the 2012-13 season, his third with the Mavericks. He was also a two-time CHL scoring champion while playing in Independence.
The St. Jerome, Quebec, native owns many Mavericks scoring records and is at or near the top of nearly every scoring mark in the team’s nine-year history. He has claimed all of the top four assist totals for a single season and owns both of the top two scoring campaigns in team history with 96 points in 2012-13 and 94 points in 2013-14.
In the all-time rankings, Thinel is second in goals scored as a Maverick with 98, second in games played with 294 and fourth in points per game with 1.29. Thinel was a CHL All-Star and earned All-CHL distinction in two of his four seasons with the team.
“My family and I are so excited about coming back,” Thinel said, “because we still have friends from the area we talk to on a regular basis. Maddx and Jett caught baseball fever when we lived there and they both play baseball and hockey.
“I tried to play in a senior league here in Montreal and it just wasn’t the same. I felt like it kept me away from Ashley and the boys – so I am working for the masonry company and have a lot of great memories of my time with the Mavericks.
“I just want to tell all the fans how excited I am about coming back to Kansas City and that we are coming a few days early so I can see everyone. It’s going to be a great weekend I want to thank everyone on the committee for remembering me.”
PRESEASON GAMES SET: The Mavericks announced Thursday that they will travel to Allen, Texas, for a pair of exhibition games on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 against the Allen Americans.
Friday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. and Saturday will start at 4:30 p.m. Both games will take place at Allen Event Center Community Ice.
Neither game will be available on radio or video stream. Tickets for the games will be available in the near future.