Thinel, Plante, Van Drunen All Return To Jackalopes
(Odessa, TX) - The Odessa Jackalopes announced today that forward Sebastien Thinel, plus defensemen Dave Van Drunen and Phil Plante will all return to the team next year for the 2010-11 Central Hockey League season. The trio fills up three of the four available "veteran" spots on the Jacks' roster with each playing 300 or more games in their careers. The team also announced that forward Brian Swiniarski will retire.
Thinel has led the Jackalopes in overall scoring each his last four seasons in Odessa, including 97 points last year to tie his career-high. After being named the league's MVP in 2009, Thinel finished the season as a finalist for the award again in 2010. Next season will be Thinel's eighth in the Permian Basin making him the longest tenured member of the team.
Van Drunen and Plante both return to the Jackalopes for their third straight season in Odessa and their fifth straight season as teammates. Van Drunen has appeared in 105 games over the last two years for the Jackalopes registering a +41 rating and earning "Best Defensive Defenseman" honors in the league's annual "Best of the Best Poll" in 2010. He also chipped in a pair of goals and 13 assists for 15 points last season.
Plante ranked fourth in the CHL among blue-liners last season with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) while appearing in 63 games. In two seasons with the Jacks he's tallied 85 points in 123 games and his six game-winning goals last year tied him for ninth in the league overall.
"All three players gave us great leadership last season and all three served as captains," said head coach Paul Gillis. "(Thinel) gives us offense, (Van Drunen) gives us defense, and (Plante) gives us balance at both ends so it's a good start for building towards next season."
"It's always exciting to come back for another season," added Thinel. "Last year was a great year for us, but it wasn't where we wanted to finish, so now we have to find a way to take that next step this season."
After spending the last four seasons with the Jackalopes, Swiniarski has decided to retire. In 217 games with Odessa the forward recorded 59 goals and 51 assists for 110 points. He also added two goals and four assists in 26 career playoff games for Odessa. He missed the first 19 games of the 2009-10 regular season and the final four games of the playoffs due to injury.
The Odessa Jackalopes are the Central Hockey League affiliate for the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team will begin its 14th season in the Permian Basin in October 2010. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-PUCK or visiting jackalopes.org.
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