Thornton Academy hockey standout accomplishes mission with team’s second straight title

LEWISTON — There wasn’t any one-hour prime time ESPN special when he revealed his own “Decision”.
Still for sheer impact — at least on the Maine high school hockey landscape — Thornton Academy’s C.J. Maksut had it all over LeBron James.
Maksut, a slick skating winger with a golden net-front touch, could have taken his talents to South Shore or the New Hampshire Monarchs, or any of several other top notch junior programs after lifting the Golden Trojans to the Class A title last year.
However, he silenced those inner urgings and stayed in school.
He wanted to win another crown, and he wanted to go out on top with his lifelong friends.
That mission was accomplished on Saturday, when Maksut and his mates made it two titles in a row with a 5-1 championship game win over St. Dominic.
Dumb question of the day. Is he glad he came back?
“Oh, absolutely,” he said, moments after capping his stellar TA career with a three-goal hat trick. “I came back to play high school hockey because I love the atmosphere.”
It was that pull that tipped the balance in Thornton’s favor, even after he had locked up a spot on the Junior Monarchs’ “B” team.
“It was a 50/50 decision over the summer,” he said. “I love the community, and I love the guys on the team, so I decided to come back.”
That affection for his teammates was sent back to him like a back door pass – of the kind that he tapped in on countless occasions – many times over.
“That just shows what a great team player he is,” said top line center Robbie Downing, who arrived in Saco from Arizona last year, just as Thornton was beginning its run of success. “He doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about the team. He thinks what could be best for the community. He could have gotten out, but he went nowhere. He said, ‘I’m going to stay with my brothers’.
Defenseman Tyler Danley spent many a bus ride with Maksut over the course of four memorable varsity seasons.
He and the dozen other Trojans seniors tried to apply a little peer pressure to get Maksut back in Maroon and Gold.
It turned out none was really needed.
“We were pulling for him to come back,” said Danley, “and not go to the juniors, yet. He noticed that the guys that he grew up with his whole life playing hockey.
“He just wanted one more final skate with everyone.”
And what a skate it was.
One that put the finishing touches on an outstanding Thornton career by netting him the school’s scoring mark – he topped out at 154 points (90 g, 64 a) – and his second championship ring.
He may also walk off with the prestigious Travis Roy Award – given each year to the top Class A senior player in Maine – which will be handed out next Sunday.
And while he’s already been academically accepted by Quinnipiac University, where his older sister Jess already attends.
Maksut’s options – in hockey and otherwise – remain wide open.
More likely a year or so of junior is in store.
But, Maksut said, those are decisions for another day, not now.
“I’m glad we’re champions,” he said. “The future, I’m really not thinking about.”