HE BUILT A CRASH REPAIR business with a one liner, 'you bend them and we mend them'. Peter Berry, author of The Big Picture, wrote that "He used superior customer service to build relationship and repeat business at his point of difference in a competitive and crowded market". He formed Autocraft Paint and Panel with Steve Oddy in the mid-70s and, although the ice hockey market at the elite level in Australia was not crowded, it seemed he used superior fan service when he co-founded Adelaide Avalanche about 25 years later in 1999.
The Avs fans came out in numbers and the marketing of the club raised the bar in its own time. Yet, he never played ice hockey. His introduction to it was through his two sons, Ben and Luke. He and Steve Oddy were already a tremendous team when they began to apply their skills to the development of South Australian juniors in the 1980s.
They created the SA Junior Council and managed it over a period of 12 years. Many young players passed through it on their way to representing Australia. Their own sons developed into automatic selections in the Australian national teams for many years, through juniors and seniors and into the newly formed Adelaide Avalanche itself, winning the inaugural AIHL championship in 2000 and the 2001 championship final against Sydney Bears, 10-7.
He never played hockey, nor even skated, yet he threw everything behind the Club that in very short time became South Australia's first AIHL champions, Australia's first AIHL champions. He co-financed team travel four or five times a season, back and forth between Adelaide and the east coast, while opponents traveled to Adelaide just once a season.
The Avs subsequently lost three grand finals and two semis, then in 2008 he and Oddy sold the club and withdrew from the sport. The Avs did not complete thar season, but in their 8 full seasons they were champions twice, minor premiers 5 times, runners-up twice; fourth once. Their scoring differential (GF-GA) was either the highest or second highest in the league each season, and usually in excess of +45.
Foundation team manager Ross Noga was quick to acknowledge him when he retired: "Thank-you ... for believing in me and allowing me to be part of the vision for the start of the Adelaide Avalanche". Kelly Poole has written "Australian hockey would not be where it is today without them and their efforts to grow the game. First at junior level, then seniors, these two men pushed and prodded Australian hockey at national level to great success... [they] were the driving force behind the success of the AIHL".
 Some biographical detail and quotes courtesy Kelly Poole and Stephen Kilgariff.
Ross Carpenter, 'Thilthorpe, Jim ', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio_thilthorpe-j.html, accessed online .
The Big Picture: 9 Steps to Business Excellence, Peter Berry, 2007
Noga resigns from Adrenaline, Andrew McMurtry, theaihl.com, 2015.