Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weekly Update - 5/22/13

Welcome to the first weekly update of the off season. I have to admit I'm already looking forward to next season. However, the celebration of the Presidents' Cup continued all last week even as players were completing physicals and heading home. From the Fan Fest celebration at the Allen Event Center (AEC) the day after the championship game, to a team dinner at Bob's Steak & Chop House, to the season ticket holder event at Fairview Down Under, a trip to the Ranger's game to watch Yu Darvish pitch, to a gathering at Renegade Cigars the players had lots of opportunity to show off the hard earned trophy and fans had a chance to see it up close and personal and have their picture taken. The trophy has been to baseball games, schools, concerts, fan club outings and will continue to make appearances over the summer.
The Morning After - photo by

- The other topic of conversation amongst the diehard fans is when will there be an announcement concerning what league the Americans will be playing in next season. I'm sure there is a lot happening behind the scenes but things are somewhat quiet other then the same rumors I outlined last week  in my "Rumors Post" (May 13). The St. Charles Chill web site started taking deposits for season tickets but there is no detail. The web site is just a shell. Bloomington has left the CHL and will play in the SPHL. Fort Worth is supposed to announce this week they are not playing in the CHL this fall.  I did come across the info below on one of the message boards from someone in Rapid City which is nothing official, just rumor but interesting nevertheless.

"The ECHL welcome banners do reside at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center (home to the Rush) and Allen will be joining us. From what I gathered, there are/were indeed some legal hurdles and Allen is/was directly involved with us in these rumblings. As we all know - Allen has quite a bit more monetary resources than we do. They mentioned that the Rush were looking into other options last off-season, but - were told by the CHL that Casper would be moving in cutting down on expenses by providing a closer team. This also coincides with our owners venturing out to Casper and possibly even owning a stake in that organization. Although they could not give a date on the announcement - they expect it will be done sometime during the ECHL finals. Again, take it for what you will - but, I do not believe the individual that provided me this information has any reason to "stir the pot" - they will have a job either way."

- I thought it would be interesting to look at average attendance this season by league to see the variance and this is what I found:
AHL (AAA) - 5711
ECHL (AA)  - 4695 
CHL (AA)  -   3706
SPHL (A)   -   2804
USHL         -   2649 (Tier 1 Junior)
NAHL        -   1524 (Tier 2 Junior) 

As a frame of reference the NHL had attendance ranging from a high of 21,775 (Chicago Blackhawks)  to a low of 13,306 (New York Islanders).
Was looking at the list of playoff MVP's after Brian McMillin got the award this year. Some interesting names on the list. I had forgotten Wichita Thunder bad boy Les Reaney was the MVP when Rapid City beat the Americans in the 2010 finals. And of course Jason Deitsch was the MVP in 2009 when the Brahmas won. Two former Erik Adams teammates in Colorado are also on the list. Chris Hartsburg, son of NHL (Minnesota North Stars) great Craig Hartsburg, is now an assistant coach with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League & Greg Pankewicz is an assistant coach with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL).

CHL Playoff Most Valuable Player

2013 – Brian McMillin, Allen Americans
2012 – Mike Vaskivuo, Fort Wayne Komets
2011 – Jeff Kyrzakos, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
2010 – Les Reaney, Rapid City Rush
2009 – Jason Deitsch, Texas Brahmas
2008 – Rob McVicar, Arizona Sundogs
2007 – Greg Pankewicz, Colorado Eagles
2006 – Jeff Bes, Laredo Bucks
2005 – Chris Hartsburg, Colorado Eagles
2004 – David Guerrera, Laredo Bucks
2003 – Kahlil Thomas, Memphis RiverKings
2002 – Don Parsons, Memphis RiverKings

- For those not following the ECHL Kelly Cup finals The Reading Royals lead the Stockton Thunder 3-0 and can wrap things up Friday night in Stockton. Reading was the number one seed in the 14 team Eastern Conference while Stockton was the number four seed in the 9 team Western Conference.

- In the AHL race for the Calder Cup they still don't have the second round of the playoffs completed. In the Western Conference the Oklahoma Barons defeated the Texas Stars and will play the Grand Rapids Griffins who defeated the Toronto Marlies. Good luck Brett Skinner who had an assist in the last three Griffins victories.
In the Eastern Conference the Syracuse Crunch swept the Springfield Falcon 4-0 and await the winner of Wilkes-Barre and Providence. The series is tied 3-3 with the seventh game tonight in Providence.

- The Brampton Beast are continuing full speed ahead as I found this  advertisement:

Brampton Beast Hockey Club

Application Deadline: May 31, 2013   Starting Date: June 3, 2013
Position: Director of Public Relations
Job Description:
The Brampton Beast are seeking an experienced community and public relations professional for a full time employment opportunity. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who is looking to continue/develop a career in the sport and community/public relations industries. This is also an exceptional opportunity for someone who has a strong desire to be part of a brand new and growing organization in the sport of hockey.

- Went into the team store yesterday and was surprised that there is not any championship merchandise. Sure seems like a missed opportunity to make some money and get more recognition in the community. Also, noticed the team store hours have been greatly reduced and I assume it is because there is very little merchandise to sell.

- This will be my last update until I return from two weeks of fishing in Canada & Minnesota and my son's wedding in Washington DC. I know a lot will happen between now and then so there should be a lot to talk about in my next update which will be June 12.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

While we are all still basking in the glory of a hockey season that ended in dramatic fashion and in a way that will never be forgotten it is time for me to say my thank yous to all involved. I sure consider myself lucky to have started this blog during this magical year that ended with a championship. The first month (October) there were 900 page views on the blog. It has steadily grown to a point where yesterday there were over 1300 pages views. To go from 900 page views per month to 1300 page views per day is mind boggling.

Who would have imagined a blog started for the Heritage Ranch Allen Americans fan club now reaches people all over the US and Canada as well as the hockey hotbeds in Europe on a daily basis. It proves Americans fans are all over the world.

I want to start out by thanking all of the fans that frequent this blog. It has been my pleasure to meet many of you and your words of encouragement in person, comments at the end of each blog post, on Twitter, Facebook and email have been very satisfying and inspiring.

Thanks to the many fans, bloggers, and media from all over the league that have promoted the blog as fair and balanced and also have shared information with me about their teams. One of the unexpected benefits of writing the blog was getting to know all of the passionate fans from the other CHL teams.

Jim Wiley, Director of Hockey Operations for the CHL spent more time with me than I deserved to help educate me about rules, discipline, rosters, and officials. Jim was open and honest and gave me a perspective that helped my understand how difficult his job is. Thanks Jim. 

Thank you to the players who have never said no to a single request I have made of them for a chat, an interview or a question. The player profile interviews I started this year took about 90 minutes of the players time and they all said yes when I asked. I have gotten to know most of these young men both professionally and personally and they have represented the Americans in an outstanding manner.

One of my goals when I started the blog was to share the personal stories of the players. The wives/girlfriends, parents, brothers and sisters I have met have been great in sharing family stories which I have then been able to share on the blog.  Thanks to all of you.

Thanks to Steve Martinson, Richard Matvichuk, Kacee Coberly, & Jason Wallace for always being willing to talk to me and help educate me. A special thanks to coach Martinson for allowing me to record almost every word he had to say in a public forum so I could get the word out to all of you that come to the blog for information.  Even when I posted information about a player coming to Allen that might have cost us the ability to get the player signed Coach was understanding and compassionate. (I was scared to death when he approached me however).

A special thank you to Tommy Daniels, Director of Communication & Broadcasting who has been a tremendous help to me all season. He encouraged me to start the blog, made me feel like part of the media team, answered many questions, let me stop by his office on almost a daily basis to get current information, publicized the blog to attract new readership, and invited me to part of the between periods conversation on his radio broadcast to talk hockey and promote the blog.

I have learned more about the game of hockey this year than I could imagine and it is because of the many conversations I had with Bill McDonald. Always willing to share his thoughts and explain the intricacies of the game from a coaches perspective. I know he will be missed by everyone but nobody will miss having Macker around the AEC more than me. Thanks Macker.

Thanks to Erik Adams, Tom Manning & Rob Ciccotelli for letting me bother them with questions when they are busy with other duties. Erik has been the liaison with the fan club at Hertiage Ranch and has devoted many hours talking to the fan club and helping me arrange for guests at our fan club meetings.

Unlike most writers, bloggers, and other media types that cover the Americans I have a dual role as in addition to being a blogger I also coordinate the activities of the fan club at Heritage Ranch. In this capacity I spend a lot of time in the front office of the Americans arranging for season tickets, suites, individual game tickets, seats for soldiers tickets, and other promotions. I want to thank Robert Fatta and Samantha Cuppen for all the help they have provided and especially Mike Martin who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help out our fan club.

Finally thanks to Matt Canavan, club President who is always willing to answer all of my questions about how the league operates and any other questions I may have.

So a magical season has come to an end. I have been a season ticket holder since the beginning so I have been following the team since its inception but this year was different. I was able to see the team from a different perspective and the access I was given by the entire organization helped me bring the story to the blog.

This will be my last daily blog post until the fall. I plan on posting once a week during the off season so I hope you will all check in to see what is happening with the team and the league. I also have two unfinished stories to complete this summer. One is on an unsung hero of the team, equipment manager Kacee Coberly and the other is a story about the bus. I'm going fishing for two weeks (Ontario & Minnesota) on May 23rd so these stories will have to wait until I return. If you are on Facebook please give a "Like" to Allen Americans Blog and if you are on Twitter please give me a follow (@allenamericans1) as I will post to Twitter & Facebook whenever I put new content on the blog.

                                                       Thanks again,  Barry

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shocker: Rumors Abound About Allen, Rapid, Brahmas, Wichita

I attended the "Championship Fan Fest" at the Allen Event Center yesterday which was a nice event for the fans to hear from Americans leadership (Miller, Matvichuk, Deitsch, Martinson, & Ludwig) and have the opportunity to talk to and get autographs from the players. As I was listening to the various speeches I couldn't help but look at all of the players sitting behind the podium and wonder who might be back next year.

In talking to the players yesterday it is apparent they are not staying around to bask in the glory very long. Drew Daniels has already left town as he is headed to Boston to enroll in summer school (Northeastern University) to work on finishing his degree and several of the players are leaving today and Tuesday.

 So as the season winds down I decided it is time to talk about all of the rumors I am hearing and sort out what is happening around the league for next year. These rumors take place every year so I am not saying they will all come true. I also don't have any "official" information other than maybe a slip of the tongue here and there. Most of my information comes from various other sources that do know what is going on with the franchise they follow. So here goes.

Fort Worth - The Brahmas will not be playing in the CHL next year. They had the following posted on their facebook page, "Between the long confusing off season last year and the growing pains and grind of this season, the staff is taking a bit of time to regroup while the owners decide their plan for next year. Stay tuned for details as soon as they emerge." There has been solicitation for new investors (listed on Sports Advisory Group) which also isn't a good sign. The bottom line on this one is Fort Worth goes dark next year and awaits a new building or they could go junior and get a NAHL franchise. By the way, I also heard from a reliable source that Dan Wildfong has talked to Arizona about their coaching vacancy which fits in with the Brahmas not operating in the CHL next year.

Rapid City - This is the worst kept secret of all of the off season moves as Rapid City is headed to the ECHL. The announcement was scheduled to take place Wednesday (5/15) but has been postponed. This story has even been discussed on the local television station. From what I have heard from folks in Rapid City nothing has happened to cause the delay other than scheduling conflicts that prevented all of the right people to be in Rapid City on the 15th.

St. Charles Chill - While the Chill are supposed to start operating this fall in the CHL this is most likely not going to happen. They too have been advertising for new investors with Sports Advisory Group. The coach as well as the general manager of the team never talk about the team. There is no activity on their web page and nobody is promoting the team from what I can tell. Unless a miracle happens quickly for the Chill they will be dark in the fall.

 Wichita - From what I have heard and read the ownership of the Thunder want to keep the franchise in the CHL. I have heard from what I consider a very reliable source that Wichita ownership is in fact spearheading an effort to buy the Central Hockey League from the current owners.

I have heard less about the other teams in the league other than the league is either helping or running Bloomington & Quad Cities. The Oilers may be looking at going junior. I did hear from one person that is well connected in the coaching circles of the CHL that Quad Cities was trying to get to the ECHL. Bloomington has supposedly applied for SPHL membership.  Arizona and Brampton have been having big season ticket promotions so they are going full speed ahead. The Mavs mostly likely stay in the CHL.

I have left our Allen Americans for the end because I have the most to say about our future. To lay the ground work the agreement the Americans have with the CHL is in fact for ten years and we have just finished our fourth year of that agreement. There has been much discussion about the minimum number of teams the league must maintain in order to live up to the agreement with the Americans. That number of teams is six. So as long as there are six teams remaining in the league the CHL fulfills the provision on number of teams to have a viable league. The question that may arise from a legal perspective is whether there are six teams in the league if the league itself has to prop up several of them financially. There could be other provisions of the agreement with the CHL that could create legal arguments to void the contract including the elimination of all of the Texas teams since Allen joined the league, the excessive travel with the addition of Brampton and immigration issues with having a CHL franchise in Canada. This is all conjecture but legal arguments can be made to void the contract.

It is my opinion that the Americans will be moving to the ECHL. I do not base this on any first hand information as everyone associated with the team that I talk to is very careful to tell me they hear rumors but have heard nothing from management about the move. So with all of the caveats, disclaimers, & warnings I say this will happen and it will happen soon. If it doesn't happen I don't mind eating crow as I am a lifelong bird hunter. Not only are the Americans moving to the ECHL there is some change of ownership in the works. I don't have specifics about this but have heard it enough times that I know something is happening. For those of you at the AEC yesterday did you notice the owner of Other Side Landscaping, Mike Holum, was down in the front with the team ownership and players. Not sure if this was a 'tell" or not but he was the only corporate sponsor I saw and I know there are bigger corporate sponsorships than his. This Holum angle is pure speculation but some type of ownership changes are forthcoming from everything I am picking up. Not sure if it is merely adding additional minority owners or something more major but something is happening.

So let's assume we get what many readers of this blog, including me, have been wishing for in a move to the ECHL. Be carefull what we wish for. Here are my thoughts:

- The ECHL veteran rule is 260 professional regular season games while the CHL rule is 301 games. In the CHL you can have six veterans while in the ECHL the number is four. I did a quick calculation and by my count nine players on this years final roster would be considered veterans in the ECHL next year. Here are the players with the number of professional games.
969 - Robinson
689 - Bootland
537 - Deitsch
391 - Lukin
339 - Pineault
339 - Silverthorn
324 - Hendrikx
305 - McKenzie
297 - Schaafsma
268 - Trevor Ludwig
238 - Berube
207 - Tyler Ludwig
171 - McMillin

So you can see the veteran rule alone will make a big impact on the make up of the 2013-2014 team.

- The style of play in the ECHL is one that emphasizes more speed so it will be important to recruit for speed. If we go about it the right way this will cause even more turnover of some popular players from this years team. This will not make the fans happy. The bottom line is we will need to put a team together next year that is younger and with more speed to be successful.

- Teams that have moved from the CHL to the ECHL have not been as successful as they were in the CHL. Colorado, Fort Wayne and Evansville are recent examples. There are many more established franchises in the ECHL with 23 teams and growing. The Americans will most likely be a middle of the pack or worse team. How will the fans who know nothing but winning adapt to less winning in a better league.

- If you look at the makeup of the ECHL they have two unbalanced conferences with the Eastern Conference  having three divisions with 14 teams while the Western Conference has only two divisions with 9 teams. Eight teams make the playoffs from each conference so you have the Western Conference with eight of nine teams making the playoffs. Here are the final standings from this year which show conferences and divisions by team.


1y Reading Royals72461934990.6882461850-1-0-18-1-0-13-41221
2x Elmira Jackals72402534870.6042472202-0-0-06-4-0-04-41210
3Wheeling Nailers72312939740.5141932250-1-0-14-5-0-17-91106
4Trenton Titans72323244720.5002262471-0-0-07-3-0-04-41171
1y Cincinnati Cyclones72422253920.6392271950-1-0-04-5-0-15-31119
2x Toledo Walleye72372654830.5762241952-0-0-06-4-0-00-4982
3Kalamazoo Wings72343044760.5282052150-1-0-03-4-0-37-4952
4Fort Wayne Komets72333513700.4862052461-0-0-04-5-0-14-31385
5Evansville IceMen72254034570.3962072722-0-1-03-5-1-13-41256
1y Gwinnett Gladiators72432621890.6182111912-0-0-08-2-0-03-11089
2x Florida Everblades72392247890.6182602415-0-0-07-2-0-12-71172
3x South Carolina Stingrays72382653840.5831981712-0-0-07-2-1-04-31006
4x Greenville Road Warriors72362826800.5562262190-3-0-04-4-0-28-61248
5Orlando Solar Bears72283734630.4381972530-4-0-02-7-0-16-41312


1z Alaska Aces724915441060.7362281723-0-1-05-3-2-04-41086
2x Idaho Steelheads72452016970.6742621980-1-0-06-4-0-03-61337
3x Colorado Eagles72343134750.5212392241-0-0-14-4-1-13-41534
4x Utah Grizzlies72293049710.4932172771-0-0-05-1-0-46-91741
1y Ontario Reign72461934990.6882461920-1-0-05-4-0-16-41621
2x Stockton Thunder72372654830.5762232164-0-0-07-3-0-04-41226
3x Las Vegas Wranglers72373023790.5491961923-0-0-06-4-0-07-31206
4x San Francisco Bulls72253827590.4101912521-0-0-04-4-1-14-71489
5Bakersfield Condors72224424500.3471712470-1-0-14-5-0-18-41292

You can look for the establishment of a third division in the Western Conference, I assumed it will be called the Central Division, which might include Colorado, Allen, Rapid City and one of the teams from the Eastern Conference North Division.

- One advantages the Americans will have is in recruiting as the area, the arena, Stars connections, the weather and probably affiliations will all attract players. As mentioned earlier recruiting speed will be essential.

- An ECHL team if they have an affiliation will have more contracted AHL players so the fans will have to get used to more movement of players to the affiliated club. Allen has a history of getting players stints in the AHL so it won't be as big a problem as in Rapid City.

- A big decision that will have to made after the ECHL announcement is completed and whatever ownership changes are consummated is the hiring of a coach. Steve Martinson was here without his family this year on a one year contract. He wants to come back but needs a three year contract so he can feel comfortable moving his family.

- There will be many logistical issues in order to get everything aligned to the ECHL. A brand new web site will be a welcome addition. The rosters in the ECHL are bigger so there might be some bus issues that have to be dealt with or maybe the rookies will be sleeping on the floor.

The bottom line is whatever happens over the next ten days the one thing that is 100% certain is the Allen Americans will be playing hockey at the Allen Event Center this fall. For most of the people who read this blog that is all we can ask. STAY TUNED!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Allen Wins - You Will Walk Together Forever

THE CHAMPS - photo by

As I was leaving the Allen Event Center (AEC) last night I ran into Americans owner, Doug Miller, walking all by himself towards the parking ramp and of course congratulated him and thanked him for bringing hockey to Allen. He said to me what I heard all over the AEC after the game, "you couldn't write a script any better than this." So the script for our fictional hockey movie would go something like this: the team (Allen Americans has a nice ring) loses game six on the road to force a game seven at home, then let's have the visiting team (let's call them Wichita Thunder) take a 2-0 lead into the third period. We will have the only player remaining from the last time the Americans went to the finals in 2010 (Jarret Lukin) score a goal around the seven minute mark of the third period, then when the crowd is starting to think the home team is going to lose we will have a late season replacement who played for the team last year but left for a rival league (ECHL) but came back (Trevor Hendrikx) score a goal to tie the game 2-2 with around two minutes left. And then for more drama we will have the game go into overtime. In overtime we will have one of the top 20 scorers in minor league hockey history (Todd Robinson) who has gotten permission to leave his last place team (Evansville Icemen of the rival ECHL), where he was the captain,  to join the first place Americans for the playoff run, score the winning goal. And then let's have the hero and Playoff MVP (Brian McMillin) be a kid from hockey crazy Minnesota, who could have gone to Yale but chose the powerful Western Collegiate Hockey Association (Colorado College) where he earns a 3.74 GPA, has a beautiful wife who also played division one hockey, has to fight for ice time early in the year and then has something magic happen in the playoffs. This McMillin character will score 12 goals in the playoffs after scoring only 15 goals in 58 games in the regular season.

Our script probably gets rejected as being unrealistic but we know dreams do come true and they did last night as the Americans won the Central Hockey League championship in dramatic fashion, 3-2 in overtime, before a sell out crowd of 6125 at the AEC.

I have so many thoughts about the game, the team, the coach, the fans and the season that this will be a long rambling post so I ask for forgiveness up front. I will save all of my thanks yous for another post I will do tomorrow. Here goes:

- To the Thunder team a heartfelt congratulations on an outstanding year. To be so close to the championship this year after losing in the finals last year must be difficult but as you are able to reflect on the year it was a great one. I also want to give a shout out to all of the Wichita fans who came to Allen for the game last night. Wichita is a great franchise with a great fan base.

- In the odd stat category the best thing that happened last night was for Wichita to score the first goal as the team that scored the first goal lost the last four games of the series.

- It was such an unreal feeling in the AEC as the game ended with all of the excitement but I also sensed the pride that was running through the fans. I think everyone felt part of the team at that moment. It was quite special.

- As much as I enjoyed watching the players celebrate on the ice it was also great to see how excited the rest of the staff was, like equipment manager Kacee Coberly, trainer Jason Wallace, bus driver Scott Alexander, front office staff  Tom, Rob, Robert, Drew,  Samantha, and Sean to name a few.

- It was also great to see all of the wives, girlfriends, friends and particularly family celebrate with the guys. I saw tears of joy 30 minutes after the game was over. How special for all of them!

- Jarret Lukin who won his first championship had this to say, "This is just insane,"I've never won a championship before ... and man ... it's just amazing."

- Brian McMillin also won his first championship. "Obviously this is something special," McMillin said. "I don't ... I don't even know if I can really explain it."

- And what a nice end of career for captain Jason Deitsch to go out with another championship.

- "It's so great that we could do this at home and give that extra something special to the fans," said Trevor Hendrikx.

- Even for veterans like Nicole & Jamie Schaafsma who have made it to the championship game for the last five years you could see the excitement. They had a babysitter for the kids so they could celebrate the victory.

-Mike Montgomery and his girlfriend (Ashley) are anxious to get back home to Minnesota. They met in college and celebrated together in 2011 when Mike, as captain, led the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to their first NCAA hockey championship after 50 years of hockey. I guess the four year wait for the CHL championship isn't so bad. Mike now has the trifecta as he scored the only goal as his high school team won the Minnesota state championship in 2004, he won the NCAA collegiate championship in 2011 and now has his first pro championship in 2013.

- How great was it for Bill "Macker" McDonald to be given the honor of dropping the ceremonial puck last night. Macker had as much to do with the success of this team over the past four years as anyone as his fingerprints are all over this team. And what a great send off to Macker to win yet another championship as he heads back home to Thunder Bay as head coach of the Lakehead University hockey team. Macker, you will be missed.

- How about the story of Brian McMillin and his selection as MVP of the 2013 CHL playoffs. I know I write a lot about Brian on this blog as some have even suggested we must be related. Though we are both from Minnesota we are not related even though I tell him I am his Texas Grandpa. I have had a chance to meet all of his relatives and they are all salt of the earth great folks from northern Minnesota. His dad, Harley and I have become friends but we talk hunting and fishing as much as hockey.  And all you have to do to appreciate what a great support his wife Wendy is to him is read the story I did about her (check the archives for Wendy McMillin - Hockey Wife - Sports Star dated 1/20/13).

For the record Brian had 12 goals in the playoffs while the next closest competitor had 9, he ranked second in points with 20, fourth in +/- with +8, first in game winning goals with 3 including the game winning goal in games 2 and 4 of the finals. Deserving recognition for a young man who is respected by his teammates, the coaching staff, the front office and the fans.

Playoff MVP Brian McMillin photo by
Coach Martinson was kind enough to take some time from the celebration to come into the season ticket holder lounge after the game and share his thoughts. It was great to see this old school, nose to the grindstone, grizzled veteran of many battles both as a player and a coach with a big smile on his face. He knows what works as a coach and he lives and dies with his approach which is definitely old school. As he has said many times I stay out of the players locker room,  I expect them to do the right thing, I am not a babysitter, I don't spend time with the players on the bus, I don't eat with the players, I have enough friends so I don't need the players to be my friend. I'm sure the championship means a lot to Steve and it should also answer any of the skeptics as well. This guy is a winner and he knows how to coach. Here are a few of the comments from Martinson:

- What a third period and OT. I was thinking going into overtime I was going to see a goal that hit the net. I had that vision in my head I was going to see the net move. And when I saw the net blow out on that slap shot it was unbelievable. Richard (Matvichuk) who weighs about 230 pounds began shaking me and my neck was flopping around and I had to tell him to stop shaking me.

- I hated the first period as we had another crappy first. However, our players were so positive in the locker room even after the second period, nobody had their heads down, the just kept saying we have to get pucks to the net.

- Percentages paid off for us tonight as we had lots of shots in the second period even though we didn't score. Traffic, deep pucks, and pucks to the net will eventually pay off and it did on both goals in the third period.

- A great comeback for the guys. We talked about how we have come back from behind before and the guys just believed in themselves.

- What a great crowd and it really helped us tonight. Momentum is such a big part of hockey and the crowd helped the guys keep going.

- Wichita lost a forward to a broken jaw (Hanson) in game 6 and moved a defenseman up to forward so they were playing with only five defensemen. We were not waiting for last change, we told our guys to get up to the faceoff quickly and don't give the Thunder any time to rest. When you play at such a high level and fast pace it is difficult to go with five defensemen.

- I have never had a team that has lost a game seven in the finals. This is the first to go to overtime. Our approach in overtime was to keep a guy high and emphasize we don't need to gamble. We don't need to have a hero mentality in overtime. Just do all the little things and that will make something happen.

- Everyone on this team, including the injured guys, contributed to this championship. Different guys throughout the series made plays, young guys, veterans, those that had lots of ice time and those that didn't. Drew Daniels has played great the last few games and his speed opened some things up in the second period. Montgomery stepped up and rushed the puck as well.

- I talked to Scott Howes on the ice right after the game and all of his goals early in the year helped us be in first place and have a winning attitude which helped us attract good players who wanted to come to a first place team. It was nice to see Ryley Grantham come back for the game tonight and Brett Skinner (who is still playing in the AHL playoffs) sent me a message.

- I am happy for Brian McMillin being selected MVP. His perseverance and work ethic has really paid off for him.  He doesn't complain, he works hard and quietly goes about his business. He is a great example for others.


I want to end this post with something I did over the last couple of weeks. I interviewed every player and asked them what they were planning to do over the summer. I am sure some plans might have changed based on injuries and winning the championship but it will give you an idea of how the guys will be spending their summer. As fun and exciting it is to win the Presidents' Cup it comes with the realization that the makeup of the team will be different next year and many of these players will not return which has a sad component to it, but that is a story for another day.

Thanks to all of the players who shared their plans with me:

Anthony Maiani - I will be heading home to Shelby Township, Michigan to spend time with my friends and family. I will help out with the family catering business. Around mid July I will head over to the University of Denver where I live with and train with some other Denver alums including Tyler Bozak who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Patrick Mullen who was with the Manchester Monarchs and is now with the Chicago Wolves (AHL). We will train with some other guys at the University and will take a trip to Las Vegas and have a golfing trip somewhere as well.

Mike Montgomery - I will head back to Minnesota to spend some time with my family. My family has a cabin in Wisconsin so we spend time at the cabin on weekends. I will be working this summer but don't know where yet. My girlfriend (Ashley) will be working at a golf course so hope I can play a lot of free golf. I will take some time off from training but will hook up with some friends from college to train in Minneapolis and will also go to the University of Minnesota Duluth (alma mater) to train.

Jamie Schaafsma - We will head back home to Chatham, Ontario as we just bought a house last summer. It is close to my parents as well as Nicole's parents so lots of time for our two little ones to spend time with grandparents. I work part time at a group home for 13-17 years old kids who can't find a foster home and are in the custody of the state. My brother just started a security business installing security alarms and security cameras so I might help him out. I will play some softball and will work out at Athletes' Fuel Strength & Conditioning which is a relatively new company where a lot of hockey players train. They really know their stuff and the training is very intense. We will rent a cottage for a week with some friends and that will be our vacation for the year.

Drew Daniels - I will be heading to Boston (Northeastern University) along with my brother to attend summer school. I am 24 credits short of graduating since we left school a year early so I will be working on my degree. I will only have class three days a week so I will try and find something to do for work on a part time basis. I had an internship on Wall Street so would like to find something in the financial district. I will train with my brother as well as other former teammates from Northeastern. I might take a vacation at the end of summer but nothing definite at this point.

Darryl Bootland - I have grown to love the Allen/McKinney area so much I am sticking around for the summer. My wife (Sarah) is from a small town north of Conroe and we will spend some vacation time down there. I will be working for Mike Holum at Other Side Landscaping. As for working out and training when I was younger I would take of a month or two after the season ended but now I take a couple of weeks off and then I will be right back at it working out at Cooper Clinic. I will play summer league hockey and will also play softball.

Garrett Clarke - I will be staying in the area for the summer so I can be with my girlfriend, former Ice Angel, Danielle,  and hope to work for Mike Holum at Other Side Landscaping. I will work out at Cooper Fitness with the other guys staying for the summer and will also play summer league hockey as well as some softball. My sister is having a baby in June so I will go home for a visit then. I also hope to work on my golf game this summer.

Corbin Baldwin - I plan on going home to Winnipeg and get a job. The last four years I have worked for a cemetery but I am hoping to get a job at a golf course. I love to play golf so that would be ideal. I have a buddy getting married so I might go to Northern Alberta (Peace River) for that. I usually work out on my own but had an opportunity to work out with a trainer thru the Minnesota/Houston organizations but I am not sure if I will have that opportunity this year. I will play in a hockey league just for fun with my buddies, I play some pick up basketball, and I also play in a softball league. I love to fish and go almost every night.

Aaron Dell - Kelly and I will spend some time visiting her parents in Clearwater, MN relaxing and recuperating from the long season. We will then head up to my hometown (Airdrie) just north of Calgary, Alberta where we will stay the summer. I train with with some friends from back home. My brother has a summer hockey team and I sometimes fill in. I like to play golf and fish so hope to do plenty of both this summer.

Todd Robinson - This summer will be a little different than normal as I usually work for a hockey team. Not knowing what is going to happen next year I will be living this summer in Muskegon, MI where we have a home even though we haven't been there for five years. I have a few opportunities for work but not sure yet what I will be doing but I will definitely be working. Having played for so long I know what works best for me and I will take a month off and then start training. I won't skate until the end of August. After fourteen years it is important to give my body plenty of time to heal. With small children it is also an opportunity to spend time with them during the summer. I coached my seven year old daughter's soccer team last year and may do that again. My four year old son may also be involved in some sport.  As for vacations we have nothing planned but may make a visit to British Colombia. I enjoy golf and hope to play some this summer.

Jarret Lukin - I will head make home to Calgary, Alberta for the summer. I have worked the past few summers coaching and helping out at hockey camps and will continue that this year. I will probably work out with Sean Hope-Ross who has been working with me for twelve years. He is at a new gym this summer so not exactly sure how it will work out. I don't like to play too much hockey in the summer so I am usually a fill in. I will definitely play some golf especially with my dad and will also play some tennis. I will see Colton Yellow Horn as I did last year and do a little ranch work and play in a golf tournament with him. I will also attend the Calgary Stampede.

Mike Berube - We will be heading home to Edmonton, Alberta and I will work with my brother and dad who own a kitchen cabinet company. I have done this for the last five years. I'll take off a couple of weeks to rest my body. My brother is getting married the end of May in Palm Springs so we will go there and enjoy some time off and then come home and get to work. I will work out with a long time friend.  I do play some summer hockey just for fun with my brothers in law, brother and dad and I play in a charity softball game every summer. I also play a lot of golf. We plan on visiting Adam and Monique Pineault in Florida and spend some time with them.

Jim McKenzie - Usually I head back to Minnesota (Woodbury) and spend the summer with family and friends. I am still waiting to see what is going to happen. I may stay around Texas a while after the season. I usually work in landscaping so may do that again for a summer job. I have a buddy getting married and will be going to a bachelor party in Las Vegas in mid June but no other vacation plans at this time. I love to fish so will be going fishing (walleye & crappie) as much as possible when I am in Minnesota. I will also play some golf. I work out with a group of friends in Minnesota.

Kale Kerbashian - Hopefully we will be celebrating a championship here in Allen and I will stick around for that but I will head back to Thunder Bay for the summer. I will only take a week off and will do my cardio work but I won't do any heavy lifting for a month or so. I am not sure if I will work this summer or not. If an opportunity comes along I will work. We have a cabin so I will spend some time at the cabin doing some wake boarding and will also play some golf. I usually train with some NHL guys (Staal brothers) who work with a trainer named Steve Bailot who does a great job.

Trevor Ludwig - We live in McKinney in the off season so we will be staying in the area. I'll take two weeks off to give my body a rest and will start working out at Cooper Fitness taking it easy at first and then getting more into it. I do play in a summer hockey league with a couple of buddies as well as some junior league guys, some college guys. I also play on a slow pitch softball team in the summer as well as play lots of golf. With more guys sticking around this summer our hockey and softball team will have me, Tyler, McMillin, Clarke, Deitsch, Bootland, and we are trying to get my dad and Matvichuk to come out and play some softball with us. The whole family will spend some time in Wisconsin (Rhinelander & Eagle River)) for a vacation visiting with relatives, spending time at the lake on a pontoon boat relaxing and fishing.

Steve Silverthorn - I will be staying in the area as my wife works here and we are also expecting a baby this summer. I might take a week off but I love being in the gym so I will get back at it quickly. I do like to get away from the rink in terms of playing so will not do any of that until later in the summer. I will help with some youth hockey programs at the AEC during the summer. I will play a little golf and we might take a trip home (Owen Sound, Ontario) before the baby arrives and I will do some fishing. I love fishing.

Jason Deitsch - Everything is on hold for me until I hear about a position with the Fort Worth Fire Department I have applied for. The training has been delayed a couple of times and no new date for the class has been announced. After taking some time off I will train as if I am playing hockey again in the fall. I will play hockey in a summer league with the Ludwig's and will also play some golf. A friend of mine who plays for the Toronto Maple leafs is getting married in Colorado and I hope to go to his wedding if our schedule works out.

Adam Pineault - We will be at our home in New Smyrna, Florida enjoying the summer. My mother will be visiting for three weeks the end of May so we look forward to spending some time with her. I have two trainers that I will start working out with the first of June. I spend Monday, Wednesday & Friday in the gym. On Tuesday and Thursday I do a beach workout. Mike & Chantal Berube will be coming down for a visit the middle of June so we look forward to a little trip with them. Monique still has to go to her doctor appointments in Tampa every month so we will be staying close to home for the summer. I will hopefully be playing plenty of golf.

Brian McMillin - I'm not sure where I will be spending the summer for sure as plans are still up in the air. I will start light workouts at Cooper Clinic after taking a week or so off. We have no specific vacation plans yet but I am sure I will spend some time back home in Roseau, Minnesota. If I am in the area I will play summer league hockey with the Ludwig's team or with Belfour's team. I might also play some softball and as always lots of golf.

Chris Doyle - I will spend some time in the area before heading home to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island for the summer. I will take a short amount of time off and then start working out. I may take a couple of trips to visit friend in Western Canada but nothing is firmed up yet. I will play some hockey and softball and hopefully get in a lot of golf.

Trevor Hendrikx - I will be spending the summer with my girlfriend (Cassie) in Los Angeles, I'll give my body some time to heal and then start working out but take it slow at first. My golf game is not very good so I don't play much golf. We might take a vacation but nothing planned yet. Anywhere warm with sand and beaches will do.

Tyler Ludwig - I need to find a job but don't have anything lined up yet. I will take some time off and then start working out at Cooper Fitness but not too much too fast. I will play hockey with my brother and some other players that stay for the summer and we will also play in a softball league. Matvichuk is going to play and we are trying to get my dad out but he has not committed yet. We will take a vacation to Wisconsin to visit family and spend time at the lake. The most important thing is to spend time with our six month old daughter (Sydney).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fat Ladies, Marbles, Cups, Cliches & Good Luck

The Ray Miron Presidents' Cup
 I could spend time today talking about last nights game and analyze the one goal lead, being outshot, giving up three goals in a little over four minutes and a myriad of other issues but what happened last night doesn't matter at this point. What matters at this point is what happens tonight. Here are my thoughts:

- This team has been in this must win position many times during the season and they have always played their best in big games. I see no reason for tonight to be any different.

- Coach Martinson always says our best players have to be our best players in big games and I look for that to happen tonight.

- The team with the better goalie usually wins. Aaron Dell  is the better goalie. I look for that to happen tonight.

- The Americans have played three previous Game 7’s and are unbeaten in those contests beating Laredo on home ice and Odessa on the road, both during the 2010 season, to go along with their win this year against Missouri at the Allen Event Center.

 - Tonight's showdown will mark the sixth Game 7 in CHL Finals history and the second Game 7 of this year’s post-season (Allen defeated Missouri by a 7-3 score in Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals).  Overall, there have been 28 Game 7’s in CHL playoff history with the home team posting wins in 18 of those.

- I am already nervous and all I am going to do is watch so I thought I would post a few of the time honored cliches we have all heard about the "big game" for you to enjoy:

- Tonight is for all the marbles
- There is no tomorrow
- The fat lady will sing tonight
- Anything less than a championship is unacceptable
- Second is the first loser
- Tonight is for bragging rights
- It all comes down to which team wants it more
- It's gut check time
- Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing
- There is no I in TEAM
- If you're not first, you're last, tonight is the night

I will end this post the same as yesterday because it really captures what team sport is all about at any level and what the Allen Americans represent.  A bunch of men playing a game, strangers coming together for a common goal, willing to do anything for each other.

Win today and we walk together forever."
—Philadelphia Flyers Coach Fred Shero wrote this on his famous chalkboard before the Flyers' 1974 Stanley Cup finals victory.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Everything Has Been Said - Except Players Mottos

Well, it is just four hours until the Allen Americans have a chance to win their first CHL Championship. Everything has been done and said to put the boys in position to win. Now it is  up to them to bring it home. So what more is there to say I thought and then I had an idea. I interviewed several of the players this year for player profiles and some of them shared their motto. Sometimes it was a poster they had on the wall as kids, sometimes a motto they got from a coach or player that stuck with them. I thought on the eve of the biggest game thus far in Americans franchise short history I would dig out those mottos for all to see. Here goes.

Mike Montgomery: The harder you work the luckier you get.

Kale Kerbashian: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

Jamie Schaafsma: As a kid there was a poster on my wall that said, "I Play To Win"

Booter Bootland: Before every game I say to the guys "Let's have some F****** fun, this F****** game is supposed to be F****** fun. Then they know I am ready to go.

Mrs Jamie (Nicole) Schaafsma via Twitter: "If you're not first, you're last" tonight is the night

And here are some famous quotes from other hockey greats to relax you before the big game.

“We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”
—Fred "The Fog" Shero, who was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers during their Broad Street Bullies days.

"The top three worst things I've seen in hockey? The invention of the trap. The invention of the morning skate. And the invention of the extremely ugly uniform."
—Brett Hull

"My teeth weren't that good to begin with, so hopefully I can get some better ones." 
—Duncan Keith

"Why is a puck called a puck. Because dirty little bastard was taken." -Martin Brodeur

"How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?"
—Jacques Plante

"You can always get someone to do your thinking for you."
—Gordie Howe after being asked why players always wear a cup, but not always a helmet

"I was a multi-millionaire from playing hockey. Then I got divorced, and now I am a millionaire."
—Bobby Hull

"I will personally challenge anyone who wants to get rid of fighting to a fight."
—Brian Burke

"Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor."
—Fred Shero, coach of the Philadelphia Flyers during their Broad Street Bullies days

"The only difference between this and Custer's last stand was Custer didn't have to look at the tape afterwards."
—Tampa Bay Lightning coach Terry Crisp after a 10-0 loss

"There are rough players and there are dirty players. I'm rough and dirty."
—Stan Mikita

"If you can't beat 'em in the alley, you can't beat 'em on the ice."
—Conn Smythe

"The playoffs separate the men from the boys, and we found out we have a lot of boys in our dressing room."
—New York Rangers general manager Neil Smith after losing to the Washington Capitals

Win today and we walk together forever."
—Philadelphia Flyers Coach Fred Shero wrote this on his famous chalkboard before the Flyers' 1974 Stanley Cup finals victory.





Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kevin Young, Wichita Defenseman, Diary Entry

Kevin Young of the Wichita Thunder has been doing a playoff diary this year. Here is his latest entry which he posted earlier today:

Wichita, KS (May 9th) - Kevin Young has decided to help us out this post-season to keep the fans informed and get them closer to the action. Here is his playoff diary for today:
Hey guys. Well, we all know what is at stake tomorrow night.  I have read and heard a few comments from our fans and I politely disagree with them.  Game 5 was the first game we got outplayed.  I can't explain why.  Sometimes that happens in hockey.  The good news is we have a game at home where we have been the best in the league all year long and then anything can happen in a Game 7.
I know for a fact nobody in our dressing room has thrown in the towel.  This is a tight team and everybody in that room wants to win it for the guy next to them.  We need to play with controlled aggression.  Play hard and in their face all night long between the whistles and not get caught up in their trash talking or with the referees.   There truly is nothing to save it for and I trust that everybody on our team will empty their tanks in Game 6.  We only have 120 minutes of hockey left in the season.  There is no reason we can't give it our all for that short amount of time.
There is very clearly a lot of pressure on us and that's when you will notice players rising up to meet that challenge.  Character will be called upon and I know our team has a lot of that.  The guys are chomping at the bit to get back into a game as we know we have a lot more to offer than we did in game 5.  If we play like we did in the first 4 games, we will give ourselves a great chance to win.  Hopefully we get a couple of bounces that go our way and we can ride the momentum we will create from the first shift right through to the last.
We will need our fans to be behind us so hopefully you guys can fill the rink and make it loud for us.

Bootland, Bad Boy or Pussycat, You Be The Judge

Everyone knows Booter Bootland as
 the type of player that earned his way
to the NHL by being an agitator who is also as tough as nails. What many people don't know is what a caring, kind hearted, child loving guy he is.
 I had the pleasure of doing a player profile on Booter back in December (check the blog archives for December 28, 2012 if you would like to read the story) and I got a taste of the softer side of Booter in that interview as he talked about his wife, Sarah, his son and a daughter they were expecting at the time who was born in March. Just yesterday I had one of the readers of this blog post a comment about Booter after
Booter Talking to Americans  Fans in Wichita
she had read his Player Profile. It says more about what he is as a person than I could ever express so thought I would publish the comments for all to see. Thanks to A Reflective Realist for sharing her story and thanks Booter for always going the extra mile to connect with fans young and old. Here it is:

A Reflective Realist! has left a new comment on your post "Darryl Bootland - Player Profile":

It's What Isn't Written Here That Your Readers Should Know . . .

My family's first AA game was near the end of the 2013 regular season. A game against the very team they are playing in the finals, Wichita Thunder.

We entered the ticket area to pick up our pre arranged tickets and I see some hockey player with a long beard talking with a gentleman in a wheelchair and what I assume to be his mother. He was probably late 20s, his mom was much older.

The appearance of the hockey player leads me to believe he is young, a rebel, a scrapper, some punk who plays hockey with a crazy beard. Guess that is his thing.

I watch the interaction, it seemed a little PR oriented. The player is chatting with the family. He touches the man in the chair. They talk about the game. The man then tells the hockey player to have a good game, he shakes his hand and the hockey player is gone. The name on the back of the hockey player's jersey reads Bootland.

I was still skeptical about the nature of that visit but thought it might have been a friend or someone set up the visit. It wasn't the team out there, it wasn't in front of a step & repeat. There wasn't any media or pictures being taken.

My family enjoyed the game. I tried to watch for the beard guy, it seems he was a fan favorite. He hits . . . hard. He plays . . . hard. He looks like he is having the most fun out of anyone on the ice. The fans love him. There are chants for him, posters even a banner declaring BOOTERVILLE!

He grows on me. Our boys think he is awesome . . . my husband likes his old style of playing - hard, fast and hitting every chance you get.

But it was what no one saw that softened my heart for this young, scrappy, punk, bearded rebel . . . it was after the game was over. While people were streaming out of the building, his team was leaving the ice, after a loss, this guy - who I thought was just a punk showed who he really is, what he is really made of.

He found a puck and skated in the opposite direction of his team and tossed it over the glass to the man in the wheelchair. He tapped the glass twice to the man in the wheelchair and skated off.

The man was beyond excited. It filled his heart, a smile as big as Texas came across his face . . . Booter made his day.

You are truly defined by the character you show when no one is looking! Booter was defined right then and there when he didn't know I was watching as an honorable, kind, compassionate man.

We have since been back to every home game. We look for Booter on the ice, we watch for his hits and we enjoy every minute of his playing time.

This franchise has a fun, good, crowd pleasing hockey player in Booter. They also have a great man.

Forever Booter Fans!!!

Posted by A Reflective Realist! to Allen Americans Blog at May 8, 2013 at 8:48 AM 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Martinson Post Game Comments, Ludwig Injury Update

Kale Kerbashian Celebrates another Allen goal -
Allen overcame a rough start in the first period to score five unanswered goals to beat Wichita 5-1 last night and take their first lead of the playoffs 3-2 before the best crowd of the season (5801) both in size and enthusiasm. It was a great game for the home team as three goals in the first 6:35 of the second period gave the Americans momentum that the Thunder were powerless to do anything about. A five minute boarding penalty on Thunder bad boy Les Reaney at the end of the second period led to two more Allen goals and the game was essentially over.

Martinson Post Game Comments:

- We didn't do a good job in the neutral zone in the first period as we skated by too many pucks, we tried to be too cute at the blue line and we didn't get pucks in deep. Our team is best when we but pucks in deep and win battles for the puck.

- There wasn't anything special that we said that got us going. Our team feeds off momentum and the first goal by Robinson got that momentum going.

- Fighting has been diminished as the series has gone on because both teams have no extra players and can't risk losing someone to injury or penalty. Neither team can afford to lose a player at this point.

- I sometimes remind the guys how many times during the season and in the playoffs we have responded in big games. It seems as if when we have to have a victory we come through. It is nice to have that in your back pocket.

- We are in the drivers seat now but this series is not over. We need to continue to build on what we do well and avoid the things we don't do well.

- The YouTube flex off with McClelland now has close to 4500 views. I wasn't trying to take anything away from the players but I got tired of Kevin posing so I just reacted. I know there are some things out there on YouTube but if all the crazy things I have done were on YouTube I would have a lot of explaining to do.

- The message for game six is not a great game plan but doing what we do well, our guys being willing to get pucks in deep. If you look at the NHL it is like a line of scrimmage in front of the net. We need guys willing to get in there and pay a price and still get their sticks on the puck. McMillin and Deitsch have been excellent at this during the series.

- Tyler Ludwig will be okay in game six even though he went down hard on that boarding call. As for Trevor, he broke his jaw in four places and will have surgery on Thursday. As a true Ludwig, the first thing he asked the doctor is there anything they can do so he can keep playing. The irony of the whole thing is the guy that deflected the slapshot that hit Trevor was in fact his brother. I am sure Tyler will hear about it for a long time to come.

Trevor Ludwig chats with Americans fan Dan Zalaznik

- It is always hard to lose a player like Trevor who logs a lot of minutes for this team but it is a great opportunity for Drew Daniels. Drew has stepped in and played great. He got the helmet tonight for player of the game. He has waited patiently, had a great attitude, been a team player and was ready to go when he got his opportunity.

Some quotes from the game:

"We just don’t have the killer instinct right now," Les Reaney said. "We’ve scored the first goal two games in a row. At home, (if) we get that second one, I think we put it away. We’re just not getting into those tough areas, and that’s all there is to it."

"Jim McKenzie, "We have battled adversity many time this year and we always come through. i think that has given us confidence when things haven't gone well."

"They were getting a little bit frustrated," Allen goalie Aaron Dell said. "You could see it in their game, they were getting mad at each other. When you do that, you kind of fall apart a bit. We expect a stronger game next time, for sure. The series isn’t over yet."

Read more here:

"It’s a seven-game series," Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. "This is the first time we’ve been behind in a series, now we’ve got to go home and take advantage of our home ice and take our chances in Game 7. But we need some guys to step up. Our scorers have to be scorers, and we can’t be going dry through the finals."

Read more here:

Other Comments:

- This game was different as there were only six penalties called (four on the Americans) however two of the six were five minute majors. Wichita scored their only goal during the five minute major power play and Allen score twice on their five minute power play.

- Wichita once again had the shots on goal advantage as they outshot Allen 27-22 and in the first period the Thunder had the edge 7-3.

- Jason Deitsch is one point away from scoring his 100 playoff point.

- With the great attendance last night (5801) the Americans playoff average for 10 games is now at 4241 which exceeds their average for the regular season and is second in the playoffs with only Missouri having a larger average (4360). If you look at total playoff attendance Allen has 42,415 while no other team has more than 26,163.

- The three stars of the game were #1 Todd Robinson, #2 Aaron Dell, & #3 Tyler Ludwig. Aaron Dell will win the Oakley Three star competition for the playoffs.

- Tyler Ludwig had two goals last night and they were certainly impressive. But what is most admirable was the grit he showed after being boarded, going off the ice, and returning to score his second goal. I know he was hurting but in true Ludwig fashion he sucked it up for the team. And he was another +2 for the game to increase his league leading +/- to +15.

- Per Tommy Daniels last night was the first time ever the Dallas Morning News had two reporters (Rick Gosselin & Mike Heika) at an Americans game. How nice to have these well respected sports writers cover the Americans. And what great game to have them attend.

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Practice Notes, Player Quotes, Superstitions & More

Trevor Ludwig is down and out but Dell is ready -

 - Had a chance to attend pregame skates this morning and everyone seemed relaxed and ready to go. A few players were not skating but that is not unusual for this time of year. Todd Griffith who led the Thunder with two goals in game one was not skating and from what I heard is not expected to play tonight.

- Heard from Tommy Daniels that Mike Hieka, the Dallas Morning News hockey beat writer will be at the game tonight. One of the benefits of of the Dallas Stars being eliminated from the playoffs is more attention for the Allen Americans. Let's hope for a great game tonight.

- Just checked the Martinson vs McClelland flex off  on YouTube and it has 4382 views and counting. If you haven't seen it complete with music and crying baby sound effects take a look.

- There were some issues raised about the reception the Allen fans received in Wichita along with some who thought people were cheering when Trevor Ludwig was hurt. Having heard from most of the people who went to Wichita I would say the consensus is that the vast majority of Wichita fans were welcoming, friendly and respectful. The following posted by ML2Gooner on the message board captures it best:
Just want to thank all the Wichita folks who were extremely friendly this weekend. Just about everyone asked if we had safe travels on Sat and wished us safe travels on the way back. Also kudos everyone who asked about Trevor Ludwig on Sunday. There was a bit of negative things at the game, BUT it was a small minority(idiot drunks behind me at game 3 who did more blabbing than watching the game and a girl who was cheering when Trevor was down despite everyone else around not doing so when they realized he was hurt). The game day production is top class.

- A few interesting quotes from articles written by Jeffrey Lutz in the Wichita Eagle ( the last couple of days. Here is a sample:

"Sometimes he has his off nights, and then there’s sometimes he’s kind of in it," Thunder forward Matt Robinson said of Aaron Dell. "Game 3 (a 5-2 Thunder win), you could tell he was kind of out of there, then tonight he made some big saves, especially near the end there. We peppered him with a lot of shots and a lot of chances, and he came up big there.
"You never know what you’re going to get with him. He’s either on his game or off it. But hopefully we can keep peppering him with some shots and put some goals in when we go to Allen."

"They played an unbelievable road game," Thunder forward RG Flath said. "They kind of lulled us to sleep, and actually both their goals were lucky bounces off guys. They stole one from us.

"We kind of let one slip away, we had a chance to take a big 3-1 series lead here," Thunder forward Matt Robinson said after Sunday’s Game 4. "Now it’s back to square one again. We can’t really get our heads down, it’s a big series and it’s 2-2. We know we can win in their barn, and I think we can do it."

Read more here:

“It’s a grind right now,” Wichita forward RG Flath said. “...We have to be mentally sharp, and I don’t think we were in Game 2 and 4. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and pick up the little things.”

"There has been games where we haven’t been ready to play, and that’s obviously not something we want to deal with," Allen captain Jason Deitsch said. "We have to forget about it and come back and play. We felt like we had a good effort (Saturday) night, and we battled back and had a better effort (Sunday). "It’s not something we want to be OK with. We don’t want to be OK with having those off nights in the playoffs. We knew this was going to be a long series. They’ve got a very good team, and it’s going to be a battle."

- Ran into more people today with all kinds of superstitions to make sure we win tonight. I heard everything from the order I put on my skates, the number of times I tap my stick on the way out of the dressing room to what I eat. The outfit some of the ladies wear has to be from a winning game and  the staff avoids certain restaurants to avoid a loss. I talked to one front office staff member who had even figured out where the team needs to eat the team meal to insure a victory. The bottom line is with an Allen victory will come many claims of credit for helping the team win.

 Torrie Jung of the Thunder may be superstitious about superstitions as this is what he had to say in an article by Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle, “I try not to get myself into a specific routine just because I don’t like to be superstitious in any way,’’ said the 24-year-old Jung, in his first season with the Thunder. “I don’t like superstitions and I’ve never been superstitious in any way. I don’t have any superstitions whatsoever.’

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here: