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