Friday, August 9, 2013

Ross Rouleau The Back Story & Other Musings

I  had a chance to look at the nine minute highlight video that was posted by the Allen Americans and if you haven't seen it you have to take a look. A great reminder of a great season. A look back at the 2012-2013 Allen Americans, from the season opening press conference to the final goal that netted the 4th year team their first Central Hockey League title. You can find the video on YouTube with the title, "Highlights from the Allen Americans 2012-2013 Presidents' Cup Championship Season."

Ross Rouleau Signs With Allen

You have probably seen the news release from the Americans announcing the signing of defenseman Ross Rouleau (ROO-low) who was captain of the Brahmas last year. Ross is 25 years old, 6' 0" 180 pounds, shoots left and hails from Hancock, Michigan. 
Rouleau has a very interesting back story as he didn't really think about a pro career when he was playing hockey at a small division III school (Finlandia University) which was literally a block from his house. His five years older brother (Pete) signed with the Brahmas in 2008-2009 and Ross decided to attend an open tryout in hopes of playing with his brother. If you aren't familiar with open tryouts many teams have them (Allen does not) and it gives anyone who can put up the money ($150 - $300) a chance to be selected to join the teams training camp. The player also has to pay their way to the open tryout and also pay for their expenses (food & lodging). Remember, Ross was a college kid who lived in  the upper peninsula of Michigan. The Brahmas open tryout was called "Making The Cut" and Ross was selected from the tryout to go to training camp with the Brahmas. Against some big odds he made the team at the end of camp. His excitement about being a Brahma was short lived, however, as he was waived after two games but the coaching staff was encouraging and told him what he needed to work on so he went home to Michigan and continued to train. Three months later he got a call from the Brahmas who needed defensive help because of injuries. He played the last 15 games of the regular season but more importantly made the playoff roster. The Brahmas went on to win the Presidents' Cup that year.

- Ross has played his entire pro career with the Brahmas and has been a mainstay on their defense. Other than a one game call up to the AHL all of his 250 professional games have been logged as a Brahma. 

- While Rouleau is a tough player who will defend his teammates his not a big fighter. According to one of the fighting web sites he only had four fights last year. They were all against the Americans. Ross tangled with Bootland, Pineault, Berube, and McKenzie. Combine that with the line brawl that took place against the Brahmas and you would think there might be some left over animosity with Snowden, Fox, and Rouleau now playing for the Americans. I have been told by players on both sides that there will be no carryover at all. Fighting is part of hockey and it will not be an issue.

- Anytime you can sign players that have had leadership roles with their prior teams you are getting an extra benefit. Ross Rouleau and Daniel Tetrault are two great examples of players who have been captains on other CHL teams.

Other Items:

- Many of you are anxious to get the season started and it won't be long. Some of the other international leagues are getting ready to begin. Former Allen players Dave Bonk (Japan) and Colton Yellow Horn (Hungary) have already reported to their teams. Brian McMillin leaves in two weeks for Coventry, England.

- I mentioned above that Ross Rouleau was a success story of an open tryout that the Brahmas had back in 2008. Some CHL teams use open tryouts to find players to fill up their training camp rosters. Tryout camps are also used as a revenue stream for the clubs. Taking a quick look there are at least three CHL teams planning open tryout camps soon:

 Brampton: The Free Agent Camp will be held on September 5th, 6th, and 7th at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario. The cost of the camp will be $275CDN + HST per player (paid upon registration) and this will include three separate ice sessions and a camp jersey.

St. Charles: The St. Charles Chill of the Central Hockey League is hosting a free agent tryout August 23-25, giving top amateur players an opportunity to play with the Chill for their inaugural season. ONE PLAYER IS GUARANTEED A SPOT IN THE CHILL’S 2013 INAUGURAL TRAINING CAMP! Cost is $200.

Denver: The open tryout is scheduled for August 10th, 11th, and 12th at Edge Ice Arena in Littleton.  Players participating in the tryout must be 18 years of age or older.  The deadline for signing up was midnight, August 3rd and there is a $150 fee included in the sign-up. A note on the Denver web site indicates that the all available slots at this tryout camp (60 players & 8 goalies) have been filled.

- Speaking of revenue streams the teams in England take sponsoring of players to the extreme. Being a friend of Brian McMillin who will play for the Coventry Blaze this year I was recently looking at their web site. They have a great program where fans can sponsor players jerseys and for 200 pounds ($310) the fan gets their name on the jersey of their favorite player and then gets the jersey at the mid point of the season. Fans can also sponsor other pieces of their favorite player's equipment and this is where is gets a little wierd:
Skates - $93
Stick - $77
Helmet - $46
Shorts -$31
Jock Strap - $23
Leg Pads - $15
Leg Tape - $8
Water Bottle - $8

- I only recently became aware of a practice many ECHL teams follow when they sign CHL players. They will not mention the players former team or the CHL in their press release. I noticed this when the Colorado Eagles recently signed a player (Greger Hanson) who played for Wichita last year. Instead of saying he played in the CHL for the Wichita Thunder the release says, "he posted 44 points (21g-23a-44pts) in 44 games at the professional level in North America." COME ON MAN!

- Those of you that are on social media or monitor the message boards have probably seen all of the conversation regarding the fact that the Americans have signed seven veterans while the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) only allows six veterans on the roster. The team will not bring seven veterans to training camp so if there are indeed seven veterans signed one of the veterans will have to be traded, waived, or accommodated in some other way.

- Stopped by the Allen Event Center yesterday and everyone was buzzing about the sales contest going on in the front office. Nothing like a couple of players to crank up the competition. Remember Trevor Ludwig and Darryl "Booter" Bootland are working in the front office for the summer. Divided into two groups called Team Ludwig & Team Bootland the entire front office is involved in this sales contest. The players have put together some special seven game packages and if you buy one you will get a meet and great with the player and will also be entered into a drawing where you can join the players for dinner at Brio, a round of golf or a night out at Top Golf. Whether you are interested in one of these seven game packages, a partial season ticket plan, half season or full season tickets give Trevor or Booter a call at 972-912-1000 and they will give you all the details and they will talk hockey too!! From what I heard Team Bootland had a slight lead as of yesterday.

This will be my last post for a month as Nancy and I are headed for a trip to Mongolia and Vietnam. As I did in Africa last year I will be bringing along items for the children provided by the Americans and will spread the word with my "Go Allen Americans" sign. I'll post some pictures when I return.

1 comment:

  1. Safe travels! Prayers for a trip rich in memories!