Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let's Get This Party Started: The Season Begins

I am declaring today the start of the upcoming hockey season. All around the CHL rosters are being completed, players are starting to gather, ice is being put down in arenas, informal skates are being organized, apartments are being readied, trainers and equipment managers are getting anxious to start and front offices are readying season tickets. Yes it is 35 days before the home opener for the Americans but the season has already started.

Today also is the beginning of the second year of this blog. It has been an amazing first year and how lucky to have the first year result in the magical championship that we will never forget. There were 266 posts. Over 100,000 page views from all over the hockey world is hard to believe. Twitter followers (@allenamericans1) just reached 300 as super fan Carol Henry joined the twitterverse and became the 300th follower. We have great fans in Allen and it has been a pleasure getting to know many of you.

What has surprised me the most during ths past year has been the friendships established and support received from all over the CHL. While rivalries always exist, the CHL family is a small and dedicated one. Whether it has been on social media,,, or comments directly on the blog, the willingness of folks from around the league to share information has been what has made the blog a success. I'm not going to name names but you know who you are and I greatly appreciate your candor, advice and yes, inside information.

Finally, I could not do this blog without the help and cooperation of the Allen Americans. I have been welcomed and given access by the front office, players, players families, and on ice staff. A special thanks to Tommy Daniels for all of his help.

I just returned from a vacation to Mongolia and Vietnam. I was in some very poor areas and through the generosity of the Americans I was able to distribute jerseys, tee shirts, thunder sticks, sweat shirts, and pencils to some deserving children. From a  nomadic reindeer herding family in the very north of Mongolia, to a camel herding in family in the the Gobi desert of southern Mongolia, to the children in the mountainous regions in the northern part of Vietnam these small items make a difference. Here are a few pictures:
Sons of camel herding nomads in the Gobi desert are now Allen fans
Hmong children (Northern Vietnam) score some pencils
Reindeer Herder in Northern Mongolia with new sweatshirt

Here is an update on the players from the championship team and their plans for this year:

Anthony Maiani - signed with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL)
Darryl Bootland - re-signed with the Americans
Tyler Ludwig - re-signed with the Americans
Jamie Schaafsma - unsigned but his wife recently tweeted: Texas winter? #fingerscrossed
Jason Deitsch - retired (will be head coach for the Dallas Junior Stars (NA3HL)
Adam Pineault - signed with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
Brett Skinner - unsigned
Scott Howes - signed with Olimpija Ljubljana (Austrian League)
Jarret Lukin - re-signed with the Americans
Brian McMillin - signed with the Coventry Blaze (England) (EIHL)
Trevor Ludwig - re-signed with the Americans
Kale Kerbashian - per his agent has re-signed with the Americans but no official announcement
Drew Daniels - signed with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
Chris Doyle - per his agent has re-signed with the Americans but no official announcement
Ryley Grantham - re-signed with the Americans
Mike Montgomery - unsigned
Trevor Hendrikx - re-signed with the Americans
Mike Berube - re-signed with the Americans
Todd Robinson - signed with the Tulsa Oilers (CHL)
Kip Brennan - has supposedly signed to play in Finland but no official announcement
Jim McKenzie - re-signed with the Americans
Garrett Clarke - re-signed with the Americans
Alex Penner - unsigned
Corbin Baldwin - signed with the Iowa Wild (AHL)
Steve Silverthorn - retired
Aaron Dell - has supposedly sign with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) but no official announcement
Alex Lavoie - re-signed with the Allen Americans
Bryce Aneloski - signed with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
Justin Kirsch - unsigned


- Informal skating started this past week at the AEC. Ice time is scheduled each morning in the community rink for any players that want to skate. There are five players (Snowden, Trevor Ludwig, Bootland, Clarke, & Tetrault) that have skated and the number will grow as players start showing up in the next 10 days or so. Summer jobs also keeps some of the local players from joining the group (Tyler Ludwig & Ross Rouleau).

- While ice has been put down in many of the arenas around the league with the community rink at the AEC available for skating the ice in the main arena is not scheduled to be installed until October 1st.

- There will be no preseason games for the Americans this year. I would assume there will be an intrasquad game scheduled that fans can attend. Training camp starts October 7th and if it is the same as in the past the public is welcome to attend.

- With the official announcement last week of Alex Bourret signing with the Americans there are now seven veterans (a veteran is defined as a player who has 301 or more professional games) signed. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) from last year limits the number of veterans to six. The Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA) and the team owners are currently negotiating a new CBA that will cover the upcoming season. My understanding is there have already been a couple of negotiating sessions/meetings and two more are still to take place. Last year the CBA was not ratified until the season had begun.  The owners can ratify the agreement quickly but it takes some time for the players to share information and get the vote completed. Until an agreement is reached it is unknown whether the veteran rule will be changed in the new CBA. Three of the signed veterans    (McKenzie at 305, Bourret at 312, and Hendrikx at 324) are close to the 301 so if the number were raised in the new CBA the issue would be resolved. If the number of games does not get raised in the new CBA the coaching staff will resolve this issue prior to the start of training camp. Stay tuned.

- Another issue sure to be discussed in the negotiations/meetings concerning the new CBA is the salary cap. It has been at $11,000 per week for several years and needs to be increased. The ECHL salary cap is $12,000 per week for the upcoming season. By the way the ECHL has a five year CBA in place which they just completed. Look for the CHL CBA to be for only one year.

- The Americans were well represented at the Cooper Clinic Fall Sprint Triathlon yesterday. Front office staff, players, Ice Angels, AEC staff, and corporate sponsors participated. I knew it was serious when I stopped by the AEC Friday afternoon and all everyone wanted to talk about was the triathlon on Saturday.  Trevor Ludwig shared his training regimen as well as his strategy for the race based on consulting with a friend who is an expert on triathlons. It must have worked as Trevor beat his goal by almost 15 minutes and had the best time of the Americans contingent. (1:17:32). Tyler Ludwig was second, John Snowden third and Matt Canavan was fourth. Matt, who has done triathlons in the past gave everyone a handicap by carrying the Presidents' Cup with him during all three events. The real reward for the three players that beat Matt in the race is an exemption from the fitness test during the upcoming training camp.

- Another great community event that is coming up September 28th is the "Walk to End Alzheimer's" which takes place at Celebration Park at 9:30 am. Kimberly Munson (Americans corporate sponsor and super fan) does a great job with this event each year. The Allen Americans will be participating and you can join them but even if you can't participate you can contribute to the cause by going to the "Allen Americans Walk Page" at

- Had the chance to meet and briefly talk to the new head trainer, Osama Kassab, who has worked in San Francisco, Denver, and Rapid City (he was there in 2009-2010 when they beat the Americans in the finals for the championship). He has a great reputation as a trainer and the Americans are lucky to have procured his services for the upcoming season. Osama has been selected as the CHL's best trainer on two different occasions. Once the season begins we will have a chance to get to know him and his family with an in depth interview.
Head Trainer - Osama Kassab

- The Americans are still working to establish an affiliation with an AHL team. With NHL/AHL tryout camps underway it will be a while before anything is finalized but the team continues to pursue an affiliation.

- Hope to continue the features started last year on the blog including indepth player interviews, paired preferences, where are they now, and post game press conference recap. In addition features with some behind the scenes staff/non playing staff are planned. I may have more initiatives than I have initiative but will do my best. Please let me know if there is a story you would like to hear.


  1. The new trainer goes by Sam. So looking forward to meeting him! Jason (our former trainer) says he's fantastic!!! It's hard losing Wally, but I'm glad to know we're in good hands. Welcome Sam!

    As always...great piece Barry! Welcome back from the other side of the world!

  2. Welcome back Barry - looking forward to season 2 of the blog as it is my go to source for behind the scenes info!