Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lavoie Shines, Pitton Shines, Special Teams Shine, Allen Shines & More

Allen Wins 3-2 - photo by SceneByKimberly

The Allen Americans extended their road regular season winning streak to six games last night with a 3-2 victory over the Tulsa Oilers before a great opening night crowd of 7667 at the BOK Center. Unlike the first three games this year where Allen gave up two and three goals leads late in the game the Americans got behind 2-0 last night and then scored three straight goals (Bootland, Snowden & Lavoie) for the victory. The teams are back at it this afternoon at 4:05 pm.

- Alex Lavoie continues to show he is going to be a special player as he was in on all three Allen goals with two assists and for the second night in a row scored the game winning goal. He was also selected the #1 star of the game for the second straight night.

- Lavoie is tied for second in the CHL for goals scored (3) trailing teammate Darryl Bootland who stands alone at the top with four goals. He leads all CHL rookies in goals, assists and points. Alex also leads in the Oakley 3 Star contest with 10 points.

- Ross Rouleau is second in the league among defenseman in both assists (4) and total points (6).

- Don't mean to talk special teams everyday but it is such a key statistic and the Americans are doing an outstanding job on both the power play and the penalty kill, leading the CHL in both categories. Last night they were 3 for 6 on the power play to raise the season record to 8 for 25 which is 32%. Last year they were 3rd in the league at 20.53 %. And on the penalty kill they gave up no goals last night on Tulsa's four opportunities and are now at 92.59% (2 for 27). Last year they led the league at 85.67%.

- Bryan Pitton played great in goal and made some outstanding saves late in the game to preserve the victory. Pitton was named the games #2 star for his effort.

- Another indication of the balance on the team in addition to everyone having a point in the first four games (excluding newcomers Ehrhardt & Klotz)  is seen in the shots statistics. Allen has no players in the top fifteen in the league in shots taken. However, they have 10 players in the top 40 in the league in shots all bunched between 10-14 shots.

- It is way to early to draw any conclusions concerning parity in the league this year but you can already see some separation between the top teams and bottom teams. Arizona, Tulsa, and St. Charles all need to get things turned around. Tulsa (against Allen) and St. Charles (against Quad City) both have home games today with a chance to get in the win column for the first time this season.

- Denver is off to a fast start with a 4-0 record and could be the most improved team in the league based on early results. Remember, last year they finished 8th in the ten team league. All four of Denver's wins this year have come at home so it is yet to be seen how things go when they play on the road.

- With the success of Denver on the ice there has to be a real concern by the team and the league about the attendance figures thus far. Even with all of the other sports teams (football and hockey both college and pro) competing for dollars in the Denver market you would think the Cutthroats are not meeting expectations. Here are the attendance figures for the first four home games (two Fridays & two Saturdays).
- 2152
- 1741
- 1357
- 874
Last year Denver averaged 2981 while this year the average attendance is only 1531. With the costs of running a CHL franchise Denver cannot survive long term without a significant increase in attendance. With the team playing well let's hope they can get this turned around.

- Three teams are still undefeated (Denver, Rapid City & Missouri) but of particular note is Missouri who starts the season with five road games. Thus far they are 3-0.  The Mavericks have nine of their first eleven games on the road. If they come through that stretch playing as well as they are now watch out.

- Found this article about the "Brahmas" lawsuit written by Elizabeth Campbell of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that has some additional information.

By Elizabeth Campbell

Owners of the Texas Brahmas and the Central Hockey League are suing an amateur team that they say is horning in on their logo, an important element of branding and marketing the team.
The federal trademark infringement suit was filed last week in the Northern District of Texas. The suit also names the NYTEX Sports Center — former home of the Texas Brahmas — and the North American Hockey League.
The suit alleges that the Lone Star Brahmas, an amateur team where youth prepare for professional or college hockey, knowingly began using the team’s “marks,” including a logo depicting a stylized bull with a hockey stick over the word Brahmas. The suit also describes another logo showing a stylized bull with the T in Texas in the shape of a bull’s horns.
The Texas Brahmas are not playing this season, but the owners say there are plans to revive the team for the 2014 or 2015 season when they find a suitable place to play in Tarrant County.
“We are vigorously defending our trademarks along with the Central Hockey League in this market,” said Mike Barack, president of the Texas Brahmas franchise.
But Frank Trazzera, president of the NYTEX Sports Center, and owner of the Lone Star Brahmas, called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
Trazzera, who also is part owner of the Texas Brahmas, said the version of the bull used by his amateur team is gray and not purple. He added that it is “ridiculous to sue over a bull.”
In fact, the amateur team’s slogan is “It’s not the same old bull.”
Trazzera said the suit is an attempt by the Texas Brahmas to take money from a team that helps young hockey players advance to professional or college teams..
“It’s kind of sad. At the end of the day, you are saying take these jerseys off of the kids,”
Trazerra said that the North American Hockey League as one of the most successful amateur leagues and that his team is preparing young people ages 20 and under for professional venues.
Trazzera said he and his brother Salvatore have had a lifelong involvement in the sport.

Barack said he would not respond to any comments from the Lone Star Brahmas.
David Pels, an attorney representing the Texas Brahmas said: “The facts are pretty well spelled out in the lawsuit and that the Texas Brahmas and Central Hockey League are jointly pursuing the litigation to protect its marks.”
The suit describes how in July, the Texas Brahmas and the Central Hockey League, ordered the Trazzeras to stop using the logo and all other trademarks to promote the junior hockey team.
The suit also alleges that confidential and proprietary information remain on a server and on several laptop computers owned and controlled by NYTEX sports.
The suit accuses the Lone Star Brahmas of promoting and advertising its goods and services in Tarrant County using the stylized logo belonging to the Texas Brahmas and of using the Brahmas’ registered marks on various websites, Twitter and Facebook pages.
“Multiple demands have been made upon Defendants to cease and desist from using the Brahmas’ Marks and/or confusingly similar marks in any manner,” the lawsuit stated.
The Texas Brahmas are seeking damages from $3,000 to $300,000 for registration and use of the domain names, and The plaintiffs are also seeking attorneys’ fees.
According to the lawsuit, in 2001, the professional team gave permission to amateur hockey associations to use the logo and other materials in connection with the Junior Brahmas’ programs.
The agreement for the amateur teams to use the logo continued when the professional team moved to the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills in 2007. At that time, Frank and Salvatore Trazzera managed and had an ownership stake in the pro team.
The Texas Brahmas continued playing at NYTEX, and won the Central Hockey League championship in 2009.

Different owners — Mike Atkinson and Michael Levitz — then bought the team in 2012 and renamed it the Fort Worth Brahmas. That team played most of its games at NYTEX but also played two of four scheduled games at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Former owners Atkinson and Levitz still owe Fort Worth $5,000 for two canceled games at the convention center and owe a food and beverage vendor at the center $3,230.
“We would like to be able to collect that at some point,” said Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s public events director. He said that the city and the vendor still haven’t gotten paid.
Trazzera said Atkinson and Levitz also owe NYTEX more than $80,000 in rent and added that several employees have not gotten paid.
Several vendors that do business with NYTEX also haven’t received money they are owed, but Trazzera did not say how much Atkinson and Levitz owe those companies.
Ownership reverted to Stuart Fraser earlier this year when the team defaulted on the money it owed. The Texas Brahmas say they are not responsible for those debts.
The Texas Brahmas team has asked Fort Worth to build an arena, but the city has said there are no plans for doing that.
There is interest in building a new arena at Will Rogers Memorial Center, but Fort Worth isn’t considering building it for 4 or 5 years and even then that facility would be used for horse shows and other events and for hockey when it is available, Slaughter said.

DID YOU KNOW: Todd Robinson who played in his 900th game last night is ranked 10th all time in minor pro hockey in assists. He has 917 and with a typical Todd Robinson year will be in the top five by the end of this season. And in case you are wondering the all time record for assists as well as games played is held by Guyle Fielder who played in 1487 minor pro games between 1951-1973 and had 1491 assists. Fielder is a legend in minor pro hockey and ranks third all time for points in professional hockey behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe.

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