Have you ever wondered what is going on behind the scenes as teams in the CHL get ready for the first day of training camp which took place today. Here are just a few random things picked up from players, coaches & front office staff over the last couple of years.
- Transportation to camp can be long and expensive. While contracted players are reimbursed travel costs, non contracted players typically pay their own way to camp for a chance to make the team. Some drive so they have a vehicle in Allen, some fly, some leave family at home to join them later, some end up living apart for the season. It can be a long drive for a family with little ones and a long boring drive by yourself.
- Players do not get paid during training camp. Contracted players are assigned to apartments while the others may have to stay in a hotel during camp. Meals are provided for the team during camp. A special thanks to corporate sponsors such as IHop, JC's Burger House (Allen & McKinney), 5th Street Pizza and Abuelo's for providing team meals during training camp. And a special thanks to the Allen Americans Fan Club who help set up player apartments and also provide training camp meals.
- If you think about eating all three meals together, plus team meetings, plus practice it makes for long days so some players choose to leave their families at home until later in camp. At least one family who lives locally took the time during this week to visit relatives since the players are so busy.
- All players must go through a team physical and be cleared prior to skating in camp. If any problems arise, especially with injuries from prior teams or prior years the player is not allowed to skate even if they feel they are okay. Since training camp is so short any medical problems are a big concern.
And some observations from today's practice:
- It was nice the practice was held in the main rink. This was a last minute change that caused some extra work for the front office staff but it just has a nice feel to be on the big rink. I counted over 40 fans attending practice.
- Everyone on the roster was skating today with the exception of Phil Fox.
- The players from Fort Worth seem very comfortable in the transition to Allen. They appreciate the quality of the Allen franchise and how they are taken care of as players. It is always difficult to play for franchises with financial concerns and these guys certainly did that last year. Allen is fortunate to get the best players from the Brahma's roster to join the Americans this year.
- Coach Matvichuk conducted practice on the ice while Coach Martinson observed the practice from the stands with his clipboard in hand taking lots of notes.
Had a chance to catch up to Martinson at the end of practice and here is what he had to say:
- I liked a lot of what I saw today. This team definitely has more speed than we had last year.
- I know what I have from the returning players so I spent most of my time watching the new established players and the young players.
- Some of the new guys I am counting on to contribute look good. Anytime you have young, first year guys like Asuchak, Lavoie & Lessard contribute it will really help your team. Lessard scored a couple of goals and Asuchak seems to always go to the net. I liked what I saw from those three young players today.
- I should know more about getting Phil Fox on the ice this afternoon.
- The surprise thus far in camp is Peter Cintala. He is a beast at 235 pounds and did well in practice. He is interesting and we will find out more about him as camp progresses.
- I was also watching the goalies as we have two established guys and two young guys in camp.
Unrelated to training camp but something I heard for the first time is a rule change that the CHL has apparently made related to suspensions. For the 2013-2014 season if a team gets a player suspended they will lose that player plus an additional player for the duration of the suspension. With a 19 player roster teams have in the past been able to replace the suspended player.