Monday, June 30, 2014

News You Can Use - An Allen Americans Update - 6/30/14

Has been a couple of weeks since there has been an update on what is going on with the Allen Americans and with all of the changes taking place with new ownership, players, and staff, thought I would share what I have been hearing both fact and rumors.

- Steve Martinson is at his home in Rockford, Illinois but is hard at work putting together the 2014-2015 team. Coaches spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone this time of year talking to agents, players, and their vast network to find the right fit for their team. If you haven't seen the post from June 13 (Recruiting 101 - Putting Together a Central Hockey League Team With Steve Martinson)  take a look as Martinson shares his approach to recruiting. You have to be impressed with the four players signed thus far by the Americans:
Kevin Young - CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman 2012-2013
Jamie Schaafsma - CHL Playoff MVP 2013-2014
Tyler Ludwig - CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman 2013-2014
Jonathan Lessard - Leading goal scorer for Allen in 2013-2014 (37 goals)
UPDATE: Darrly Bootland signed 7/2/14

- A key date is coming up on Tuesday (July 1st) as that is when each CHL team has to submit to the league office their protected list which can be no more than eight players. These are players for which the team retains their CHL rites. So if you look at the roster from last year and exclude those players that have signed with the Americans already, Martinson can put eight of them on the protected list and he must give them a qualifying offer for next season. Any player not on the protected list becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team in the CHL. The protected list is a way to protect players that have not signed yet or have signed in the ECHL or overseas for next year. Brian McMillin is a good example from last year. When Brian returned from England he could only negotiate with Allen because he was on the protected list.

- With the protected lists due tomorrow you can anticipate some player signings around the league in the next day. I would assume there are many more players signed than have been announced. While Allen has announced only four signings thus far, that is the most of any team in the league (Missouri also has announced four). Three teams (Arizona, Quad City & Wichita) have yet to announce their first signing.

- In addition to filling out the player roster the Americans are also in search of a new equipment manager as Kacee Coberly has moved back home to Oklahoma City and taken a more family friendly job outside of hockey. The team's trainer last year, Osama Kassab, has been accepted into the Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, CA and will be moving next week. Best of luck to Kacee and Osama in their new endeavors. The team is currently reviewing numerous resumes for both positions.

- An unanswered question at this point is, will there be an assistant coach this coming season and if there is, will the duties change? I have no inside information on this but assume Steve Martinson will get some kind of help with the on ice product but it may be different than how things were done in the past.

- Many have asked me about the status of all of the players from last year so here is my best guess with the emphasis on "best guess" as to what they are up to. Bruce Graham (England),  Bryan Pitton (Poland) and Anthony Maiani (Denmark) have been signed so they are in fact gone. Steven Tarasuk is rumored to be heading to Europe but nothing has been announced. Daniel Tetrault, Ross Rouleau and Phil Fox were all leaning toward not playing next season but sometimes things change as the summer wears on. Daniel Tetrault is retired but living and coaching hockey in the area. He always stays in great shape so you never know when he might reappear sometime during the season. Rouleau and Fox would be welcome additions if they decide to play another year but their return is in doubt at this point. I have heard Kale Kerbashian & Garrett Klotz have signed with an ECHL team. I saw an interview done by Bill Althaus in Missouri about former Maverick's coach Scott Hillman who is moving from Independence to Indianapolis to be the first head coach of the ECHL Indianapolis Fuel. In the article it says, "Hillman has already signed a couple of names who will be familiar with Mavericks fans– sorry, it's too early to let you know who those players happen to be." Makes you wonder if Kerbashian and/or Klotz are headed to Indy. From what I have heard Spencer Asuchak has numerous AHL teams talking to him so he will most likely get an AHL contract. Alex Lavoie, who recently returned from a vacation in Cuba, is also looking for an AHL contract but have not heard anything specific about him. With his buddy, Jonathan Lessard, signed in Allen maybe there is a possibility if Alex doesn't get an AHL deal he might start the season back in Allen and then move up to the AHL.  Thought Darryl Bootland and Trevor Ludwig would have been signed by now as this is their home, their wives are from Texas and they love playing here. Booter just attended the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA) annual meeting in Las Vegas as he is the player representative.  I am assuming they will both return.  Brian McMillin & Greger Hanson must still  be looking for opportunities elsewhere but there is a good chance they decide to return to Allen. Have heard nothing about Hendrikx, Lukin, Berube & Zion so would assume they may not be returning to Allen. Finally, the last I heard, amateur Cain Franson was leaning toward going to college in the fall. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next days, weeks and months.

- The draft schedule for next season has been received by the teams and they are making the final tweaks, working with the league office. Allen's home opener will be Friday, October 24th and the final game of the season will be Friday, April 3rd. Both of these dates are about a week later than last year because the CHL made the decision to delay the start of the season by one week. The schedule should be released in the next week or so.

- The Allen Event Center (AEC) has been outfitted with new glass and it is ready to go for the beginning of hockey season. The Americans plan to hold an open house with the new glass in place when the AEC schedule has some open dates.

- Congrats to the new ownership group as the Allen Americans will be full participants in the CHL summer meetings which takes place in Phoenix (actually Chandler, AZ) and begins on July 21st. As you will recall Allen did not participate last year. Matt Canavan (Team President), Mike Martin (Senior VP, Sales & Service), Tommy Daniels and Steve Martinson are scheduled attend. There will be networking sessions for each group, changes will be discussed and votes will be taken on various proposals. The last night there will be an awards dinner where awards will be given out for the best merchandising, game operations, community relations, broadcaster, group sales, corporate sales and ticketing to name a few. The big award is the CHL franchise of the year. Just as a reminder last year Allen received none of the sixteen awards despite being the Governor's Cup and Presidents' Cup champion. You can assume with the new ownership group in charge and Allen no longer pursuing leaving the CHL and being back to back champs, the results this year will be different.

- As mentioned in a previous post, some of the rule changes being discussed and should be voted on at the summer meetings, if not before, include returning to a two referee system for the playoffs, going from two piece to one piece sticks (players prefer one piece sticks but the additional cost to a team could be as much as $15,000), reducing the number of veterans on a team, and having the early rounds of the playoffs be best of five rather than best of seven.

- Having talked to Steve Martinson many times about how he would improve the CHL through rule changes I know he has many ideas on how to make the league better without adding cost. Keep in mind that during his career he has been a team owner, president and general manager in addition to being a coach so he knows the business from all angles.  Martinson would like to see changes in everything from veteran rules to amateur rules to injured reserve to roster size to salary cap management. It will be interesting to get his thoughts after the meeting.

- A couple of the reporters from the Minor League Hockey Report (Matt & Zach) will be attending the summer meetings in Arizona so for the first time we should get some real time information on what is happening. Looking forward to hearing their reports.

- Former Allen defenseman Scott Langdon (2010-2012) has signed with the Missouri Mavericks and Scott Howes (2012-2013) has signed to play in Denmark.

- CHL goalies are in high demand in Europe as Thomas Heemskerk (Quad City), Andrew Engelage (Arizona), Shane Madalora (Tulsa), Bryan Pitton (Allen) and Kristofer Westblom (Brampton) have all signed to play overseas next year.

DID YOU KNOW: The SPHL Augusta (Georgia) Riverhawks franchise which was dormant last year will move to Macon, Georgia and compete in the SPHL in 2015-2016. It brings hockey back to a city that was part of the CHL in the 1990's. Macon also had a stint in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL) in 2002. No matter what the league they always come up with a catchy name to go with Macon.
CHL - Macon Whoopee
ACHL - Macon Trax
SPHL - Macon Mayhem

1 comment:

  1. So Matty snagged Langdon. Shoot! Was hoping he might return to Allen.