Thursday, October 16, 2014

Final Roster Update, Eight Players Released, Dallas Morning News Writes About Steve Martinson

One of the difficulties of a short training camp as the Allen Americans have had this year is very little time to assess the players that are in camp. It makes the one and only preseason game critical in ascertaining if the guys you have will be competitive for the upcoming season. The results Tuesday night against Tulsa certainly had coach Martinson contemplating that very question.

For the record, after scoring two first period goals (Gary Steffes & Brian McMillin) the Allen Americans allowed the Tulsa Oilers to score four unanswered goals to win the game 4-2 before a sparse crowd at the Allen Event Center. While Allen did not play some key players (Tyler Ludwig, Chad Costello & Aaron Dell) the Oilers played without many more of their regulars in the lineup.

After an okay first period Martinson felt the team gambled too much which ended up with odd man rushes, was not very creative in the offensive zone and was not as poised as he would expect from the group.

The final roster that was submitted yesterday to the ECHL certainly reflects that Martinson feels he needs more parts to the puzzle and additional players will have to be brought in. Here are the numbers. In addition to releasing five players ( Daniel Barnes, Ryan Brain, Lucas Labelle, Myles McCauley, Dean Moore)  who were on tryout contracts, Jeremy Beaudry, Raphael Girard, and Andrew Hamburg, who were contracted players, were also released. It is a given that one additional goalie will be released so the roster currently stands at eighteen. So if no additional players are released (probably not a safe assumption)  you can expect three new players to be signed in the coming days to get the roster to twenty one by opening day. And don't be surprised if another veteran is signed as that is certainly a possibility. While only four veterans can be in the active lineup a team can carry five veterans as long as one is in reserve status.

- Yesterday was a difficult one for many players as final rosters were due to the ECHL headquarters. In this one day 38 tryout players were released and 36 contracted players were cut around the league. In addition many others had their rights traded so their future is uncertain. After working so hard to get ready for training camp to have it all end after only five days has to be a big disappointment. Some will be able to catch on with SPHL teams but it will be the end of the line for many more.

- Now that the nucleus of the final roster is in place practices between now and the season opener (October 24th) will focus on getting everyone in playing shape and working on the details of the system Allen uses.

- For those waiting for the ECHL.TV to be updated so fans from the seven new teams can buy various TV packages it is ready to go. If it doesn't get extended the earlybird pricing expires on October 19th so act fast. You can get to the site by going to

- If you did not see the article written by Dallas Morning News writer Rick Gosselin about Steve Martinson here it is. Rick Gosselin has been a big supporter of the Allen Americans and attends several games each year. He grew up playing hockey in Detroit. For a guy that is so busy covering the NFL for the Dallas Morning News, on radio and television it is nice to see him take the time to write about Steve Martinson and the Allen Americans. Only one slight correction in the article which probably prevents the ECHL from posting it on their web site is the reference to the "East Coast Hockey League" which was eliminated as the name of the league in 2003. It is now known as the ECHL.

Gosselin: The best coach in the Dallas area is someone you've never heard of:

ALLEN — Charles Haley owns five rings and there’s a drumbeat for his enshrinement in Canton.
If five rings can buy a ticket to the Hall of Fame, what can 10 rings buy a fellow?
That fellow is Steve Martinson, the head coach of the Allen Americans. He won two rings as a player and the last eight as a coach — all, albeit, at that minor league hockey level.
We’ve been blessed of late with some terrific coaches and coaching in North Texas. Stars coach Lindy Ruff is the sixth winningest coach in NHL history. Ron Washington took the Rangers to a pair of World Series and Rick Carlisle won an NBA title with the Mavericks.
But I’m not sure any of them did a better job with their teams than Martinson has done in his two seasons in Allen, winning a pair of Central Hockey League championships.
As a player, Martinson won championships in the International Hockey League and CHL. He also reached the Stanley Cup finals with Montreal and the American Hockey League finals with Hershey.
As a coach, Martinson has won titles in the West Coast Hockey League, the United Hockey League and the CHL. He has been a coach for 18 seasons now and taken his team to the playoffs in 17 of them. He has won 805 career games.
Sure, it’s the minor leagues. But that only heightens the challenge. Martinson didn’t have an Adrian Beltre year after year as Washington had. He doesn’t have a Dirk Nowitzki year after year as Carlisle has or a Jamie Benn year after year as Ruff has.
At the Double-A level, where Martinson has spent his entire coaching life, he essentially has to build his team from scratch every season. Players come and go on an annual basis. Sometimes on a nightly basis.
“With our leagues, contracts are 24 hours,” Martinson mused. “You don’t have players that play for you a real long time.”
Yet he wins.
His Americans won the final CHL title in the league’s history last season. The CHL disbanded and the Americans were added as an expansion team to the East Coast Hockey League, which offers a higher level of competition.
But Martinson has only four holdovers in training camp this week from the team that carried the CHL championship trophy around its Allen rink for the second consecutive May.
Martinson not only must coach his team in the winter. He must build it in the fall. That means finding players, recruiting them and signing them. But 40 years of cashing pro hockey paychecks have given him an idea of what a player looks like. In all, Martinson played in 15 cities, coached in five and made a lot of connections along the way.
As a teenager, Martinson skated on a team with the Hanson brothers of Slapshot fame (in real life, the Carlson brothers). As an NHL player, he skated on teams with Hall of Famers Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy and Mike Modano. He scored a goal against Grant Fuhr and fought Bob Probert.
Martinson played at various stops with Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, Carolina Hurricanes president Don Waddell and former NHL general managers Bob Gainey (Stars) and George McPhee (Capitals). His path also crossed in Detroit with current Stars GM Jim Nill.
Martinson never intended to coach. He graduated from college with a business degree and, upon retirement as a player in 1995, went to work as a financial consultant in San Diego.
Martinson coached a roller hockey team in his spare time, but when San Diego brought minor league hockey back in 1996, Martinson was recruited to coach the Gulls. He won the WCHL championship each of his first two seasons.
His Gulls would go on to win five titles. Martinson moved on to Rockford, Ill., in 2004 and won another championship in the UHL. Then he coached four years in the ECHL at Elmira and Chicago before moving on to Allen, where he won his last two titles.
Unlike Charles Haley, though, his rings have gone unnoticed.
“I’ve been coaching long enough that if someone wants to call and talk to me, I’m here,” Martinson said. “For 18 years I’ve been one of the best out there. I’ve beaten guys in the minors that are now coaching in the NHL."
“So do I think I’d do well at the next level? Yes, I do. But I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. I made it to the NHL as a player. A very small percentage of people get to do that. I’m not sitting here wondering if someone’s going to call me next week.”
And the Allen Americans are lucky for that.

DID YOU KNOW:  Steve Martinson met his wife, Michelle, while playing for the Hershey Bears (AHL) from 1985-1987. Steve and Michelle have two children, Logan and Lily. Michelle's grandfather (Frank Mathers) was the President and General Manager of the Hershey Bears. Frank Mathers is a legend in AHL hockey history and Steve learned a lot about hockey and life from him. . For those of you not aware of Frank Mathers, he is often referred to as the Scotty Bowman of the American Hockey League.



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