Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Q & A's about the ECHL, Schedule, Allen Americans & More

Thought it would a good idea to take this morning to answer a bunch of different questions being asked on a variety of topics so here goes.

Q: What are the changes for the Americans between the original CHL schedule  and the one that was just released by the ECHL?
A: There was very little change to the home schedule. A game on February 11th against Wichita was switched to February 18th and three new dates were added because the ECHL plays 36 home games and the CHL had only 33. The three new dates are March 18th (Wichita) and April 10th and 11th (Rapid City). They new away schedule had many more changes but they were all after the first of the year. Instead of going to Brampton the end of January for three games the Americans will visit  three of the old ECHL teams on January 23rd (Indianapolis), January 24th (Toledo) and January 25th (Kalamazoo). Allen still has one trip to Brampton this year as two games against Quad City on February 6th and 7th have been dropped and the team will play in Brampton instead on February 5th and 6th. Allen makes a trip all the way across country to California after the two games in Brampton to play the Ontario Reign on February 10th and 11th. Would assume the trips to Brampton and California will be flying trips. An away game against Missouri scheduled for February 27th was changed to February 20th and a game was added at the end of the season as Allen will play their last game on April 11th in Wichita. Bottom line is the Americans will have five road games against the old ECHL teams but no home games. There is a slim chance that may change but it looks like Allen fans will have to wait until next year to see new teams. You can find the complete schedule for Allen and all of the teams at echl.com under the "Game Center" tab.

Q: How quickly will the seven new teams have to have equipment (sticks, helmets, visors, gloves, jerseys) from the ECHL exclusive sponsor of these items, Reebok/CCM.
A: The ECHL has asked the new teams to move quickly to replace all of the Easton equipment which the CHL used with CCM equipment. In the meantime you will notice the Easton logo on all equipment will be covered up by paint (on the sticks) and tape on the other equipment. It will most likely take until the end of the year to replace everything but you will see some CCM equipment start showing up soon. The players will be anxious to get the new sticks as they go from the two piece Easton sticks to the one piece CCM sticks.

Q: How come I can't sign up for ECHL.TV as I want to take advantage of the early-bird discounts but the seven new teams are not listed
A: The ECHL recently launched  ECHL.TV, powered by NeuLion, for the 2014-15 season. The new online streaming platform gives ECHL fans more access and options than ever before and games can be viewed on PC, iPhone and iPad all through a single user account. Per the ECHL headquarters office NeuLion started working with the new schedule as soon as it was released yesterday to get all of the games loaded into the ECHL platform and the new teams should be able to be purchased some time today (Tuesday).

Q: Coach Martinson has said many of the players from last year have expressed interest in returning to Allen once the move to the ECHL was announced. How likely is that to happen and what players might return.
A: No inside information on this and it gets tricky to get players back to Allen even if they want to return. The only player that has not signed a contract according to hockeydb.com and eliteprospects.com is Spencer Asuchak. He has been with the Providence Bruins (AHL). If Spencer doesn't sign with Providence he would be free to sign with any team and has said he would return to Allen if he doesn't get an AHL deal. He belongs in the AHL but what a boost it would give Allen if he returns. As for all of the other players signed in the ECHL the only way they could return is through a trade. Keep an eye on the ECHL transaction list as many good players will be cut today and tomorrow as contract players are retained. If any of the players from last year are cut Martinson could trade for their rights. Most of the players from last year's team have been having good ECHL camps (Klotz, Kerbashian, Hanson, Lavoie, Lessard) so it is hard to predict if any of them could be available in a trade. Stay tuned.

Q: What does ECHL stand for?
A:  The letters used to stand for the East Coast Hockey League but as the league expanded across the country the name was changed in 2003 to simply ECHL and the letters no longer stand for anything.

Q: What color jersey will the team be wearing for the home opener?
A: The ECHL rule is teams wear their white jerseys from October 17, 2014 to January 18, 2014 and their dark jerseys from January 22nd (after the all-star break) to April 11th. For the playoffs the teams return to home-white and road-dark  jerseys.

Q: How do the seven teams coming from the CHL compare in attendance to the other ECHL teams?
A: There are a couple of ways to look at this but the easiest is average attendance. The ECHL average last year was 4706. The seven new teams joining the ECHL had an average attendance last year of 4333 so very comparable. The other way to compare is where would the CHL teams have been in attendance if they played in the ECHL last year. There were 22 teams in the ECHL last year.
Missouri - The Mavericks averaged 5499 which would have been 5th in ECHL attendance
Wichita - The Thunder average was 5089 which would have placed them 8th in the ECHL
Tulsa - The Oilers averaged 4986 which would have placed them 10th
Rapid City - The Rush averaged 4497 which would have placed them 14th
Allen - The Americans  averaged 4216 which would have placed them 15th
Quad City - The Mallards averaged 3811 which would have placed them 18th
Brampton - The Beast averaged 2233 which would have placed them last in ECHL attendance.

Q: Will all the players in training camp play in the preseason game?
A: No, only 20 players will dress for the preseason game.

Q: When will the names of those that make the team be announced.
A: The final roster has to be submitted to the league office by 3:00 pm eastern time tomorrow (Wednesday) but don't forget that is just the starting point and you can be assured there will be changes to the final roster between tomorrow and the home opener on October 24th.

Q: Will the referees from the CHL move to the ECHL?
A: The ECHL has its own contracted referees so there will be no mass move of the CHL referees. When asked, the ECHL headquarters was not aware if additional referees will be added to the list below. They are checking and will update the list on echl.com if any are added. Here are the ECHL referees from echl.com. You will recognize a few of the names as former CHL referees.

3 - Chris Pitoscia
4 - Joe Sullivan
5 - Mike McBain
6 - Jeremy Tufts
8 - Brett Sheva
10 - Ryan Murphy
11 - Micheal Sheehan
12 - Dan Dreger
14 - Nic Leduc
16 - Ken Anderson
17 - Stephen Reneau
18 - Don Jablonski
20 - Pierre Lambert
21 - JM McNulty
22 - Andy Thackaberry
23 - Peter Tarnaris
24 - Andrew Wilk
25 - Frederic LaBlanc
26 - Peter MacDougall
27 - Steven Thomson
28 - Tyler Puddifant

DID YOU KNOW: This is the second time Steve Martinson has brought an expansion team into the ECHL. In 2003-2004 he was the coach of the San Diego Gulls when the West Coast Hockey League was absorbed by the ECHL. Martinson's team set two records that year that still stand. The Gulls had 100 points that year which is a record for an expansion team in the ECHL. Even more impressive is they had 30 home wins which is still the most home wins in a season by any ECHL team.

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