Sunday, October 12, 2014

Training Camp Report, Schedule Release, Former Allen Players Excel in Preseason Games

It is finally hockey season and for the first time since the championship winning game on May 10 a full contingent of Allen American's players were on the ice yesterday afternoon as training camped opened for the upcoming season. A good turnout of fans showed up to watch the first ECHL practice in what will be a short training camp as final rosters are due Wednesday afternoon. So here is the first post about the ECHL Allen Americans hockey team with no guessing, rumors, or speculation (well, maybe a little).

- It was great to see all of the "regulars" at the rink yesterday. Those fans that follow the team very closely and route for the team no matter what the circumstances. Lots of smiles from these folks seeing the guys back on the ice. The comments ran the gamut from he's fast, he looks like Bruce Graham, what a great passer, he is cute, lot's of big dudes, who are the fighters, why so many guys with no number on their helmet and why no coaches on the ice.

- Practice consisted mostly of the players doing four on four and five on five drills while coach Martinson watched from the stands. He was joined by Thomas Speer who worked with the goalies last year and Erik Adams from the front office in observing the practice. With such a short camp this is a quick way to get an assessment on all of the players. Training camp continues today but it is a closed session. It is not closed for some secretive purpose it is simply a matter of not having AEC or Allen Americans staff available for security and safety reasons as they are closed on Sundays.

- There were only three goalies at practice as Aaron Dell was driving to Allen and arrived last night. You know they are back in Texas as Aaron's wife (Kelly) who is always very humorous, tweeted the following, "Omg, how are they not done with the construction on 75 in McKinney? They were working on that when we got here two years ago!" Aaron will be at practice today (Sunday).

- The players spend a lot of time together during training camp on and off the ice. Many fans don't realize the players do not get paid during camp but meals are provided so the guys are together for virtually all meals. The meals will either be catered in the locker room or they will head to one of the teams sponsors for a meal. Last night after practice is was off to sponsor Cowboy's Chicken for dinner.

- One good thing for the players with the move to the ECHL is they will start getting paid a week earlier because the ECHL schedule starts a week before the CHL schedule. So pay for all ECHL players starts on the official opening day of the season which is Friday (October 17th).

- Speaking of the schedule it is time for the rumor/speculation part of this post. The official release of the revised schedule will not happen until noon ET tomorrow (Monday) but there have been a lot of folks talking about the schedule changes. And because some changes impact opening games they have already been announced by team officials.  Rapid City has already announced they will open the season on October 17 & 18 at home against the Colorado Eagles and Brampton will no longer open up against the Missouri Mavericks per the CHL schedule but will now open against the Toledo Walleye on October 24th and will play Toledo again on October 26th. The Beast also announced they will play the Elmira Jackals, Reading Royals, and Wheeling Nailers during the season. As for the Allen Americans they may play as many as five road games against the the "old ECHL teams. Nobody from the team would comment on this so will have to wait until the schedule is released but one of the rumors on social media is Allen will play a weekend series in Kalamazoo. Don't expect a lot of home games with the old ECHL teams this year. Stay tuned!

- Several players from last year's Allen championship team had great performances last night in ECHL preseason games. Alex Lavoie had two goals including the game winner as his Florida Everblades beat the Orlando Solar Bears 4-1.  Kale Kerbashian had the goal to tie the game 2-2 as his Evansville IceMen beat the Fort Wayne Komets 3-2 in a shootout. Daniel Tetrault scored the only goal for the Rapid City Rush as they lost to the Colorado Eagles 2-1. Jonathan Lessard along with former Allen player Jim McKenzie both had fighting majors in the first period as their Bakersfield Condors team beat the Ontario Reign 3-1. In addition to their fights Lessard had an assist and Mckenzie had a goal in the game.

The Patrick J. Kelly Cup goes to the play-off champion of the ECHL. The Kelly Cup has been awarded to teams since 1997. Prior to 1997, the playoff winner was awarded the Riley Cup, named after former American Hockey League President Jack Riley. The current cup is named after Patrick J. Kelly, the league's first commissioner. The cup is loaned to the winning team for one year and is returned at the start of the following year's playoffs. Sixteen different teams have won the ECHL Championship, with six (Hampton Roads, Toledo, South Carolina, Cincinnati, and Idaho) winning multiple times. The Hampton Roads Admirals, predecessor of the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, the Alaska Aces and the South Carolina Stingrays hold the record for most championships won with three. Current possession of the trophy belongs to the Alaska Aces, who won it in 2014 after a six game victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones in the Kelly Cup Finals.

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