Saturday, October 31, 2015

Allen vs Missouri Game Preview & Meet Allen's Power Skating Coach Luke Chilcott

- It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on division rival Missouri tonight at the Allen Event Center (AEC). After getting the best of Missouri and former Allen assistant coach Richard Matvichuk last season when Allen won eight of nine games against the Mavericks it will be a different story this season. If anything the rivalry has intensified with three time Allen champion, Trevor Ludwig, now the captain in Missouri.

- The Mavericks are a much improved team this year and have gotten off to a great start. They lost last night in Tulsa (4-3 in a shootout) but have the second best record in the ECHL (5-1-0-1) and lead the Central division by three points.

- The vast majority of the Mavericks team is under contract to their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). The Missouri Sound Tigers may be a more appropriate name than the Missouri Mavericks. Just kidding!

- Here is how Allen and Missouri match up based on early season results:

                                    ALLEN                              MISSOURI

Team Record:             4-2-0-0 (8 points)               5-1-0-1 (11 points)
Division Ranking:      2nd Central                         1st Central
Conference Ranking:  4th Western                        1st Western
League Ranking:        6th                                       2nd
Last Game:                 6-5 Win in OT (10/24)       4-3 Loss in SO (10/30)
Goals For:                   19                                       20
Goals Against:            15                                       11
Power Play:                12.9% (4/31)                      17.6% (6/34)
Penalty Kill:               91.3% (2/23)                      80.0% (4/23)
Team PIM/Game:      14.5                                    8.1
Leading Scorers:       Gary Steffes (3-3-6)           Tyler Barnes (2-6-8)

-  Special teams will be a key to the game and there are some big contrasts in these teams. Allen has the #1 ranked penalty kill in the ECHL at 91.3% but the Americans power play is ranked #22 at just 12.9%. Missouri's road penalty kill is just 75% and is ranked #26. The Mavericks road power play is ranked #18 at 9.1%.

- Might be an understatement to say the first goal will be important as both teams have not lost this season when scoring first. Allen is 3-0 and Missouri is 4-0.

- It will be interesting to see what type of game develops tonight. Based on penalty minutes, the Mavericks have not shown a lot of toughness in their first seven games. They have just one major penalty and are #28 in the ECHL in penalty minutes per game at 8.1. Allen led the ECHL in penalty minutes per game last season but have taken far fewer penalties this season. They are ranked #18 with an average of 14.5 minutes per game. Based on the stats you might conclude this will be a game with few penalties but with a team as skilled as Missouri you can be assured the Americans will be finishing their checks from the first puck drop. Allen will have to be a team that is tough to play against if they are to be successful against the Mavericks.

-  Who starts in goal for both teams will also be a factor in the game. Missouri's Josh Robinson has been arguably the best goalie in the ECHL thus far. Robinson was in goal last night for the Mavericks and took the loss (shootout) after winning his first four starts. Robinson has two shutouts, a GAA of 0.98 and save percentage of .960. Parker Milner will be in goal if coach Matvichuk decides to rest Robinson. Milner is 1-1 with a GAA of 2.03 and save percentage of .927. For Allen, the question is whether Riley Gill is ready to go after a week of practice since coming off reserve. Joel Rumpel has started all six games for Allen thus far with a GAA of 2.34 and save percentage of .922. Coach Martinson may want to start Rumpel tonight and give Gill a couple of more days of practice and start him in Tulsa on Tuesday. Will just have to wait and see who is in goal for Allen tonight.

- Allen is ranked #10 in goals scored per game (3.17) and has the advantage over Missouri who is ranked #14 with 2.86 goals per game. In goals allowed per game, Missouri ranks #1 in the ECHL at just 1.57 while Allen allows an average of 2.50 goals per game which ranks them #8.

- Based on who was skating at practice yesterday and the status of some injuries, Allen may be playing with just five defensemen again tonight as they did in Utah. The fact that Allen has not played a game for a week and won't play again until Tuesday should make it no problem to play with five defensemen as long as they stay out of the penalty box.

- The officials scheduled for the game are referee Andy Thackaberry (#22) and linesmen Aaron Schacht (#32) and Mitch Macpherson (#48).


- Had the chance to talk to Ian Schultz after practice yesterday and he is hopeful to be ready to play in a few weeks. He is skating everyday and needs to get his leg and himself back in shape after many months without skating. Everyone is looking forward to his return.

- After last night's action,  the ECHL is down to just one undefeated team. The Adirondack Thunder (they were in Stockton last year)  beat Wheeling 4-1 and is now 6-0. There are two teams still looking for their first win as Brampton is 0-5-1-0 and Evansville is 0-2-0-0.  

- Coach Martinson had some extra help at practice this week as power skating coach, Luke Chilcott was working with the team. Luke, as well both of his parents were figure skating champions in Great Britain and are well known coaches in the area. Luke will be working with the players during the season to improve their skating mechanics with practice drills as well as some specialized software and video that can be used one on one.
Luke Chilcott

Luke represented Great Britain in the world championships in 2011-2012 in Nice, France.

DID YOU KNOW: In the strange stat category is the fact the Allen Americans are 1-2 when out shooting their opponents this year and 3-0 when they are out shot by their opponents. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Worcester May Get ECHL Franchise & Does Absentee Ownership Work For the Allen Americans

Had no intentions of writing about team ownership this morning but when wading through social media, which is the first course of business before writing the blog each day, I came across the article posted below about bringing hockey back to Worcester. Worcester was Allen's AHL affiliate last year and the players they sent to the Americans played a big part in winning the Kelly Cup. In all of the shuffle of establishing AHL teams on the west coast for this season, the Worcester Sharks were moved to San Jose but there was no ECHL team available to move to Worcester so they currently do not have a team. That may all change for next season as a local businessman is looking into an ECHL franchise for next season.  Here is the story written by Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram (

WORCESTER — Cliff Rucker, the man who may bring the ECHL to the city next year, was never a hockey player, but understands that being a hockey fan can sometimes be a contact sport.
“I married a lifelong, passionate Bruins fan,” Rucker said during a visit to the city on Thursday, “a season-ticket holder, crazy hockey fan, and she converted me.”
The names can be left out of this addition to the story, but here goes:
“My wife’s father would sit in front of the TV with the family to watch the Bruins game,” Rucker said, “and he’d get so excited watching it his teeth would come flying out of his mouth, and her vision of him is him surfing under the television looking for his teeth.”
What was the call — a crosscheck or a high stick?
That’s passion taken to its highest degree, and Rucker does not necessarily need that sort of intensity to make the ECHL work in Worcester. However, he senses that there is enough hockey passion here to give some serious consideration of landing an ECHL expansion franchise to begin play for the 2016-17 season.
Rucker is in the process of finishing his homework — the legal term is due diligence, but this is hockey after all — and said that the process has gone further than just being being exploratory.
“The ECHL is aware of my interest and the DCU Center is aware of my interest,” Rucker said. “I flew down (to Trenton, New Jersey) a while back and met with (ECHL commissioner) Brian McKenna. I’ve requested and recently received the full paperwork and an application.
“It is an exhaustive process and it is due Dec. 1, so if there is to be a puck dropping for the 2016-17 season, I have 30 days to make my decision.”
Rucker would be the potential franchise’s sole investor. He is 53, married and a father of five with business interests in Eastern Mass. He was born in New York, went to high school in Connecticut and arrived in New England at age 18 to attend Tufts University.
“I’ve never left,” he said, “so I grew up in Massachusetts and grew up as a Bruins fan.”
Rucker has been a Bruins’ season-ticket holder and first became interested in possibly owning a team about three years ago. He and his family attended Worcester Sharks games and thoroughly enjoyed it, Rucker said.
“I have no previous experience owning a pro sports team,” he added, “but I have experience starting and running a business.”
Rucker finds the ECHL business model a good fit for him, he said, because teams can hire their own coaches and sign their own players.
“It’s not just a farm system per se,” he added. “I wanted to have some say in the product that was on the ice.”
Many ECHL teams are affiliated with National Hockey League teams, and ECHL players do make the jump to the NHL. A good example of that locally is Andrew Desjardins, who actually went from the Central Hockey League to the ECHL to Worcester, and last year was part of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup champion.
However, most players on a typical ECHL roster are under local contracts.
Rucker said his reception since he began to investigate putting a team in Worcester has been a warm one.
“I want to be clear,” he said, “that everybody I’ve talked to…the city, the DCU Center…has been supportive, gracious and cooperative. If there isn’t a team here, it’s because I made a decision not to do it.”
There is an unofficial consensus that the ideal business model for any pro hockey team in Worcester includes an affiliation with the Bruins. As Rucker looks ahead, he is not basing his decision on that being a given.
“At this point,” he said, “my primary focus is internal. I believe in my due diligence that this is a viable place for this business model. I’ve seen lot of positive hints from the town, the Chamber of Commerce, the city manager and the DCU Center.
“At the end of the day I have to make a decision based on my own internal compass. This is my money. It will be my responsibility to make this successful, so I’m not thinking, quite honestly, about affiliations. I’m thinking about a business model, a community and staffing.
“I can assure you of this — if I don’t surround myself with good people, I won’t be successful. That’s where I’m spending my time.”
Rucker plans on being an in-the-building owner if he decides to apply for a franchise and gets it. The city’s hockey fans should know within a couple of weeks if Christmas will come early for them this winter.

Reading through the story about hockey coming back to Worcester got me thinking about the Allen Americans ownership situation and what has transpired over the last two years. Have to say upfront this is a viewpoint from a fan with no first hand knowledge, so take it with a grain of salt. It is merely my opinion taken from reading press releases, watching press conferences and talking to others that do not have first hand information. While I have met Rodney and Brandon Steven and they were very friendly and cordial,  I have never had an in depth conversation with them.

- The Steven brothers (Rodney, Brandon & Johnny) are based in Wichita and are very successful businessmen who own numerous health clubs and car dealerships. They have been in the health club business for over 20 years.

- The Steven brothers saved the Allen franchise when they bought it in 2014 and maybe saved the CHL as well. They already owned Wichita and Tulsa and were not looking for a third team. You can be assured they got a heck of a deal when they bought the Allen Americans but had they not stepped in to buy the team there may not be hockey in Allen today.

- Unlike some ownership groups in AA hockey the Steven brothers did not get into hockey because of their passion for the game. When they bought the Wichita Thunder in 2011, Rodney Steven was quoted in an article as saying a primary motive for purchasing the Thunder was the brothers' fear that someone else would buy the team and move it out of state. At the time, their health club company (Genesis Health) had recently assumed operations of the city-owned Wichita Ice Center, where the Thunder play exhibition games and sometimes practice. The advantage of local ownership was emphasized and it was stated in the article that one of the three brothers would be attending every Thunder game.

-  When the Steven brothers bought the Tulsa Oilers in 2013 an article in the Tulsa World said the brothers knew the Oilers were struggling and felt they could step in and save the financially strapped team. It also stated in the article that the brothers will be in Tulsa a lot. At the press conference announcing the purchase, the importance of a good on ice product was talked about as well as the importance of some local ownership in the team.

- When the Steven brothers bought the Allen franchise in 2014 just as the Americans were winning their second championship, it was a low key affair but the news release quoted Rodney Steven, "We are excited to give this team all of the tools it needs to continue their success and grow their already great fan base." There is little doubt the Allen purchase was a distress sale and the Steven brothers interest was driven by a concern about the viability of the league.

- What does all of this mean for the Allen Americans and their fans? It is very clear the current ownership group runs the three franchises based on their success in the health club and auto dealership business. The three teams are run independently so each one has its sales goals and everyone is held accountable. Since somewhere around 70-80 percent of revenue comes from ticket sales all you have to do is look at attendance to compare what kind of budget each of the three teams may be dealing with. Here is the average attendance over the last three years.

5479 - Tulsa
5007 - Wichita
4096 - Allen

5089 - Wichita
4986 - Tulsa
4216 - Allen

5599 - Wichita
4166 - Tulsa
4157 - Allen

- Each team has just two home games this season with the average attendance at 6528 for Tulsa, 5430 for Wichita and 4649 for Allen.

- The bottom line is if all decisions are made strictly on dollars and cents it appears the Allen Americans are in a much bigger budget squeeze than the other two franchises even though they are the most successful on the ice. Each time the Steven brothers bought a hockey franchise the first thing they emphasized was the key to success is a good on ice product. You can only hope the budget doesn't impact the quality of team that coach Martinson can put on the ice.

- You certainly can't blame the owners for approaching this as a business and wanting the Allen Americans to be profitable but as a fan you also want to be assured the players, coaches, front office staff and fans are being treated well. This brings me back to the Worcester situation and what I think is very important for success in AA hockey. Having owners who have a passion for hockey, are involved in the local community, and are seen at the home games mingling with fans is certainly more desirable than absentee owners who measure success strictly by the bottom line. 

- My guess is the Steven brothers would agree with the value of local ownership as that is precisely what they said when they bought their hometown team back in 2011. I am sure for the right price they would be willing to sell the Americans to local interests but being successful businessmen they would want a good return on their investment. My fear is that the quality of the on ice product deteriorates, attendance goes down rather than up, employees decide to leave before the team is sold to local ownership at a reasonable price.

- When you only see the ownership group in Allen a few times a year, it gives the impression they are not involved with the fans or the team. I heard from several players who are no longer on the team, that after Allen won the Kelly Cup championship last season the owners, who were in attendance at the game, didn't even stop by the locker room to congratulate the team. As one player said, "As soon as the game was over they just got on their plane and headed back to Wichita."

- The current owners have every right to do whatever they feel is best for the Allen Americans and their business interests as they are the ones who have all the monetary risk associated with owning an ECHL franchise. But as a fan, I love this team and can only wish for local ownership who loves hockey, is more concerned about winning than turning a profit, attends all of the games as a fan more than an owner, knows the players by name as well as all of the wives, girlfriends and children. Yes, it is pie in the sky, but one can hope. Are you listening Mark Cuban?

DID YOU KNOW: Owning a professional sports franchise in the DFW metroplex can be very rewarding. Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks in 2000 for 280 million dollars and was said to have overpaid for the team. Today the team is worth over a billion dollars. Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1980 for 140 millions dollars and was said to have overpaid for the team. Today the Cowboys franchise is worth over 4 billion dollars. Spending a few million on the Allen Americans sounds like a steal. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five Days of Practice Continue, Young & Clarke New Team Debuts, Getting Team Buy-in

The Allen Americans are in the midst of the longest stretch of practice without a game for the entire season. Coach Martinson said when the team returned from Utah on Sunday there would be practice everyday this week and he has stuck to that plan. He has made some accommodation for the week with Monday being a fun day with the team captains choosing sides and playing a game. The rest of the week practice has been and will be shorter than normal. Having these extra practice days is a real luxury early in the season and has been invaluable with the short training camp and the recent roster changes.

- If you attend Allen practices you will most likely see a couple of extra coaches on the ice. One is Thomas Speer who is the goalie coach and has been helping for a couple of years. The other coach is Tony Curtale, long time head coach of the Texas Tornado, who has been helping out. Look for Curtale to be on the bench for many of the home games starting with the game on Saturday.

- While Allen will be well rested (seven days) when they play Missouri on Saturday, the Mavericks played on Tuesday (beat Quad City 5-2) and will play in Tulsa Friday night before traveling to Allen for the Saturday night game.

- Two former Allen players had their debut with new teams last night. Kevin Young played in his first game for the Reading Royals as they trounced the Elmira Jackals 8-3. Kevin, who is wearing #55, didn't have a point but was a +2 on the night.

- Garrett Clarke was wearing #9 and in the starting lineup last night for his first game with the Rapid City Rush as they played the Colorado Eagles in Colorado. Another former Allen American, Darryl Bootland scored just 53 seconds into the game for the Eagles and Colorado went on to a 4-0 victory. Clarke played forward and had one shot on goal, no points, no penalty minutes and was a -1 in the loss.

- In case you were wondering, the reason Allen resigned Garrett Clarke and traded him to Rapid City after he was released and cleared waivers was to do Clarke and Rush coach Joe Ferras a favor. The immigration rules would have required Clarke to return to Canada before going to Rapid City unless he was traded. The future considerations in a move like this is usually nothing more than, "I will help you out when you need a favor down the road."

- I came across the following in a longer story written by
When I was a cub reporter covering the NBA’s Toronto Raptors in 1995-96, Brendan Malone, the Raptors first head coach, gave me some great insight into team politics.
“The most important people on the team are your best four players and your four players who play the least,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“If those eight guys buy into what you’re doing, everyone in the middle buys in, too,” he said. “If not, you’re in trouble, because you’ve got a lot of guys who aren’t on-board.”
I’ve asked hockey coaches if the analogy works for this sport. Because the rosters are larger, it’s an inexact comparison. But most agree the theory is sound.
Malone’s story popped into my head last week while doing research into American Hockey League salaries. One executive asked if I’d heard about Justin Johnson.
Johnson is a 34-year-old forward, an 11-year-pro who joined the Toronto Marlies after a season with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. He’s played two NHL games, both for the Islanders in the 2013-14 season, where, by all accounts, he was a very popular teammate at their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
Sixteen different forwards have played for the Marlies in just seven games. That’s a roster nightmare, because you know those who sit are grumbling.
“There’s a logjam there, so they wanted a veteran with good habits who won’t cause a problem,” Johnson’s agent, Jeff Helperl, said last week. “Yes, he wants to play, but also do the things the Marlies are looking for. Justin’s biggest selling point is his character.”
It’s also likely the Marlies wanted someone to protect their youth in case opponents started running at them. It’s tough to say for sure, because assistant GM Kyle Dubas, who negotiated with Helperl, is in media jail.
The interesting thing is how the team and the agent designed this contract. The structure is very different, with a couple of agents and executives saying they’d never seen anything like it before. Johnson’s salary and signing bonus are normal, in American funds.
What stands out are the bonuses.
Johnson gets:
*$5,000 (these are in Canadian dollars) for every Marlie who scores 20 goals
*$5,000 for every Marlie who reaches 50 points
*$2,500 based on the success of the power play and penalty kill
*$2,500 for everyone who plays 10 games with the Marlies and 15 with the Maple Leafs
“Initially, it was more elaborate than what it ended up being,” Helperl said. “It took a month to finish.”
He wouldn’t go into it, but a couple of sources indicated other bonuses were rejected.
In the NHL, the only players who qualify for bonuses are rookies on their entry-level deals; players who have missed significant time due to injury; and over-35s. But this structure? Don’t even try.
It’s unique. Team bonuses? Absolutely. A player benefiting from the individual performance of a teammate? Definitely new. It’s going to be copied, for sure.

DID YOU KNOW: Two weeks into the 2015-16 ECHL season there are three teams that have yet to lose. Adirondack is 5-0, Fort Wayne is 4-0 and Cincinnati is 2-0.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What Everybody Ought To Know About Allen Americans President Matt Canavan

Allen Americans President - Matt Canavan

 One of the privileges of writing this blog over the last three years is getting to know the Allen Americans front office staff. Team President, Matt Canavan, has been with the team from day one when the Allen Event Center was just a construction project. Matt does not seek publicity, you might see him on the ice a few times a year presenting an award or thanking the fans for their support, but he is the conductor that makes the symphony work. It is no secret the Allen Americans struggled financially through the transition from one ownership group to another a couple of years ago. It was Matt who was responsible for holding everything together through some very trying times when he didn't have the resources needed to get the job done. There isn't anything that happens with the team that Matt doesn't get involved with. Here are my personal observations of what I have seen Matt be involved with over the last seven years. Players contracts, insurance, housing, discipline, corporate sponsorship, budget, ticket sales, fan complaints, travel, marketing, game operations, scheduling, coordinating with the AEC staff, promotions, ordering championship rings, visiting with fans, dealing with bus issues, accompanying injured fans to the hospital, owners meetings, publicity and this is just a partial list. Matt has gone out of his way to educate me on the business side of the Allen Americans and is always willing to take the time to answer questions and explain what is happening behind the scenes. He is no doubt the unsung hero of the Allen Americans and has been a major contributor to the team's success since its inception. The next time you see Matt Canavan in the concourse of the AEC thank him for all he has done to make the Allen Americans franchise a success. In order to get to know Matt a little better, here is his bio that was in the recently published ECHL 2015-16 Official Guide and Record Book.

Matt Canavan enters his seventh year as president of the Allen Americans, where he oversees the team's day-to-day operations. He has spent over 20 years working in the sports and entertainment industry. Canavan got his start in the ECHL in 1993, working with the expansion Huntington Blizzard while attending Marshall University. Following the Blizzard, Matt worked for the El Paso Buzzards in 1996-97 and they won the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) championship in the league's inaugural season. He later went on to the expansion Fort Worth Brahmas of the WPHL. He helped design and build the Blue Line Ice Complex, a three-sheet multi-purpose facility, now known as NYTEX, and home to the Texas Brahmas of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Canavan worked in corporate partnerships for the Florida Panthers in the NHL from 2001-03 highlighted by hosting the NHL All Star Game in 2003. Following the 2003 season with the Panthers, Matt moved back to Texas for an opportunity to work for the Texas Tornado of the NAHL in the Dr. Pepper Star Center in Frisco, which opened in 2003. He spent five seasons with the Tornado, a team that produced three straight National Championships (Robertson Cup) from 2004-2006. Matt was instrumental in bringing hockey to Allen in 2009 and has been with the team since its inception. Canavan has eight championships under his belt during his career - seven as an executive and one as a high school hockey coach. Matt resides in The Colony with his wife Tracey, daughter Kate (11) and son John (14).

DID YOU KNOW: For the last three years, Matt Canavan, a fitness enthusiast, has participated in the Cooper Triathlon Series at Craig Ranch and done very well. What makes it unique is Matt has had the championship trophy in tow for the entire race all three years. The first two years it was the Presidents' Cup and this past September, Matt had the 50 pound Kelly Cup in tow for the swimming, biking and running. Quite an accomplishment!

Matt Canavan finishing the triathlon with the Kelly Cup

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Practice Schedule, Martinson Talks OT Strategy, Transactions Explained, Player's Jam Session & Record Book

Had the chance to stop by the Allen Event Center (AEC) yesterday afternoon and chat with coach Steve Martinson and broadcaster Tommy Daniels on a myriad of topics. Here is some of what they had to say.

- With two road trips over that last week (Tulsa, Colorado, Utah) that included plenty of travel, there was little time for quality practices so coach Martinson scheduled practices every day this week. The team got home late Sunday night after the close to 24 hour trip from Utah, but there was practice Monday morning. It was however a "fun" practice (no coaches involved) as co-captians Chad Costello and Gary Steffes drafted players and the two teams played a game with the losers buying lunch. For the rest of the week (Tuesday thru Friday) practice will take place in the main rink each day starting at 10:00 a.m.

- Asked coach Martinson about his strategy in the first three on three overtime of the season in Utah on Saturday. Turns out his strategy was somewhat dictated by circumstances and isn't necessarily how he will approach overtimes in the future. With Aaron Gens in the penalty box at the start of overtime and a depleted defensive group to start the game (only five defensemen), Martinson opted to go with one defenseman (Federico) and two forwards (Pierro-Zabotel & Costello) in what might be called the high risk, high reward approach. As a matter of fact, coach Martinson shared what Chad Costello said to him when he told the players who would start the overtime. Costello said, "This is going to end one way or another on the first shift." Turns out Chad was a prophet when Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored the game winner on the first shift.

- For those of you who follow ECHL transactions, you may have noticed several on the list yesterday that generated a few questions. Dayn Belfour was released after signing a contract just a couple of days earlier. The reason for this is Dayn was being carried as the EBUG (Emergency Back Up Goalie) which has a limited time frame so he had to be signed to a regular contract knowing he would be released when the team returned home and Riley Gill was activated from reserve. The other move had Chad Costello being placed on reserve. He is not injured and will be activated prior to the game on Saturday. A player placed on reserve only has to sit out a game if their salary is changed. As long as their salary isn't changed they do not have to sit out a game. By putting Costello on reserve it allows Martinson to have 19 players on the active list and still stay within the salary cap.

- If you don't check the ECHL transactions on a daily basis it is a good way to keep up with what is happening with the Americans and around the league. It usually comes out late afternoon and can be found at With coach Martinson always trying to improve the team, the transfer of players to and from San Jose and other miscellaneous transactions, there is always something happening. Might see a surprise transaction this afternoon that will be a head scratcher. Will explain after the fact. Also, don't forget with the Trevor Ludwig trade, Martinson still has a veteran slot he can use anytime he identifies a veteran he wants to sign. 

- You may have noticed a picture Tommy Daniels posted last night (see below) of a jam session that took place at the AEC yesterday afternoon. Madi Davis, who is competing in the current season of The Voice, joined players Aaron Gens, Ian Schultz and Tristan King at the jam session. Don't know about all of the guys but Aaron Gens comes from a musical family and has some serious skill as a singer/songwriter. The official production company of the AEC/Americans (DJP Creative) was recording the jam session so somewhere, somehow fans will get to see a video of the event. Here is just a sample courtesy of the Allen Americans.

- Thanks to Tommy Daniels and one of his interns (Courtney) the media has been provided with up to date information on every player who has played for the Allen Americans along with single season, playoff and career records. After the information was lost last year due to a computer problem it had to be recreated by going back to every game Allen has ever played. It took a lot of effort on Courtney's part to compile all of this data. Quite the undertaking that has finally been completed. Needless to say, when you write a blog on a daily basis this information is invaluable. Not sure where to start with all this good info but see "Did You Know" below.

- Found this in a story from the Hockey News written by Ryan Kennedy about San Jose Sharks prospect Dylan Sadowy who punched an opposing player from the bench after a shootout goal.  Here is part of Ryan's story:

This is one of those incidents that requires multiple viewings. In Friday’s Ontario Hockey League tilt between the Saginaw Spirit and Mississauga Steelheads, elite 2016 draft prospect Mikey McLeod was returning to the bench after scoring a shootout goal for the home team. I was at this game in Mississauga and didn’t see McLeod do anything untoward, but for some reason, Saginaw’s Dylan Sadowy took exception. Sadowy is no goon and in fact, he’s one of the leading scorers in the league right now (San Jose selected the left winger in the 2nd round, 81st overall in 2014 NHL draft). He and McLeod both had great games, with each registering two points in what turned out to be a 4-3 Saginaw shootout win. But what was up with that punch? The refs caught Sadowy and gave him a game misconduct.

DID YOU KNOW:  Gary Steffes has only played 69 regular season games with the Allen Americans but is already third on the all time list for power play goals. With his three power play goals already this season Gary now has 21 career power play goals and has passed Colton Yellow Horn (18) and Nino Musitelli (19) to occupy third place. Ahead of him are Tyler Ludwig (29) and Bruce Graham (34). Good chance Gary tops the list by the end of this season unless he gets promoted to the AHL.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Stats, Stats, Stats - Allen's Team Leaders, The Youngest & Oldest ECHL Teams & More

With the team safely home after their 1238 mile bus trip back from Utah, the Allen Americans won't play again until Saturday when they take on the Missouri Mavericks on Halloween night at the Allen Event Center. It will be the only time all year the Americans will have a full week between games. With the new players recently added to the roster ( Jonathan Parker, J.P. LaFontaine, Chase Grant) and a shortened training camp, this week will be an opportune time for coach Martinson to work on the systems he employees as well as areas that need improvement. Would assume the players will also get some time off.

Thought today would be a good time to look at the statistical leaders after the first six games of the season. Overall, the team has bounced back nicely with three straight road wins after a rocky 1-2 start to the season. The offense is starting to come around, having scored just six goals in the first three games they had 13 goals in the last three games. Allen is tied for the overall point lead (eight points) in the ECHL with four other teams (Fort Wayne, Adirondack, Missouri & Florida).

Here are the team leaders after six games:

6 - Gary Steffes
5 - Greger Hanson
5 - Aaron Gens
5 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel
5 - Tristan King

3 - Gary Steffes
3 - Greger Hanson
2 - Aaron Gens
2 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel

4 - Tristan King
3 - Gary Steffes
3 - Aaron Gens
3 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel
3 - Chad Costello

+4 - Eric Roy
+3 - Greger Hanson
+3 - Daniel Doremus

Penalty Minutes:
14 - Greger Hanson
12 - Dyson Stevenson
11 - Mike DiPaolo

Shots On Goal:
20 - Greger Hanson
19 - Chad Costello
17 - Daniel Doremus

- Joel Rumpel has played in all six games for Allen and leads the ECHL in wins (4), minutes played (359) , and saves (165). His minutes played is 83 minutes more than any other goalie in the ECHL.

- Aaron Gens is tied for the ECHL lead in goals scored by a defensemen (2) and his five points is only one point away from the league lead.

- Greger Hanson had a goal in the last three road games and has a point in all four road games. Both of these are the longest road steaks in the ECHL thus far. Greger also leads the ECHL with seven minor penalties.

- In the odd stat of the day there have been 61 games played in the ECHL thus far and Allen has the fewest shots in one game (17) however, they won the game. On October 21st in Colorado, Allen had just 17 shots on goal but beat the Eagles 3-1.

- Allen's average attendance thus far (2 home games) is 4649 which is just above the leaguewide average of 4551 and quite a bit above the Americans average last season which was 4096. The Fort Wayne Komets lead the ECHL in average attendance at 7904 and Kalamazoo is at the bottom with an average of just 1953.


- Tanner Eberle played his second game for the Quad City Mallards yesterday and made quite an impression. He had two goals and an assist and was named the games #1 star as the Mallards beat Wichita 5-2.

- Colton Yellow Horn continues to tear up the Austrian league. He leads the league in scoring with 19 points (9 goals 10 assists) in just 13 games. His team (Orli Znojmo) is in first place in the 12 team league.

- In the month of November Allen will play just four games at home and nine games on the road.  

DID YOU KNOW: According to the hockey data base web site Elite Prospects, the oldest team in the ECHL is the Colorado Eagles with an average age of 26.67. The youngest team is the Norfolk Admirals with an average age of 22.92. The Allen Americans rank #13 in the ECHL with an average age of 24.87.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Allen Wins 6-5 on Pierro-Zabotel OT Goal, Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Player Updates

The Allen Americans beat the Utah Grizzlies 6-5 in overtime last night before a crowd of 5029 at the Maverik Center that saw their team come back from 4-1 and 5-3 deficits only to lose in overtime. For the Americans it was a great ending to a tough three game trip to Colorado and Utah. Coming back to Allen with six points has to be very satisfying for the team.

The game last night turned into an offensive affair which made for some exciting times for the Grizzlies fans. Allen hadn't allowed more than two goals in their first five games of the season. The combined total of goals in any of the first five games was never more than six so the outburst of 11 combined goals last night was unique.

Allen got on the scoreboard first at 3:05 of the opening period with a Greger Hanson (3) goal and that was a good omen as the Americans have not lost when scoring the first goal of a game (3-0). But what was an indication of how this game would play out Utah got the equalizer just 32 seconds later.

Allen then scored two power play goals by Eric Roy (1) and Gary Steffes (3) along with an even strength goal by Aaron Gens (1) to take what seemed like a commanding lead of 4-1 midway through the second period. Utah came roaring back with two goals in 37 seconds late in the period to make the score 4-3 after the second period.

Aaron Gens (2) scored his second goal of the game 57 seconds into the third period to give Allen what would normally be a safe 5-3 lead but not in this game. The Americans seemed to sit back and try to protect the lead rather than being aggressive and the Grizzlies kept on the attack. Utah out shot Allen 14-6 in the third period, rang several shots off the post and cross bar and ended up getting two goals including an empty net, extra attacker goal with just 26 seconds left in the game that tied the score 5-5.

The Americans got their first taste of three on three overtime and it took just 32 seconds to get their first overtime victory. Casey Pierro-Zabotel won the faceoff after Utah went offside, took a great pass from Chad Costello and went in alone on Utah goalie Eric Levine, who was with Allen for five games in 2013-14,  to win the game.

Here are the game highlights courtesy of the Utah Grizzlies:


- Picking up all six points on this three game road trip is a big positive for the team.

- Our scoring has certainly picked up with six goals tonight and 13 for the three games against Colorado and Utah. We have a lot of offensive ability on this team.

- We had some ill timed turnovers tonight that allowed Utah the opportunity to stay in the game and mount a comeback.

- We played only five defensemen in the two games in Utah and the guys were getting a little tired at the end.


- There are many ways to approach the three on three overtime and coach Martinson had given a lot of thought during training camp to what is the best plan of attack. Last night he chose his best faceoff guy (Casey Pierro-Zabotel), best passer (Chad Costello) and most defensive defenseman (Danny Federico). It proved to be a winning combination as Pierro-Zabotel won the key faceoff, Costello made a perfect pass to Casey to send him in on a breakaway and he scored on the first shot of the overtime.

- Eric Roy will always remember his 21st birthday which was yesterday. He scored his first professional goal in the first period when he knocked in a rebound on the power play, got to celebrate with his teammates, and then got on the bus for the 1238 mile trip back to Allen which will take around 20 hours. The team should arrive home this evening.

- The Utah Grizzlies do what many ECHL teams do and awarded all three stars of the game to their players even though they lost the game. Here are my selections for the three Allen stars of the game.
#1 Star - Has to go to Pierro-Zabotel for the his game winning goal in overtime. Casey also had a great assist on the first goal of the game on a no look pass from the corner to Greger Hanson.
#2 Star - Maybe should call it a tie for #1 Star as Aaron Gens exploded for four points on two goals and two assists. The offensive outburst vaulted Aaron into second place in the ECHL in scoring for defensemen. His five points trail only former Allen defensman Drew Daniels who has six points.
#3 Star - If it is your 21st birthday and you score your first professional goal you deserve a star of the game. #3 Star goes to Eric Roy.

- Asked the voice of the Allen Americans, Tommy Daniels, to share his thoughts about the game and this is what he had to say, "The offense came together tonight. You could see signs of it in Colorado and in Utah on Friday night. We have three lines that can get it done which makes it almost impossible for teams to defend us."

- With the win last night Allen continues in a tie with three other teams with the most points (8) in the ECHL. Here are the four teams at the top of the league standings with eight points along with their records. Allen has played more games than the other three teams.
Fort Wayne: 4-0
Missouri: 4-1
Florida: 4-1
Allen: 4-2

- There are four teams in the ECHL that have yet to win a game; Brampton, Colorado, Evansville and Kalamazoo.

- Have had numerous questions about various players over the past few days so here is my attempt to answer your questions:
Tanner Eberle - Why were his rights traded to Quad City? When Tanner signed with Allen he knew he was going to rookie camp/training camp with the Minnesota/Iowa Wild. Eberle had an agreement with coach Martinson that if he was signed to an AHL contract by the Wild his rights would be traded to Quad City. It was not a case of Martinson doing a favor for Quad City, it was coach Martinson just living up to his agreement with Tanner Eberle.
Riley Gill - What is the status of Riley Gill? Riley did not accompany the team to Colorado and Utah because of a minor sickness/health issue. He is fine now and will be ready to go for practice this week and will be available for the next game on October 31st.
Garrett Clarke & Kyle Follmer - Why were they released? Coach Martinson is always looking at what he thinks is best for the team and sometimes it calls for some tough decisions. He has to consider the role he sees for players and and the role the players see for themselves and sometimes these don't match. Martinson made the decision to release both Kyle and Garrett and they were then eligible for waiver claims. Neither was claimed on waivers and as of yesterday neither had signed elsewhere. On a personal note they have both been very kind to me and the blog and I sure hope they catch on with another team ASAP.

DID YOU KNOW: Found this information courtesy of Elite Prospects which was interesting. It is the percentage of Canadian players in various hockey leagues:
49.3% - NHL
52.8% - AHL
51.7% - ECHL
29.2% - NCAA Division 1
7.7% - USHL

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Allen Beats Utah 4-2 Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Allen Signs Forward Chase Grant

The Allen Americans disappointed the home opener crowd of 5335 at the Maverik Center last night by beating the Utah Grizzlies by a score of 4-2. The goal scorers for Allen were Gary Steffes, Jonathan Parker, Daniel Doremus, and Greger Hanson. The best way to describe the game is it was a step in the right direction as the Americans got their second straight road victory and improved their overall record to 3-2.

In the game preview yesterday there were several keys to victory where the Americans would have to show improvement to win in Utah and they delivered.
- Get off to a better start: Allen scored the first goal and never trailed in the game. It was the first road game where they scored the first goal.
- Improve on the power play: Allen was 1-18 entering the game. Officially they were 1-7 in the game last night but the Americans actually had two power play goals as they scored their second goal after a penalty expired but before the player got back in the play.
- More production from Steffes, Costello, Hanson & Pierro-Zabotel: Steffes and Hanson each had a goal and all four had assists as they figured in all four goals. Hanson was the #1 star and Steffes the #3 star of the game.
- Continued good goal tending: Joel Rumpel was a difference maker once again stopping 24 of 26 shots. Rumpel has played more minutes (298) than any other goalie in the ECHL by a wide margin, has not allowed more than two goals in all five starts, has a GAA of 1.81 and a save percentage of .934. Hard to believe he wasn't one of the three stars last night.

- While the Americans have been scoring on average about 1.50 fewer goals per game than last year the good news is they are doing a better job defensively this year. Allen has only allowed 10 goals in their first five games. Last year they allowed 21 goals in their first five games.


- We played better tonight than we did in Colorado.

- It was a big night for our defense considering we were missing David Makowski and Rick Pinkston and played with just five defensemen and 11 forwards.

- Joel Rumpel was great in goal again tonight and we gave him enough goals to win the game.

- Sometimes the guys that don't go to AHL camps take a little longer to get going, especially with our short training camp. You are now starting to see what they can do.


- David Makowski is out with an upper body injury and is not expected to play until the team returns home. He has been placed on reserve. Rick Pinkston is day to day.

- The Americans have signed rookie forward Chase Grant who hails from Oklahoma City and played his college hockey at Minnesota State University - Mankato. He was in the line up last night but was the 11th forward and used sparingly. Grant hasn't played hockey in his hometown for a decade. Two days before he turned 15, he moved away from home, to Dallas to play midget hockey. From there, he went to Fargo to play junior hockey and, after that, to Mankato to play for Minnesota State. Grant was alternate captain of his team as a junior and captain senior. Last season the team was ranked #1 in the nation at one point and went to the NCAA tournament. Chase was a college teammate of J.P. LaFontaine who Allen recently acquired in a trade with Toledo.

- All 28 ECHL teams will be in action tonight.

- With six points Allen is tied with three other teams for the league lead in points but the other three teams have one or two games in hand.

- Joel Rumpel leads the ECHL in wins (3), minutes played (298), and saves (127).

- Daniel Doremus leads all ECHL rookies with 15 shots on goal.

- Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referee Stephen Thomson (#27) and linesmen Kollin Kleinendorst (#35) and Chris Smith (#55). Thomson & Kleinendorst worked the game last night.

- Most hockey experts predicted the Missouri Mavericks to be much improved this year and the early results would prove that out. The Mavericks started the season with four road games and won three of the four games. They have had two shutouts and allowed just four goals in four games. The Mavericks have their home opener tonight against the Wichita Thunder. They will visit Allen for the first time on Halloween night.

DID YOU KNOW: It should not come as a surprise to Allen Americans fans that the team is 2-1 on the road thus far as they have always been a great road team. The camaraderie and bonding that takes place when the guys spend time together on the bus and in the hotel seems to serve them well. The total number of home victories since the 2010-2011 season is 107. The total number of road victories in the same period is 108. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Allen vs Utah Game Preview, Banner Raising Video, Stats & More

The Utah Grizzlies play in the 10,100 seat Maverik Center

One of the best things for Allen Americans fans about the second season in the ECHL is the opportunity to play a wider variety of teams. The next two nights Allen will be taking on the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies play in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City which is the second largest city in Utah (population of 130,000 last census). The team plays in the 10,100 seat Maverik Center that was opened in 1997 and served as the main venue for the hockey events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Maverik Center gets it name from Maverik, Inc. which owns convenience stores in the region and got the naming rights for the arena in 2010.


- Last season Allen had a a record of 48-14-6-4 and Utah had a record of 37-27-5-3. Allen went on to win the Kelly Cup. Utah was the fourth seed in the Pacific Division and had a great first round in the playoffs defeating the top seed (Idaho Steelheads) before losing in the division finals to the Ontario Reign.

- Utah has gotten off to a great start this season beating Colorado twice in Colorado last weekend by scores of 4-3 in overtime and 5-2. The game tonight will be the home opener for the Grizzlies and there should be a large and enthusiastic crowd on hand. The Americans have gotten off to their typical slow start and are 2-2 after a 3-1 win in Colorado on Wednesday.

- With so few games played (Allen four & Utah two) comparison stats are not too meaningful but here are a few that caught my eye. The number in parenthesis is the ECHL rank.
Average goals scored: Allen 2.25 (#18) - Utah 4.50 (#4)
Average goals allowed: Allen 2.00 (#8) - Utah 2.50 (#11)
Average shots allowed: Allen 27.75 (#12) - Utah 38.00 (#28)
Average penalty minutes: Allen 15.50 (#15) - Utah 20.00 (#7)

- Special teams will undoubtedly play a key role in the two games with Utah. Again it is a small sample but Utah has the edge on the power play at 24% (#5) compared to Allen at 5.6% (#22). Allen has had the better penalty kill at 94.1% (#6) with Utah at 71.4% (#23).

- One of the keys to success for the Americans this weekend is to get off to a better start. In the first four games Allen has scored just three goals in the first two periods while allowing six. In the third period Allen has scored six goals and allowed only two.

- Another big key for Allen this weekend is to get more production from players that are expected to be the top scorers (Costello, Steffes, Hanson, Pierro-Zabotel). Utah gave up 76 shots in their two games against Colorado and if they do that against Allen look for these players to have a big weekend.

- The Grizzlies have been led by forward Barry Almeida who has five goals in just two games and leads the entire ECHL in goals scored. Almeida was a teammate of Riley Gill in Reading in 2012-2013 when they won the Kelly Cup.

- Joel Rumpel will be in goal for Allen tonight. Riley Gill is not on the trip.

- Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referee Stephen Thomson (#27) and linesmen Kollin Kleinendorst (#35) and Andrew Collins (#58).


- Today is the last day to purchase any ECHL TV package at early bird prices. Having watched the first two Allen away games (Tulsa & Colorado)  the picture quality has been outstanding. The cost for the single team away package is $89.99. If you buy games one at a time ($7.99) you will be money ahead with the season package if you watch just 12 of the 36 away games. And if you miss a game they are archived so you can go back and watch the games you missed.

- The following video which was played prior to the banner raising on opening night has been all over social media but for those of you that are not on social media and did not attend opening night you will enjoy it.

- It is early but the Eastern Conference has familiar names at the top and bottom of the conference. Florida is in first place and is the only team in the ECHL at 3-0. At the bottom (tied with Kalamazoo) is the Brampton Beast at 0-2.

DID YOU KNOW: The franchise history of the Utah Grizzlies is a long and storied one dating back to the origins of the ECHL. The franchise started as the Virginia Lancers and was one of the founding members of the East Coast Hockey League. The franchise was under seven different names in five different southeastern cities from 1988 before suspending operations in 2003. In 2005 new owners bought the dormant franchise and moved the team to Utah. Here is the ECHL lineage of the Utah Grizzlies including the most famous hockey name ever, the Macon Whoopee.

1983-1990:   Virginia Lancers
1990-1992:    Roanoke Valley Rebels
1992-1993:    Roanoke Valley Rampage
1993-1994:    Huntsville Blast
1994-2001:    Tallahassee Tiger Sharks
2001-2002:    Macon Whoopee
2002-2003:    Lexington Men O' War
2005-Present  Utah Grizzlies

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Allen Third Period Rally Beats Colorado 3-1, Martinson's Comments, Stats & More

- The Allen Americans played the Colorado Eagles last night and for the first 45 minutes of the game it had an all to familiar ring with good goaltending from Joel Rumpel (allowed just one goal in first two periods), very little offense (no goals and just 11 shots in the first two periods), and a struggling power play (0-4). But everything changed at the 5:20 mark of the third period when Casey Pierro-Zabotel stole the puck and scored his first goal as an Allen American, a short handed goal that swung the momentum toward Allen. Tristan King scored just 2:35 later to give Allen the 2-1 lead and Danny Federico assured the win with an empty net goal at 19:20 that went the length of the ice.

- It was an important win for the Americans who had lost two of their first three games. Now sitting at .500, they headed to Salt Lake City (469 miles) overnight where they will play the Utah Grizzlies on Friday & Saturday. Friday night will be the home opener for the Grizzlies as they started the season on the road. They are 2-0 having beaten the Colorado Eagles twice last weekend.

- Touched base with coach Steve Martinson after the game who had this to say, "We got greasier in the third period. In the first two periods we didn't have enough net drive or net presence. In the third period we started to skate and drive the net and that was the difference in the game."

- Chad Costello was held scoreless again last night which was the third time in the first four games. Chad mentioned in a pregame interview with Tommy Daniels that he has been a slow starter in the past but he has to pick it up. Last season Chad only had four scoreless games on February 9th, 43 games into the season.

- Dyson Stevenson took issue with a hit Darryl Bootland put on Justin Baker that sent him sprawling into the net in the first period. Dyson held his own against the veteran pugilist with close to 250  fighting majors despite giving up a couple of inches and 15 pounds to Bootland.

- The power play woes continued for Allen in Colorado as the Americans were 0-4 to bring the season total to 1-18 (5.6%). Of the teams with at least 10 power play opportunities only Tulsa (0-11) has a lower percentage than Allen. The good news is the penalty kill has been good giving up only one goal (17 chances)  and leads the ECHL of all the teams with at least 10 penalty kill chances. The Americans penalty kill percentage is at 94.1%.

- Allen is a team known for big offensive production as they led the ECHL in average goals scored (4.06) and was fifth in average shots per game (32.83) last season. It is obviously still early in the season but thus far they are 18th in goals scored (2.25) and 20th in average shots taken (27.25).

- The attendance last night in Colorado was 4037 which is significant because the Eagles have played in front of sold out crowds for years. The regular season sellout streak ended on Saturday when the Eagles drew 4462. The capacity of the arena is 5289. According to a Colorado fan (thanks Roger) who shared the info with me the streak was about 400 games long.

DID YOU KNOW: Everyone talks about Darryl Bootland playing his old team (Allen) where he won two championships. However, there is not a single player left on the team from the 2012-2013 championship team and Greger Hanson is the only player remaining from the 2013-2014 championship team.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Allen Loses & Falls to 1-2, Martinson Post Game Comments, Is It Time For Roster Changes?

The box score shows the Allen Americans lost to the Tulsa Oilers 3-1 last night before a crowd of 5370 at the BOK Center and are now in last place (tied with Tulsa) in the Central Division. There are plenty of reasons for the optimists to say there is nothing to worry about and they have a point. It is only three games into the season, Allen has a very talented team, they are still jelling, the game on Sunday was the third game within 48 hours, they had to travel and this team always starts slow. After all, they were 3-3 after six games last year.

However, if you are the pessimist you have to be saying the team has never been below .500 in any of their championship seasons after three games, is turning the puck over way too much, ranks 23rd in the league in goals scored having only six goals in three games (one was an empty net goal) after leading the league in goals scored last year with an average of 4.06. In three games the Americans are 1-14 (7.1%) on the power play which ranks 22nd after having a power play percentage of 21.9% last year which ranked 2nd in the ECHL. A losing record of 1-2 is cause for concern.

One thing clear from past experience is coach Steve Martinson is not long on patience when he doesn't see the team performing up to expectations. All you have to do is look at the transactions from last season when the team got off to a slow start. Here is a sample just from the first couple of weeks last season.
Justin Baker - acquired in trade
Geoff Irwin - traded
Greger Hanson - acquired in trade
Spencer Asuchuk - signed SPC
Jack Combs -signed SPC
Sy Nutkevitch - released
Austin Smith - signed SPC
Devin DiDiomete - traded
John Ryder - traded
Jesse Astles - acquired in trade

- Steve Martinson is always looking for ways to improve his team and based on past experience and the results of the first three games it won't be long before he makes some moves.


- Needless to say coach Martinson was not a happy camper after the loss in Tulsa. Short and to the point here is what he had to say.
"We had turnovers on all three Tulsa goals"
"We are just not greasy enough in the way we are playing"
"We have too many guys trying to make plays that are not there"
"Our top players need to pick it up"
"Our depth isn't scoring and isn't hard to play against"


- The team arrived back in Allen late last night and unless plans changed will not practice today. They will depart tonight around 8:00 p.m. on the 842 mile trip to Colorado where they will play the Eagles and former teammate Darryl Bootland on Wednesday.

-  The San Jose Barracuda beat Bakersfield on Saturday 4-3 for their second straight win after losing their first game. Aaron Dell was in goal and is 2-0 on the season with a GAA of 2.00 and save percentage of .932. Chris Crane had two assists Saturday night.

- Based on one game it appears the picture quality on ECHL TV is improved this season. All teams are required to have HD cameras this year so that may account for the picture quality. Just four days left to get the early bird special. You can watch all of Allen's away games for just $89.99.

- I am going hunting for a couple of days so no blog post until Thursday morning. Hope it is all about a big win in Colorado.

DID YOU KNOW:  The championship winning ways of the Allen Americans churns out a lot of players with leadership ability. In addition to current captains Chad Costello and Gary Steffes, former Allen Americans that are wearing the "C" this year include Jamie Schaafsma (Fort Wayne), Trevor Ludwig (Missouri) and Jarret Lukin (Evansville). In addition to Aaron Gens in Allen, Darryl Bootland, Trevor Hendrikx, Jack Combs, and Drew Daniels are all wearing an "A" for their team.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Allen beats Tulsa 4-2 Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Jersey Auction, Pinkston Update

Joel Rumpel was great in goal but had no chance on this breakaway goal  - photo by

You might call it the Allen championship banner raising pattern because for third straight year the Americans have lost their home opener and then followed it up with a win in their second game at home. Allen beat Tulsa last night 4-2 before a crowd of 4553 at the Allen Event Center (AEC).

The Americans got off to a fast start scoring just 24 seconds into the game on a goal by Justin Courtnall who went top shelf. Tulsa was able to tie the score toward the end of the first period but goals by Gary Steffes and David Makowski put the Americans ahead for good. Tulsa closed the gap to 3-2 midway through the third period but Allen held on an sealed the victory with an empty net goal by Tristan King. The three goal scorers were the three stars of the game with Steffes #1, Makowski #2 and Courtnall #3.

With a jersey auction immediately following the game (more on that later) there was no post game press conference but I had the chance to catch up with coach Martinson briefly as he was headed out to the airport to pick up his family. Here is what he had to say.

- It was great to win tonight. I really liked the first period especially getting off to that fast start. Fourteen minutes into the first period Tulsa only had one or two shots on goal. Turnovers hurt us at the end of the first period and allowed Tulsa to tie the score.

- We took so many penalties it was hard to get anything going but the penalty kill unit did a good job as Tulsa was 0-8.

- I tried a different group that I worked in practice when we had the five on three power play opportunity and that didn't work very good and it was painful to see at the end of that power play Tulsa come out of the penalty box and score on a breakaway.

- I thought our young guys looked good. David Makowski played real good tonight.

- Joel Rumpel looked good in goal again tonight.

- We played better tonight than last night, there were fewer turnovers but still too many. Some of our older guys only had nine days of training camp because we started late and I didn't play them in the preseason game. Guys are still trying to get in sync and it will get better each game we play. We are moving in the right direction.


- With a 4:05 pm CDT start this afternoon for the rematch in Tulsa the team left this morning at 10:00 am for the shortest commute (230 miles) they have for a road game. They will return to Allen immediately following the game.

- With three games in three days combined with eight hours on the bus it takes a toll, especially on some of the older players. You might see a roster move for this game.

- Had the chance to talk briefly to defenseman Rick Pinkston and ask how he was doing after leaving the ice with an injury on Friday night. He indicated it is too early to tell when he will be back but there were no broken bones and it wasn't as serious as it looked when he left the ice.

- In the odd stat of the day, after two games Allen has scored just one power play goal in 11 opportunities and has also allowed just one goal in 11 penalty kill opportunities.

- It is early but the Wichita Thunder sit atop of the Central Division standings with four points, followed by Allen & Missouri with two points and Tulsa in fourth place with zero points.

- Besides the Allen vs Tulsa game this afternoon there are only two other games scheduled in the ECHL today. Reading is at South Carolina and Missouri plays Alaska for the third time in three days. They have split the first two games with Missouri winning last night 3-0.

- The officials scheduled for the Allen vs Tulsa game this afternoon are referee Mike Sheehan (#41), linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#46) and Erik Contino (#92). Sheehan was the referee in Allen Friday night.

Aaron Gens waving to the crowd after his jersey went for $1400
- Thanks to Dianne Webster ( for the picture above of Aaron Gens. Had asked Dianne before they game to get a picture of Aaron with the "A" since he was just selected as an alternate captain. Turned out his jersey went for $600 more than any other jersey. The charm of those Minnesota lads!

- The Allen Americans had their first jersey auction of the season last night auctioning off the NASCAR jerseys they wore during the game. Here are the results. These jerseys have to be ordered way in advance and you can tell by some of the names who the Americans had hoped would be in Allen. Crane, Areseneau, and Eberle are playing in the AHL and Schultz & Schwartz are still recovering from an injuries.
Hanson - $600
Young - $450
King - $450
Pierro-Zabotel - $650
Follmer - $500
Federico - $450
Makowski - $450
DiPaolo - $550
Schultz - $700
Clarke - $750
Doremus - $450
Pinkston - $450
Roy - $500
Baker - $500
Belfour - $500
Gens - $1400
Nikkel - $400
Rumpel - $700
Steffes - $650
Crane - $450
Costello - $600
Courtnall - $800
Schwartz - $350
Arseneau - $450
Stevenson - $700
Gill - $500
Eberle - $400

The grand total was $15,350.

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have lost all three games when they raised the championship banner in their home opener in 2013, 2014 and 2015. But did you know they won their second home game all three years and Tulsa was the opponent each time.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Allen vs Quad Recap, Allen vs Tulsa Preview, Another Allen Alum Becomes Captain, Fan Club News

The Allen Americans lost their home opener last night to the Quad City Mallards by a score of 2-1 before a crowd of 4745 at the Allen Event Center. If you believe in good omens or past is prologue you should be ecstatic about the loss because in 2013 and 2014 the Americans lost the game when the championship banner was raised to the rafters and then went on to win the championship that season. That's right, Allen has lost the home opener the last three years after a great celebration of their accomplishments from the prior season. Not sure if watching the celebration inspires the opposition or it is something that happens to the home team but the Allen Americans can't seem to win the game when they celebrate the championship.

Maybe a problem unfurling the banners was a tip off to the outcome of the game - photo by

- Unlike last year when Allen gave up nine goals in a 9-6 loss to Tulsa there were plenty of positives in the loss to Quad City last night. Defensive play was good for the most part, Joel Rumpel was good in goal and the Americans had plenty of good scoring chances. There were too many turnovers when players were trying to make plays and dumping the puck into the zone would have been a better choice. There were a lot of passes that just missed or bounced off skates and sticks but that will improve each game. Coach Martinson always says to win games the best players have to be the best players and that wasn't the case against Quad City. There will be very few games all season where the top six forwards fail to score a goal but last night was one of those nights.

- The box score for the game has oddity written all over it. Who would have guessed after one game Gary Steffes would lead the team in penalty minutes, Garrett Clarke would lead the team in goals and Joel Rumpel would be tied for the team lead in assists.


- We were a lot better defensively than in our home opener last year when we gave up nine goals so I guess that is a positive.

- I thought our power play was pretty good even though we didn't score. We had the puck in their zone a lot. We had plenty of good chances but just could not get the puck in the net.

- Hockey is a game of mistakes and on their one goal we had a turnover and had guys caught on the wrong side which led to a three on one and they scored. On their power play goal there was a pile up in front of the net and our forward comes flying in and the next thing you know they have all day to put the puck in the net. We had a couple of weak plays that allowed them to score but we had plenty of good scoring chance ourselves.

- As much as I don't like losing the first game you can take a lot of positives from tonight. I think some of our best players didn't get much done tonight and that won't happen very often.

- I kind of kick myself on our preseason game. We started training camp two days late and then I let some players not play in the preseason game so they ended up with Saturday and Sunday off. I will never do that again. If we are going to only have one preseason game next year I will play the main guys.

- I thought we had too many turnovers in the second period trying to be cute. Everyone was trying to pass to Costello whether he was open or not. Sometimes it looked like we were running football plays in the neutral zone where guys would just take off rather than supporting the puck.

- Rick Pinkston hurt his shoulder so Eric Roy will be in the line up against Tulsa. Riley Gill has the flu and will probably miss the entire weekend. Joel Rumpel will be in goal again tomorrow.


- Have to admit last night was the best mood I have ever seen from Steve Martinson after a loss. It just says he sees a lot of potential from this team. Will also say if you are a half or full season ticket holder and don't attend the post game questions and answer session you are really missing out. Last night Martinson regaled the group with several cat stories that had everyone in stitches.

- Congratulations to Aaron Gens who Steve Martinson selected as an alternate captain and was wearing the "A" last night. He joins co-captains Gary Steffes and Chad Costello as the on ice leadership team. All three guys have emphasized over and over again that there are many leaders on this team and it is not that important who wears the "C" & "A".

- Congrats also to Trevor Ludwig who has been selected as captain of the Missouri Mavericks. It is quite an honor to join a team for the first time and be recognized for your leadership skills immediately. Those three championships over the last three years earn some instant respect. Trevor joins Jamie Schaafsma (Fort Wayne) in the Allen alumni club that have become captains of their new team.

- Vikki Poynter of the Allen Americans Fan Club wrote the following and asked that it be shared. If you have a young Allen Americans fan you need to check this out.

Saturday October 17th is Fan Club Night at the Allen Americans.  New this season, is the Junior Allen Americans Fan Club that is geared for kids 15 and under.  The fan club’s first event kicked off this summer with Biscuits Reading Program.   Kids who participated in the reading program received a free ticket to an Allen Americans game along with a bookmark signed by the players.  The program will be brought to local schools this season.  Slapshot Hockey News is a free monthly newsletter written for the Junior Allen Americans Fan Club by Ian Poynter and Christian Ratcliff.   Ian and Christian assist Nolan Bowker the Americans Equipment Manager, and Jaime Garcia the Americans Athletic Trainer during the home games.  The newsletter includes an article from the boy’s perspective called Behind the Bench, a hockey term of the month, player interviews, and highlights fan club activities.  On October 28th, they are hosting a Halloween Party with the players at 5th Street Pizza in Allen.  To sign up for the free newsletter and learn about upcoming activities please email  To find out more about the Halloween party please visit     GO RED!!!

- The Allen Americans had great success against Tulsa last season with a record of 12-4-0-1 but you can throw that out the window as the Oilers have a new coach (Jason Chrisite who coached the Ontario Reign last year) and a new affiliation with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL) and Manitoba Moose  (AHL). The affiliations, which Tulsa did not have last season, have resulted in a new pool of young players becoming available to the Oilers.

- Leading scorer for Allen against the Oilers last year was Chad Costello which is no surprise as he was the leading scorer against most teams Allen played. Chad had 31 points (15 goals 16 assists) in 17 games. The leading scorer for Tulsa against Allen last year with seven goals and 11 assists, T.J. Caig, is not with the team as he is playing in Scotland this year. 

-  Tulsa lost their home opener last night to Wichita 3-2 in a heart breaker as the Thunder got the game winning goal with just over a minute left in the game and just nine seconds after Tulsa had come from behind to tie the score 2-2. 

- There were 11 games in the ECHL on opening night with Tulsa having the biggest crowd at 7685. The average for the 11 games was 4918 so Allen was just under the average at 4745.

DID YOU KNOW: Can't say it is a trend but all three CHL teams that joined the ECHL last year that played established ECHL teams last night lost. Missouri lost to Alaska, Rapid City lost to Utah and Brampton lost to Manchester (moved from Ontario). 

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Trip Down Memory Lane, Allen vs Quad City Game Preview, Schaafsma Named Fort Wayne Captain

It has finally arrived as the 2015-16 ECHL hockey season gets underway with 22 teams including the Allen Americans in action tonight. Allen kicks off the season against the Quad City Mallards. It is the seventh home opener in the history of the Allen Americans and thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory and recap the six prior home openers.

2009-10: There was a lot of anticipation for the first home game in franchise history. Because the Allen Event Center (AEC) was still under construction the Americans played their first seven games on the road. They returned to the AEC for the home opener with a record of 5-2 and the season already three weeks old. Allen lost the game to Corpus Christi 4-1. Chad Costello had one of the goals for Corpus Christi and there was a brawl after the final buzzer which resulted in 72 total penalty minutes. One of those involved in the brawl from Corpus Christi was Ryan Garbutt who just two season later was playing in the NHL for the Dallas Stars.

2010-11: The home opener was the season opener and it was against the crosstown rivals, Texas Brahmas. Allen jumped off to a 3-0 first period lead and cruised to a 5-2 win. Erik Adams had a shorthanded empty net goal to cap off the scoring.

2011-12: Allen opened the season at home taking on the Tulsa Oilers and lost the game 4-1 and the game wasn't even that close. The Americans scored with just over a minute left in the game to avoid the shutout. The star of the game for Tulsa was none other than Gary Steffes who had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Allen defenseman Scott Langdon.

2012-13: For the third straight year Allen opened the season at home and shutout the Arizona Sundogs 4-0. That was the year Scott Howes was with the Americans. Scott had two goals in the home opener which started his amazing run of 21 goals in 22 games which led to him getting promoted to the AHL. Steve Silverthorn was in goal for Allen and stopped 30 Arizona shots for the shutout.

2013-14: Allen lost their home opener to Wichita by a score of 4-3 in a shootout. It was ironic as Allen opened the season the night before in Wichita and won the game by an identical score, 4-3 in a shootout. Allen only had three goals in 12 shootout attempts over the two games and Kale Kerbashian had two of them.

2014-15: Allen opened the season at home and got trounced by Tulsa 9-6. Allen trailed 5-1 midway through the second period and tried to make a comeback, closing to with one goal at 6-5 before Tulsa pulled away again. Greger Hanson was the offensive star for the Americans with a hat trick.

- What do home openers tell you about a team? Not much as Allen is 2-4 in home openers and lost their last two home openers on the way to a championship. I guess the old saying about it is not how you start but how you finish rings true. It would be nice however, to win a game when there has been a championship banner raising ceremony. The team has a chance to do that tonight.


- Allen takes on the Quad City Mallards tonight and these two teams have matched up well over the years. The coaches (Steve Martinson & Terry Ruskowski) have a lot of similarities as they were both hard nosed players, have a ton of coaching experiences (20 years each) and have been very successful. Martinson has nine championships in 19 years and that gets talked about all the time. Terry Ruskowski's coaching resume includes trips to the CHL finals four years in a row (he won twice) when he coached the Laredo Bucks. Ruskowski's teams have made the playoffs in 13 of the last 14 years. Ruskowski was just rewarded for the coaching job he has done in Quad City with a contract extension that was announced yesterday. It is about time the Allen Americans ownership does the same for Steve Martinson after winning three straight championships. C'MON MAN!

- For the record, last season Allen played Quad City twice at home and split the two games winning 5-2 and losing 2-1. They also played three times in Quad City and the Americans won two of the three games.

- It probably doesn't make a lot of sense to look at the statistics from the five games these teams played against each other last year as the rosters are very different this year but here is the info if you are interested. These are the totals from the five games.
Goals Scored: Allen (15) - Quad City (11)
Shots on Goal: Allen (144) - Quad City (150)
Power Play: Allen (3-20) - Quad City (4-24)
Penalty Minutes: Allen (89) - Quad City(90)

- With Quad City now part of the ECHL Midwest Division the game tonight will be the Mallards only visit to Allen during the regular season. Allen visits Quad City just once for a game on January 2nd.

- One big difference in these two teams from last year to this year is Allen returns the ECHL points leader from last year (Chad Costello) whose 125 points were 40 more than second place and the ECHL's leading goal scorer (Gary Steffes) who had 44 goals in the regular season. Quad City will be looking to replace their top six scorers from last season who are not with the team this year. One of the key players Quad City was looking to for help on offense (Oliver Archambault) is currently called up the Iowa Wild (AHL).

- Allen has a lot of experienced players back and has added some new young talent with a much stronger rookie crop than last season. Add in some great young players assigned by San Jose (Doremus, Federico, Rumpel, Pinkston) and the Americans have the talent to make a run deep in the playoffs again this season.

- Look for Joel Rumpel to get the start in goal tonight.


- Very nice honor for Jamie Schaafsma as he was named the captain of the Fort Wayne Komets yesterday. Allen fans know what a great player and leader Jamie was in Allen and it is good to see that being recognized in Fort Wayne. It is very impressive when you just join a team and are named captain right away. Found this comment in a story written by Blake Sebring of the which says it all.
"When Komets coach Gary Graham decided to name Jamie Schaafsma as the team's new captain, it was an easy choice for a couple of big reasons. First, with three straight championships and six consecutive appearances in playoff finals Schaafsma has the best resume of anyone on the team. Second, he's the type of player who will be a team leader even if he isn't wearing a letter and all his teammates already respect him."

- In addition to Jamie being named the Fort Wayne captain another former Allen player, Drew Daniels, was selected as one of the alternate captains. Congrats to Drew!

- If you are going to the Americans game tonight make sure to arrive on time tonight so you don't miss any of the banner raising celebration preceding the game. Had a chance to see the video that will be shown and it is guaranteed to bring back all of those great memories from last year.

- Allen's AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, won their first game last night and are now 1-1. They beat the Stockton Heat 4-1 with Allen alum Aaron Dell in goal. It is only one game but nice for Aaron to have a 1.00 GAA and save percentage at .962.

DID YOU KNOW: The very first game in Allen Americans history was exactly six years ago today on October 16, 2009 in Arizona against the Sundogs. Allen won the game 1-0 on a goal in the first period by Christian Gaudet assisted by Bruce Graham and Nino Musitelli. Allen goalie Charlie Effinger stopped 33 shots to earn the shutout.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Final Allen Americans Roster, Gary Steffes Interview, Erik Adams No Longer With The Americans

There are a couple of changes to the Allen Americans roster that was posted yesterday. Defenseman Ayrton Nikkel has been released and forward Ian Schultz has been placed on the 21 day injured reserve. In addition, Kyle Follmer and Justin Baker have been put on reserve. Here is the roster as it stands today along with notes on reserve status, veteran status and leadership roles. The roster includes two goalies, 12 forwards and seven defensemen.

#29 - Joel Rumpel
#30 - Riley Gill

#9  -  Justin Courtnall
#12 - Garry Steffes - co-captain, veteran
#13 - Chad Costello - co-captain, veteran
#15 - Greger Hanson
#17 - Tristan King
#18 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel - veteran
#19 - Kyle Follmer - reserve
#25 - Ian Schultz - 21 day injured reserve
#26 - Dyson Stevenson
#27 - Daniel Doremus
#28 - Mike DiPaolo
#79 - Garrett Clarke

#2  -  Danny Federico
#4  -  Rick Pinkston
#5  -  Aaron Gens
#6  -  Justin Baker - reserve
#7  -  Eric Roy
#10 - David Makowski
#43 - Kevin Young

- Had a chance to talk to Gary Steffes after practice yesterday and ask him about his summer as well as training camp. My intent was to capture this on video in an effort to use more video interviews in the blog this year. It turned out to be another "you learn as you go" experience. I will call this the confession of an amateur videographer or it is hard to teach an old man new tricks. It seemed simple enough to do video interviews but my four attempts thus far have not gone smoothly but there have been modest improvements for this technology challenged blogger. Here is a recap of my four video efforts this far. It is actually funny if you are not the one involved.

First video interview - Tommy Daniels - I was smart enough to ask a friend to be the guinea pig for the first video and Tommy was kind enough to volunteer. A great interview but probably would have worked better had I pushed the "video" button rather than the "photo" button. My two minute interview ended up with one picture of Tommy and no sound.

Second interview - Aaron Gens delivering season tickets - Pushed the right button and everything was working great as we delivered season tickets to 22 different homes. Guess taking video eats up battery power. Phone is dead after three houses and we miss taking video of  a season ticket holder answering the door in all her Allen gear ringing her Allen cowbell. It was video gold missed.

Third interview - Dyson Stevenson -  Asked Dyson if he would do a video interview as he was leaving the ice after practice. He kindly obliged. Panic set in as I checked all my pockets and my folder. Probably works best to have your phone with you when you ask a player to do a video interview. Turns out I had left my phone in the front office on the second floor. Dyson was kind enough to come back out from the locker room after I retrieved my phone and the interview actually turned out great.

Fourth interview - Gary Steffes - Asked Gary if I could ask him a couple of questions after practice. I am now experienced and think I have this video interview thing down pat. Luckily Gary is always the last player off the ice after practice so there was plenty of time to get totally prepared. Had my phone in my hand, battery was at 100%, changed the setting to airplane mode so no interruptions, made sure the camera was in video mode, and had my questions ready. All I had to do was turn on the phone and hit play. Gary nailed the first question and as I start to ask the second question the camera froze and a little box appears that says "out of memory." Note to self, shooting video with your phone eats up a lot of memory especially when you save all of your videos.

So that is the story of my four attempts to shoot video interviews. Even I am chuckling at this point. Gary, who is the kindest guy you will ever meet, never missed a beat and said let's just finish up with audio and that is what we did. Here is the video I took with Gary followed by a written recap of the rest of the interview.

Q: I understand you did some training this summer with with Tristan King who was just acquired from Missouri in the Trevor Ludwig trade. Can you share that story?
A: I spent time in Minneapolis and did train with Tristan who is from that area. When I heard he was coming to Allen it was pretty crazy and exciting as he is a good buddy of mine. I spent a lot of time with him this summer as we worked together everyday training and we were expecting to play against each other this year with him in Missouri. I have tremendous respect for Tristan as he played in Ontario last year and we certainly had our battles with them in the Western Conference finals. I have known Tristan for years training with him in Minnesota during the summer but this year we really hit it off. So training together, skating together, having the connection from last year and then of course the Lord working in both of our lives has been a great experience.
Q: How has training camp gone for you this year?
A: Going to San Jose's AHL camp was outstanding. I was really blessed to get that opportunity. That is my dream to climb the levels in hockey. I want to move up to the AHL and ultimately to the NHL so I can take a knee at center ice and give thanks to the top of the mountain. It was a good experience in San Jose, one of the best AHL camps I have ever had. It was up and down at moments but I think I finished strong and played great in the preseason games and hopefully that opens up a door someday.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Allen training camp now that the roster is set for opening night on Friday?
A: Our team is right on the cusp of being an AHL team ourselves. We have such depth with a lot of guys that have had AHL experience. Our team is incredibly gifted so when guys come down after spending time in San Jose it is not like stepping down a major notch. I think the team is coming together nicely and we are extremely excited about the roster this year. We are going to miss Trevor Ludwig but getting King is a tremendous blessing to our offense. Our team is very deep, we are strong at all three positions from goalie, to defense to offense. We have some incredible young guys that have come in and our AHL guys that have been sent down are setting the standard in how they work. They aren't coming down and sulking, they are working hard to show they belong in San Jose. You have Steve Martinson at the helm and he is a guy that knows what he is doing so we are getting the kinks worked out, we are getting together on the systems and getting unified. We will be ready to go on Friday.

- It was head shot day yesterday as all of the guys had their official picture taken by photographer Dianne Webster. And there was some serious primping going on by many of the players.


- As all ECHL teams got down to their final roster yesterday there were lots of transactions on the ECHL daily transaction list. In addition to Ayrton Nikkel being released by Allen, goalie Dayn Belfour was released from his try-out contract. Other familiar names to Allen fans include Steven Tarasuk who was released by Brampton, Jonathan Lessard was placed on reserve by Norfolk and Dallas Ehrhardt was traded to Wheeling by Rapid City.

- Wanted to close today on a sad note as I found out yesterday that Erik Adams is no longer with the Allen Americans. I have known Erik for seven years as a player, front office employee and assistant coach. Erik had almost every role that exists for the Americans at one time or another. As a player he filled in as captain of the team for over a month one year and in 2011-12 after working in the front office for most of the year he came out of retirement to play 13 games. I will never forget the last goal of his career. It was against Texas on St. Patrick's Day with Allen losing 2-0. Erik came out of the penalty box and took a stretch pass from Tyler Ludwig, went in all alone, deked the goalie and scored. Allen end up winning that game 3-2.  Erik taught Hockey 101 to hundreds of residents of Heritage Ranch where I live when we first organized our fan club. He gave up many nights with his family to teach folks that had never been to a hockey game all about the rules and the game. He arranged for players to visit, hauled out goalie equipment and did whatever he could to grow hockey in Allen. Don't know all of the circumstances surrounding why Erik is no longer with the team but the new ownership of the team has high expectations of all employees and I know the assistant coach in Wichita (Jason Dudas) was recently let go because according to Dudas the team wanted him to increase his role in the front office by selling more advertising and working more hours. Minor league hockey is a tough business and for whatever reason Erik has moved on. Just want to publicly thank Erik for all he has done for me, Heritage Ranch and all of the fans of the Allen Americans over the years. Best of luck Erik, Jennifer, Brooklyn and Henrik. You will be missed!

Erik Adams & Family