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

1 comment:

  1. Sad to hear about Erik. I am sure there is more to the story. You are right, he will be missed. I will see you tomorrow night Barry!!!!