Friday, October 2, 2015

Players Arrive In Allen, The Gackle Report, Barracuda Camp & ECHL TV Early Bird Specials

The 2015-16 version of the Allen Americans team converged on North Texas in a big way yesterday. Players were arriving in town by air and automobile in an effort to get settled into what are new apartments for the team from where they have stayed the last few years. More players will arrive in the next few days including some of those attending AHL training camps. The Allen training camp roster has been submitted, the locker room and equipment room are all spiffed up and ready to go for the first practice on Monday. While it seems like it has been a long time coming for hockey to return to Allen the fact is it was a short summer for everyone involved as the seventh game of the final was just over 100 days ago.

Here are the players on the training camp roster as submitted to the league office. As players who are at AHL camps get released or assigned to Allen this roster will grow. There are also some players on try out agreements that will be in camp not included on this list.
Riley Gill, G; Kevin Young, D; Garrett Clarke, D; Aaron Gens, D; Jacob Poe, D; Trevor Ludwig, D; Ayrton Nikkel, D; Eric Roy, D; Chad Costello, F; Casey Pierro-Zabotel, F; Dyson Stevenson, F; Justin Courtnall, F; Michael Colavecchia, F; Tyler Stothers, F

One of the reasons Allen won the Kelly Cup is the affiliation with San Jose which is entering its second year. With so many Allen players from last year attending training camp with the Sharks (NHL) and/or Barracuda (AHL), fan interest in tracking and supporting the two San Jose teams has increased substantially. While the web sites and social media sites of the Sharks and Barracuda are excellent sources of information another place to find a lot of great articles and information about the happenings with both San Jose teams is called the Gackle Report. Paul Gackle, who grew up in Winnipeg founded the Gackle Report and it is a place to go for insider coverage of the Sharks and Barracuda. Since training camps have started the Gackle Report has had new content everyday. Last night they covered the Barracuda's first preseason game. San Jose lost to Stockton 4-2. You can get the entire story by going to but here are some highlights having to do with players that were in Allen last year. The Barracuda coach said one of the players that caught his eye was Vincent Arseneau and he also said the line that included Greger Hanson and Chris Crane was the best line for most of the night.

Other notes from the game included both Vincent Arseneau and Mike DiPaolo having fights, Aaron Dell playing the last half of the game and Greger Hanson leading the team with five shots on goal. My understanding is some of the Allen contracted players are heading back to Allen today while others will stay for the remainder of camp. The Barracuda play their second and final preseason game Saturday night in Bakersfield.

Going back to the Gackle Report I first became aware of their work just a week ago when they posted a story about how different it is for the players on the AHL team to now be in San Jose rather than Worcester. Some interesting insight is provided in the article. Here is that article.

September 29, 2015 By Paul Gackle

Energy Is High As Barracuda Open Camp Next Door To Sharks

SAN JOSE — Before the Barracuda opened their first training camp in San Jose on Monday, head coach Roy Sommer asked his equipment manager if he’d load up the truck with his players’ gear and drive it from the Sharks facilities, where a lot of his guys had been practicing, over to the other side of Sharks Ice where his team’s brand-new locker room is located.
“He said, ‘No. I’ll just carry it over’,” Sommer said with a chuckle.
While Sommer was clearly kidding around about needing a truck to haul equipment this year, the anecdote provides a good illustration of how much easier things are going to be for the Barracuda now that the team is playing its home games in San Jose.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Sommer said. “I’m still thinking we’re heading back east [to Worcester], but I keep driving back to our house here [in San Jose], so I guess we’re staying here.”
That’s the plan, and the Sharks organization is expecting the move from Worcester to pay off in a number of ways.
At this point, Sommer is already seeing an extra jump from his players in practice.
“Everyone who’s come over [from Sharks training camp] is in a good frame of mind,” Sommer said. “That hasn’t always been the case.”
In past seasons, after a player was cut from the Sharks training camp roster, he’d have to drive all the way out to the East Coast knowing his NHL dreams were a full continent away.
But this year, the transition from NHL to AHL training camp was much smoother.
Goalie Troy Grosenick said the first day of camp on Monday felt more like the third day in past seasons.
“When you’d get sent down to Worcester, you’d get sent home and then you’d have to drive everything out to Worcester,” he said. “Now, everything is out here, so it’s a little calmer and you feel more in the swing of things right off the get go.”
The Barracuda also feel much closer to the NHL now that their facilities are located in the same building as the Sharks. If they need a reminder, they can look up into the stands during practice and see an array of scouts sitting alongside Sharks general manager Doug Wilson.
“You look up and you have 15 guys up there,” center Bryan Lerg said. “It makes guys push themselves more, which is a good thing. I think that’s how it’s going to be all year because someone’s always going to be watching you and guys are itching to get to the next level. You’ve got to be up-tempo every day.”
Center Ryan Carpenter said the proximity to the Sharks makes the NHL dreams of the Barracuda, “a little more real”.
“You’re really just 20 feet away from being over with the big guys,” he said. “It’s important because throughout a long season sometimes you can forget. It’s easy when you’re at training camp and you’re around all of the NHL guys to keep that focus and that energy and that tempo.”
With the Sharks next door, the Barracuda also see the potential for more call ups this season. In past years, calling a player up was ordeal; they’d have to fly all the way across the country to join the big club and once they arrived they were jet lagged.
Now, the Sharks can move players up and down with ease, so they could bring in different personnel based on what their needs are on any given night. For some games, the Sharks might want to use a skill and speed-based lineup; other nights they might want to bring in size and toughness.
“It’s super convenient. Last year when I got called up it was a seven-hour flight,” Lerg said. “It was like going to Europe. But here you go back to the same place no matter what, whether you’re up or down. They can call you at three o’clock on a Sharks game day and say that someone’s sick or hurt, so let’s go. That’s a big thing for us, guys are going to get opportunities.”
The proximity also means that if someone is struggling with the Sharks, they can easily be replaced with a guy who’s playing well in the AHL.
As a result, the Barracuda are expecting the competition level to be at an all-time high throughout their first season in San Jose.
“If guys are doing well here, they’re going to reward them,” Lerg said. “Pete [DeBoer] is a fair coach and that’s the message he’s sent in meetings. Go down there and perform and be the player you can be and you’ll be rewarded.”

- If you follow social media you probably noticed that you can now buy the ECHL TV packages at "early bird" pricing through October 23rd. You can watch all 36 Allen away games for just $89.99 which is only $2.50 per game. You can watch the games on PC, iPhone, iPad and Android devices and the games are archived so you can watch them at anytime.

- The ECHL has released the training camp rosters for most teams and you can find them at the ECHL web site ( While it hasn't been announced by the Americans they have traded second year defensemen Nolan Descoteaux to the Rapid City Rush.

DID YOU KNOW: When the Allen training camp roster is complete 25-28 players will be in camp. There will be players that are under contract to the Allen Americans, players under contract to San Jose who are assigned to Allen, and players that are in Allen on a tryout agreement. The maximum number of players on the opening day roster, which is due October 14th, is 21 not counting players on injured reserve.

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