Thursday, January 7, 2016

Practice Report, Allen Signs Tough Guy Reid Halabi, Evansville Likely Moving & Another C'MON MAN

Stopped by practice yesterday to see how the week was progressing and check in with coach Steve Martinson. The best news was seeing Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Joel Rumpel practicing. Casey participated wearing the special non-contact jersey but it is great to see him back on the ice. Joel Rumpel was also participating in practice in full goalie gear and taking shots. According to coach Martinson it will still be a while before Pierro-Zabotel is ready to return to the line up but Rumpel may be ready for backup goalie duty as early as this weekend. Vincent Arseneau is still at least a month away from returning after his hand injury. Tristan King is also still out and feeling better but still has a ways to go before he returns.

- Practice itself consisted of two parts. The first half of practice was devoted to drills with skating coach Luke Chilcott. Then the ice was resurfaced and the team had a regular practice.

Skating coach Luke Chilcott showing proper technique - photo by Dianne Webster

Skating practice for professionals, always improving - photo by Dianne Webster

- There was a new addition to the team yesterday as the Americans have signed forward Reid Halabi. The formal transaction shows a trade with Fort Wayne. The Komets had released Halabi on December 31 only to re-sign him on Wednesday and deal him to Allen. The immigration process for a player that is traded is much easier than when a team signs a player that has been released so that is why he was re-signed and then traded. The Americans did the same thing when Garrett Clarke went to Rapid City. Basically a professional courtesy to save time and money.

New Allen forward Reid Halabi

- Reid is in his rookie professional season and despite being 5' 10" and 192 pounds he makes his living as a tough guy. He was the most penalized player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season with 181 penalty minutes and 28 fighting majors. The QMJHL is a league with plenty of tough guys and Reid held his own despite his stature. In his last two years in the QMJHL Reid had 52 fights and not once was he bigger than the player he fought. Most times he was fighting guys four to six inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier. He has had a fight in close to 50% of the games he has played. Given the Allen schedule over the next month with numerous games against tough teams like Colorado, Wichita, and Tulsa, Reid will see a lot of action right away. He won't win all of his fights, but one thing is sure is that he won't back down from anyone.

- You can find a ton of Reid Halabi fight videos on YouTube. Here are a couple of samples. This first one is against former Allen Americans Mike DiPaolo who is six inches taller and 23 pounds heavier that Reid. Most rated this fight a draw or narrow Halabi win.

- This next fight is against Bokondji Imana who is three inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than Reid. They have fought many times but this was a toe to toe slug fest won by Halabi.

- Here is the information about Reid courtesy of hockeydb:

Reid Halabi

Forward -- shoots Right
Born Jun 27 1995 -- Edmonton, ALTA
[20 yrs. ago]
Height 5.10 -- Weight 192
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2012-13 Lloydminster Bobcats AJHL 2 0 0 0 2 ----------
2013-14 Moncton Wildcats QMJHL 44 2 4 6 149 -11 ----------
2014-15 Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL 57 3 5 8 181 -7 1 0 0 0 0
2015-16 Fort Wayne Komets ECHL 6 0 0 0 9 -2


- The news wasn't good in Evansville last night as the city and hockey team are at an impasse over a new lease (for next season) for the IceMen and the final deadline has passed. Evansville owner Ron Geary was interviewed on local television and said if the city doesn't change their position and make the lease more favorable by several hundred thousand dollars, he will be forced to leave. The city has said their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers make that concession impossible. The two sides are so far apart it looks like this will not get solved. Team Sin Bin is all over this story with Mike Finazzo talking to the Evansville mayor and Icemen attorneys frequently.  If you are interested in keeping up with this story you can get the latest information at Kudos to fellow Team Sin Bin writer Mike Finazzo for his great work and tenacity covering this story. Job well done Mike!

- Will have a full game preview tomorrow but the two upcoming games with Colorado (Friday & Sunday) will be important, given the fact the last time the Eagles were in Allen they handed the Americans their worst defeat in team history. It was an embarrassing 8-1 defeat. The teams have split four games this season but in the two Eagles wins they outscored Allen 12-2.

- The Kelly Cup was shipped back to the ECHL office a few weeks ago to get the Allen names engraved on the trophy. It has arrived back in Allen and a couple of pictures have been posted to social media. You will notice Joel Rumpel's name is misspelled (Rumple instead of Rumpel) and their is an "X" missing from Nolan Descoteaux's name. C'MON MAN!

DID YOU KNOW:  Every player who has won the ECHL companionship since the league was established in 1989 whether the Kelly Cup or Riley Cup has his name engraved on the Kelly Cup. The Kelly Cup has been awarded to teams since 1997. Prior to 1997 the winner was awarded the Riley Cup.  


  1. I think Evansville will be OKC next year.
    As for fighting, I don't like it, it gives the other team a power play besides the obvious possibility of injury. I hope the new guy can stay out of fights even though it looks like that is why he was brought in.

    1. Fights typically end up both players gone for 5. The only way it would end up in a power play is if there was something that happened that caused a penalty and then the fight broke out.

  2. Kevin, I always appreciate you taking time to leave comments. Wish more readers would do that. It will be interesting to see what happens in Evansville if there is no meeting of the minds. ECHL commissioner McKenna has said as recently as yesterday there has been no application submitted concerning an OKC team. Worcester has submitted an application which will be considered at an early February ECHL Board of Governors (BOG) meeting. If Evansville doesn't have a lease agreed to, their fate will also be decided at that BOG meeting from what I understand. As for Halabi, his role is to be the tough guy. With Arseneau out with an injury and Stevenson being told not to fight, having someone like Halabi is critical to help keep order.

  3. I'm with Kevin on fighting in hockey. When Allen was in the CHL, the caliber of play, league-wide, was different than in the ECHL. It made up for speed, skill, and youth with rough stuff that brought the fans to their feet. In the ECHL, there's more than enough excitement on the ice without fighting, and I'd rather our guys avoid the risk of injuries. Unfortunately, as long as officiating is inconsistent and there are still tough teams that use attrition to make up for skill, there's a need for the tough guy.

  4. Mike, thanks for your comments. I am not a big fan of fighting either but after talking to many players about this subject over the years have come to realize it is essential to the game from an order and safety standpoint.If you get a chance check the blog archives for a post dated September 13, 2013, "Shocker: CHL Fight Stats and More" and read the last part of that blog which is an interview with former Allen enforcer Kip Brennan. When I first read that entire interview with Kip it gave me a different perspective about fighting. The interview is old now but some of the points Kip makes, especially at the end of the interview, are still relevant today.

  5. Barry, I have heard all sorts of comments by players that say fighting keeps things safe. I don't play so I have to assume they are correct. I just don't like it, I worry about CTE for Stevenson who seems to get in a lot of fights.
    So are the fights because the refs don't calls stuff that a player has to says 'enough' and starts a fight? If so, I would like stricter calling by the refs. But, again I don't play the game and I have heard that fights are necessary for all level of Pros (SHPL - NHL), but I really don't like them.