*Please note: While Barry is on vacation, the views below do not reflect those of Barry or the Allen Americans Organization.
It is hockey night in Allen. It is also "Show Your Blue" night as the Allen Americans, Evansville IceMen, Allen's Ice Angels, and Allen Americans Staff will dip their hands in blue paint then put them on a huge sign that will be on display to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention night. Special pregame jerseys will be worn then available for a "silent auction" during the game. Monies raised will benefit the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County. The event is sponsored by the Villages at Allen and Fairview.
Congratulations to Chad Costello for being named to the All ECHL First Team for the second consecutive season, selected by media, coaches and ECHL staff.
Allen will face off at 7:05 tonight for the next to last time in regular season play against the Evansville IceMen. We certainly have to play "our game" in order to secure the 4th seed in the playoffs. With an American win in regulation this can be achieved tonight and insure first round home ice advantage . We need to play as well, if not better, than we did on Wednesday night. We need to start off strong and keep our feet on the gas for the entire game, as the IceMen, becoming free agents, are looking for positions next year. What better Coach to impress if not Coach Martinson?
Referee for tonight's game is Korey Chipperfield. Linesmen are Rick Rivera and Aaron Schacht.
Quad City can clinch the last playoff spot of the Western Conference with any win as they only need 1 point to eliminate Tulsa.
Former American Garrett Klotz has been released by the Elmira Jackals and is eligible for waivers. It will be interesting to see if he gets picked up for the playoffs.
Corrections to yesterday's blog: Alex Schoenborn's name was misspelled and in Nolan Bowker's questions we asked how long he has been equipment manger with Allen, we reported 3 yrs, when in fact this is his first year. We apologize for these errors.
HOCKEY OPERATIONS STAFF - PART II
Meet Jaime Garcia - Athletic Trainer
Jaime is the head athletic trainer for the Americans. He is in his second year with the team, having started in September, 2014. He is originally from Houston and attended the University of Houston and Stephen F Austin University in Nacogdoches. He became a certified Athletic Trainer while at SFA. Growing up, Jaime was always interested in hockey and his father was a big hockey fan and they attended many Houston Aeros games together. Jaime was also a big Wayne Gretzky fan. Jaime wanted to pursue his career as a trainer in hockey or baseball but started as a high school trainer after graduating. In 2012 a former classmate of his from grad school told him of an opening with the Ft. Worth Brahmas whose trainer was retiring. He got in touch with the Brahmas Organization arranged an interview and was their head trainer for their final season in 2012-13.
We asked Jaime the following -
How did you get involved with Allen - With the Brahmas folding, I returned to high school work. In 2014 the American's equipment manager at the time, Rusty Aldridge referred me to Coach Martinson for the head trainer position that was vacant at that time.
What do your duties entail - most of what I treat are a garden variety of bruises, and contusions of arms and legs. I also treat cuts from blades that you don't see much in other sports. With the new helmet rule for fighting, some nicks and bruises from helmets and visors are also seen. In addition, I help out equipment manager Nolan Bowker with duties such as scheduling and road assignments. I assumed Nolan's duties when he was the Emergency Back Up Goalie this year.
What has been your greatest challenge - determining the extent of a head injury after a player receives a big hit. I have to constantly watch for plays during the game which may involve a head injury and then evaluate whether or not the player is fit to return. I have a list of questions and routines that I follow when evaluating a player for concussion, but actual determination of a concussion or its' extent can still be difficult.
What is your greatest achievement - my advancement to the ranks of trainer for a professional team so quickly (4 years). Very few of my classmates at SFA have advanced to this level.
Meet Thomas Speer - Goalie Coach
|Thomas Speer - courtesy of Dianne Webster|
Thomas is in his third year as the goalie coach. He grew up in Florida and got interested in hockey at around 6 years old when he found his father's old hockey gear in the family garage. His father played goalie on the club level years before. In spite of his father's objections, Thomas began to play roller hockey and finally convinced his parents that he was serious about pursuing the sport. For the 6th - 9th grades he was enrolled in Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault, MN. This is a boarding school with great renown for hockey (and several other sports and curriculum). Thomas played high school hockey at the AAA level. His team went to national championships losing in the final game. His career started in Juniors with the Seguin Bruins in 2005. He played there 2 years before enrolling at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He concluded his collegiate career at UMass-Boston. After a short stint in the ECHL (2011-12) Thomas began his coaching career serving as goalie coach for various hockey camps and provided individual lessons.
We asked Thomas the following -
How did you get to Allen - I came to Dallas through Dallas Stars goalie coach Mike Valley. Mike asked me to come to Texas to assist with his goalie schools and camps. While here the Allen job as goalie coach became available and I was offered the position and I quickly accepted it.
Thomas's record here speaks for itself since all the years he has been here have been championship seasons!
How do you evaluate a goalie - technical ability is very important but it has to be accompanied by knowing correct positions and movement. Mental toughness is also critical to a goalie's success. They also need to be able to scramble and win battles at the goal line. Take Riley Gill for example, he has an excellent sense of the game under game conditions. Aaron Dell was is a high IQ goalie - able to read plays in front of him as well as any goalie I have coached.
What does your job entail - I set standards for each goalie. I counsel them and allow them to express their concerns that they might not be able to express to others.
What is one of your greatest challenges - when I build a good personal relationship with a goalie then he gets released unexpectedly. It is part of the game but still difficult, especially when your student is a good friend.
What is your greatest accomplishment - I have never been part of a championship prior to coming to Allen, I am most proud of being a part of the last two championships and am grateful to Coach Martinson for the opportunity.
Meet Luke Chilcott - Skating Coach
|Luke Chilcott in action, courtesy of Dianne Webster|
Like is in his first year as the Americans skating coach. While this is a new position for the Americans, skating coaches are becoming more and more prevalent in professional hockey. Luke is from the UK, growing up in Chatham, just southeast of London. Luke played hockey until the age of 10 but then chose to pursue figure skating instead. He excelled as a skater for Great Britain. He came to the USA in 2004, practicing at the newly opened Dr. Pepper Stars Center in Frisco. An injury in 2012 kept Luke off the ice for over a year. During that time he created Chilcott Skating Mechanics and began his career as a skating instructor for hockey players. Having played hockey in his youth, Luke had a good understanding of the subtleties of how figure skating techniques can be applied to hockey.
We asked Luke the following:
How did you get to Allen - I worked some with Thomas Speer. Americans Goalie Coach, and Thomas referred me to Coach Martinson who then engaged my services for the Americans.
How does figure skating influence hockey - While hockey and figure skating have major differences starting with the skates themselves, there is still commonality in the need for agility, balance, and endurance. The specific skill set varies with each position. Defensemen need to be able to have agility while skating backwards. Forwards are more involved in forward and transitional skating.
What is your biggest challenge - while a lot of Americans' players have been involved with personal and/or team skating coaches, a few are set in their ways making my job challenging. This is especially challenging because changes to a hockey players skating technique and skill can be a long and gradual process. Luckily, most players have been involved with skating coaches before, know their value, and are very receptive to suggestions and instructions.
What is your greatest accomplishment - I have been the British National Novice Champion, Primary National Champion, Junior and Senior Silver Medalist. I hope to add being part of the Kelly Cup Championship for Allen.
Do you have a personal goal - that would be to contribute to the team and help to lead them to another championship.
Did you know: Orlando Solar Bears, running this promotional contest for the first time Thursday night, gave 1 fan 1 chance to win $100,000.00 by making a goal from the far blue line - 115 feet away. The goal was covered by a board with a tiny cutout barely larger than the puck. The contestant drilled it to win the cash. WTG!