Monday, July 4, 2016

Chad Costello Returns, Who is Next and The Knight Furniture Giveaway Story

The Allen Americans finally broke the ice on player signings with the announcement on Saturday that co-captain, ECHL regular season and playoff MVP and scoring champion, Chad Costello will be returning to Allen for his third season. What a great foundation from which to build the 2016-17 roster. It is always unpredictable when signing announcements are made public but you have to believe there are many more player signed at this point. The way the qualifying rules work, in order to retain the rights to players they had to be given qualifying offers last week (June 30). You can assume non vets that didn't get qualifying offers are signed at this point. That group would include Aaron Gens, Dyson Stevenson, JP LaFontaine and Kyle Neuber. Veterans have special rules when it comes to qualifying offers so it is more difficult to figure out what is happening with them. Riley Gill recently purchased a house in the area so you have to assume he has been re-signed. There is little question a stockpile of players that have agreed to terms with the Americans for next season. When the contracts get all of the appropriate signatures, get sent to the ECHL for approval and get publicly announced is a whole different story.

- For the players that were on NHL/AHL contracts last season and never signed contracts with Allen the wait will probably take a little longer to see if they will return to Allen. This group includes Arseneau, Asuchak, Crane, Federico, Jevepalovs, Pinkston and Rumpel. With the exception of Jevpalovs the rest of these players are free agents and looking for AHL deals for next season. If they don't sign AHL deals or go overseas they would be candidates to return to Allen. However, because they are free agents they can sign with any ECHL team. Jevpalovs is signed with San Jose for next season so the only way he ends up in Allen is if he gets assigned by San Jose.

- The other group of players to track are the five players that were given qualifying offers. Greger Hanson, David Makowski, Matt Register, Eric Roy, and Ian Schultz make up this group. These five players can pursue deals in the AHL or overseas but if they play in the ECHL they can only play with Allen unless Allen trades their rights. Eric Roy is the most likely to sign with an AHL team and the best scenario for Allen fans is if he would be signed by San Jose. A key date for these players is August 1 as that is the date the qualifying offer, which includes a 5% raise over last season, will expire. After that time salary is negotiable. Except for Register who is a veteran, Allen will retain the rights for these players for all of next season. 

- With all of the talk about players returning from last season it is easy to forget coach Martinson is also in the process of recruiting some new players as well. He will have to find a couple of young guys and will also be looking for experienced players that will thrive in his system. It is like a big puzzle where the pieces have to all fit together. The salary cap and housing costs are a big factor in how Martinson fits the puzzle pieces together.


Thanks to Derek Allred (among others) who have asked about the "free furniture" promotion sponsored by the Allen Americans and Knight Furniture this season. Here is the story. The upcoming season will be the fifth year that Knight Furniture has been a corporate sponsor of the Allen Americans. The company is a family owned business that was started by J.B. Knight in Sherman in 1912 when he was just 19 years old. The business is currently operated by the fourth generation of the family, Joey Gunn (Vice President) and his dad, David Gunn (President). 

Thanks to Joey Gunn who provided the information below. J.B. Knight is Joey's great uncle. 

Here is how Joey described working in the family business in a trade publication a couple of years ago: I’m generation number four. There are a lot of statistics on going from generation one to two and two to three, but there’s not a whole lot of three to four yet. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a 104-year-old company. This is more than a job to me. It’s actually more than a career to me. This is pride, this is my family’s name, so making this thing successful means a lot to me. More than I can put into words. You want to be able to prove, as the president’s son or as the next generation, that you’re not just doing this because you’re the unemployed loser of the family that couldn’t get a job somewhere else. This is not a family charity. This is passion.

Joey grew up in Allen and is a member of the 2001 Allen Eagle graduating class. He started working with his dad and grandfather at the store when he was 14. He started working in the warehouse and learned the business from the ground up. After getting his college degree he joined the business in the front office and became the credit manager. He later became the store manager in Gainesville and is currently Vice President of the company. Joey and his wife, Leslie, have twin boys who are three and love going to the hockey games. His dad is also a season ticket holder. 

The Kelly Cup visits the Joey Gunn family at Knight Furniture

Joey came up with the idea of giving away "free furniture" to Allen Americans fans if the team repeated as ECHL Kelly Cup champions. Anyone who bought furniture during the regular season and mentioned the Allen Americans prior to their purchase would be entered in the contest and receive a full refund for their purchase if the Americans repeated as Kelly Cup champs. The promotion was advertised by the Allen Americans and was good for purchases at Knight Furnture stores in Sherman and Gainesville. Were the Gunn's hoping the Americans would lose in the playoffs to avoid paying out this money? Quite the contrary as the Gunn's are big fans of the team in addition to being sponsors. They had purchased insurance to cover the cost of the promotion so their hope was a repeat championship and a bunch of happy customers. 

Joey shared with me there were close to 20 Allen fans that were reimbursed for their furniture purchase with one family getting a refund of $10,000. Joey is already looking at doing the promotion again this upcoming season as the Americans attempt the "drive for five" in 2016-17. Joey mentioned when he inquired about doing the promotion again and asked the insurance agent what would be the cost for $50,000 of protection, the agent jokingly said, with the way the Allen Ameticans keep winning the cost would be $50,000. A final decision has yet to be made but Joey is definitely interested in having the promotion again next season. If you need some new furniture looking at Knight Furniture may be worthwhile. 

Joey (left) David Gunn accept the HFA 2016 Retailer of the Year Award in Nashville

DID YOU KNOW: 2016 has been a great year for Knight Furniture. They were a big part of the Allen Americans championship and also won another championship. They were selected by the Home Furnishing Association (HFA) as the 2016 Retailer of the Year. The HFA is a national organization with over 1800 members in all 50 states and Canada with over 7000 storefronts. Congrats to David and Joey Gunn and the entire Knight Furniture team. 

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