|The Costello family with Chad's MVP trophy after the 2016 Kelly Cup Championship|
It was quite a shock to the system when I heard Chad Costello is heading to Germany next season. His on ice presence is unequaled in the history of the Allen Americans (see DID YOU KNOW below) but it is who he and his family are off the ice that makes it so hard to say goodbye. I had the chance to spend a few minutes with Chad last night talking about his decision to head overseas at this stage of his career. First, here is the translation of the press release issued by his new German team, the Iserlohn Roosters. Iserlohn is a city of around 95,000 in the west central part of Germany. The team plays in the top league in Germany (DEL) in an arena opened in 1971 that holds just under 5000 for hockey. This past season the team finished 13th in a 14 team league. The press release below was translated from German by Google Translate so some of the words don't translate well but you can certainly get the gist of what is being said.
Iserlohn - The Iserlohn Roosters from the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) have committed another striker for the coming season. From the Allen Americans, the top scorer of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), Chad Costello, switches to the Seilersee. The 30-year-old American, who was also the captain of his team, signed a trial contract at the Seilersee. "Chad has an extraordinary scoring talent, which he has demonstrated in the last three years in impressive form. Nevertheless, we have to look at the training and the first test games to see if he can do it in the DEL. We are very impressed that a player of his quality will accept a trial contract. This is undoubtedly a new sporting chapter in his career, "says Roosters manager Karsten Mende.
Costello was born in Johnston, Iowa, in 1986, and began his career in a variety of US post-graduate students before completing his studies at Northeastern University. In 2008, he signed his first professional contract at the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the IHL. Costello already showed his goalkeeper here. In 2014, Costello moved to the Allen Americans, where he made his final breakthrough with other stations in the AHL, CHL and ECHL. In 272 league games he recorded 426 points, scored 117 goals, celebrated 2015 and 2016, also because of his own efficiency, the ECHL championship, won the so-called Kelly Cup. In 2015, he was also awarded the ECHL Sportmanship Award. In 2016 he was not only the best player in the main round but also the playoffs MVP.
"Chad has been an absolute exception player in his league. We hope that he will find us at the Seilersee quickly and take the step that we all hope for, "emphasized Isarlohn's chef Jari Pasanen. Costello is a family friend and a good friend of the new Iserlohner striker Jack Combs. Both, after their common time in Tulsa, will again go together on goal hunting..
The most important thing Chad wanted me to know when I asked about why he signed in Germany was it had nothing to do with how the season ended in Allen or playing in Allen. As a matter of fact, that is what made the decision to leave so difficult. Chad and Ashley don't see Allen as a place where Chad has a job, they don't see folks as co-workers and fans but they see everyone as friends and that makes it hard to leave. Chad also expressed his admiration and respect for Steve Martinson who he credits in large part for his record breaking success in Allen.
As you might imagine after every season Chad gets offers to play overseas and has never made the leap. Why is this season different? Costello had another great season in Allen winning the scoring title and the league MVP but he is soon to be 31 years old and you never know how many opportunities will arise in the future. Getting a contract offer from a team in the top league in Germany (DEL) means two things for Chad. First, the financial rewards are much greater than what he could get in the ECHL even as a top player. Second, he will play with his best friend and former teammate Jack Combs.
You may have noticed in the press release the sentence that says, "We were very impressed that a player of his (Chad's) quality will accept a trial contract." I asked Chad about that and he was very straight forward in saying the trial contract caused him no concern whatsoever. He totally agreed with that approach. He wants to earn his place on the team just like he did when he first arrived in Allen. There are no guarantees and Chad is fine with that. It is also important to keep in mind when you have never lived or played in Europe and have a family of five there are a lot of other considerations when you check out where you will live, how are the schools and a myriad of other issues. You can talk and get advice from others but until you arrive and check everything out first hand and in person you just never know how things fit together. I am sure everything will work out great but Chad and Ashley are going into the endeavor with their eyes wide open.
I am sure all Allen fans join me is wishing Chad, Ashley and the entire Costello family the best of luck as they embark on this new adventure and if for some reason things don't work out they will be welcomed back in Allen with open arms.
Finally, on personal level I want to thank Chad for his cooperation and friendship over the last three years. He is always available, always willing to answer any question posed to him, even the tough ones. A true gentleman who is always deflecting credit from himself on to others. It has been such a pleasure being able to watch his vision and precision on the ice as well as his role as a husband and father off the ice. I often kid this blog should be called the "Chad Costello Blog" because he is included so often. I selfishly hope Allen fans have not seen Chad's last game as an Allen American but if they have, he has given Allen fans a lifetime worth of memories.
DID YOU KNOW: It is hard to know where to start when describing Chad Costello's impressive accomplishments with the Allen Americans. He was in Allen for three seasons, led the league in scoring each year and was selected as the ECHL MVP all three years (by the PHPA in 2015). He won two Kelly Cups, was the Kelly Cup MVP in 2016 and was a captain of the team the last two seasons.
In the 29 year history of the ECHL the scoring champion has won the scoring title by more than 20 points only six times. Chad accomplished that feat three years in a row including in 2014-15 when he won the scoring title by an all time record of 45 points.
Chad is the only player in ECHL history to win the scoring title three years in a row.
In his three years in Allen, Costello has the #3, #5 and #12 best single seasons for assists in ECHL history. No other player is in the top 12 more than once.
As for Allen Americans team records many of these will never be broken. Here is a list of where Chad stands in the all time and single season record book.
ALL TIME RECORDS
Points - Chad leads with 350 which is 115 more than second place
Assists - Chad leads with 252 which is 114 more than second place
Goals - Chad is tied with Greger Hanson at 98 goals
SINGLE SEASON RECORDS
Points - Chad is #1 (125), #2 (122) and #3 (103) in team history
Assists - Chad is #1 (89), #2 (84) and #3 (79) in team history
Goals - Chad is # 2 with 41 goals in 2014-15