Friday, April 27, 2018

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You - Barry the Blogger Style

 For the first time since I started writing the Allen Americans Blog six years ago the season has ended in the opening round with a historic loss. No time for sorrow or disappointment. It is time for me to say my thanks to all involved in making Allen Americans hockey the best fan experience anywhere. While I will still be posting blogs during the summer when there is news to report, it will no longer be each day.

It is quite an undertaking to write about the team seven days a week during the season and it does indeed take a village to make it all possible. So please indulge me for this once a year post about the blog and all of the people that help me. It seems like as the years go by more and more blog readers help me out with ideas for stories, ask questions and let me know about errors I make in the blog so I can get them corrected.

It wouldn't be right to have a blog post without some stats so here are a couple that amaze me. I write somewhere around 250,000 words during the hockey season. Readership varies but has steadily increased to around 1200 unique page views per day. As of this morning the total number of page views since October of 2012 is 1,311,227.  Who would have imagined a blog started for the Heritage Ranch Allen Americans fan club now reaches people all over the US and Canada as well as the hockey hotbeds in Europe on a daily basis.  It proves fans of the Allen Americans are all over the world.

I want to start out by thanking all of the fans that frequent this blog. It has been my pleasure to meet many of you and your words of encouragement in person, comments at the end of each blog, posts on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and email have been very satisfying and inspiring. A special thanks to Mary Betz and Ted Hosterman who kindly fill in when I am gone.

Thanks to the many fans, bloggers, and media from all over the league that have promoted the blog as fair and balanced and have also shared information with me about their teams. One of the unexpected benefits of writing the blog has been getting to know all of the broadcasters, writers, bloggers and passionate fans from other teams.

There are a lot of you on Twitter that like and/or retweet the blog. There are a lot of you that like and/or share the blog on Facebook. I notice each and every one and appreciate it so much because it is a way to spread the word about the Allen Americans. I am extremely fortunate that Rick Gosselin and Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News forward the blog to their twitter followers almost every day. That means almost 50,000 sports/hockey fans get publicity about the Americans each day. A special thanks to Rick and Mike for their support.   

Thank you to the players who have never said no to a single request I have made of them for a chat, an interview or a question. I have gotten to know most of these young men both professionally and personally and they have represented the Americans in an outstanding manner. You see the players at their best when they are visiting schools and hospitals or are interacting with the young fans in any environment. 

One of my goals when I started the blog was to share the personal stories of the players. It is something I didn't do enough of this season so hope to do more next season. The wives/girlfriends, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends I have met have been great about sharing family stories which I have then been able to share in the blog. Thanks to all of you.

Thanks to Steve Martinson and his staff  (Jason Deitsch, Tim Abbott, Bryan Parfrey, Luke Chilcott) for always being willing to talk to me and help educate me. A special thanks to coach Martinson, for allowing me to stop by his office after every game and every practice to ask questions and talk about the team. It is his openness and trust that has allowed the blog to have information you can't find anywhere else.

Thanks to Tommy Daniels, Director of Communications & Broadcasting for the Allen Americans, who has been a big help to me. Tommy is the one who encouraged me to start the blog, made me feel like part of the media team, answered many questions, publicized the blog to attract new readership, and invited me to be part of the between periods conversation on his radio broadcast to talk hockey and promote the blog. Tommy is the best broadcaster in the business and is always willing to share his knowledge with others.

Thanks to Tommy's radio sidekick, Maurice Fitzgerald, for all the between periods chats on the radio broadcast. Maurice has forgotten more about hockey than I will ever know but we are a good combo with all of my day to day information about the team and their stats.

Maurice and myself are two of a big volunteer army that devotes time to the Allen Americans because of their love of the team and love of hockey. Photographers, writers, interns, fan club members and fans too numerous to mention. Certainly an under appreciated group of volunteers.

 Joe Babik, Director of Communication for the ECHL has once again spent more time with me this season than I deserved to help educate me about the policies, rules, procedures and records of the ECHL. Joe has gone above and beyond the call of duty and seems to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Thanks to the entire Team Sin Bin group which has welcomed me into their group for the fourth year and made it very easy for me to get my stories on their site ( A special thanks to Matt Harding (SinBinThunder) and Joe Rozycki (SinBinMavs).

Unlike most writers, bloggers, and other media types that cover the Americans I have a dual role as in addition to being a blogger I also coordinate the activities of the fan club (over 200 members) at Heritage Ranch where I live. In this capacity I spend a lot of time in the front office of the Americans arranging for season tickets, suites, individual game tickets, seats for soldiers tickets, and other promotions. I want to thank the entire front office staff, led by Matt Canavan, who have gone out of their way to help me with tickets as well a provide content for the blog.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't thank my lovely wife of almost 40 years (to be precise 40 years on Sunday) Nancy, who is kind enough to proofread the blog each morning. It is a tireless task. Despite our best efforts we miss plenty of errors in both substance and form. Luckily many of you are kind enough to let me know of these errors so corrections can be made promptly. The volunteer proofreader list has gotten too long to list everyone but you know who you are and I thank you for your help. Blog posts live forever on the internet and can always be corrected so I really appreciate when you let me know about errors.

This will be the last daily blog post for the season. I will still blog on an as needed basis as new information becomes available. If you are on Facebook or Twitter you can see whenever there is a new post on the blog by liking my page on Facebook at "Allen Americans Blog" or following me on Twitter at @allenamericans1. Maybe the easiest way to stay in touch is by making one of the favorites on whatever search engine you use and checking in periodically. Remember, it is only 168 days until Allen Americans hockey starts again.

Finally, on a personal note you may know I have been taking a two week fishing trip to Ontario and Minnesota for over 20 years with some buddies from Minnesota. The trip is always the last week of May in Canada and first week of June in Minnesota. This worked fine when Allen was in the Central Hockey League as the playoffs were always over by the time the fishing trip started but that is not the case since joining the ECHL. In 2015 I missed the finals series and in 2016 I flew home early to catch the championship finals. Last season I made the tough choice to forego the fishing trip as it made no sense to cover the team every single day and then miss the playoffs. My fishing buddies told me I was making a big mistake by not going on the fishing trip as the team won four straight championships and if I didn't go on the fishing trip the team would lose. Then my superstitious Allen fans (you know who you are) said it was all my fault the Americans lost because I decided to not go on the fishing trip. Not being the superstitious type myself I once again decided to forego the fishing trip this season so I wouldn't miss the the playoffs. Needless to say come the end of May there will be no playoffs and no fishing trip. I have learned my lesson after two years and promise all of my superstitious friends I am going on the fishing trip next year just to make sure the Americans get back to the Kelly Cup finals.  

DID YOU KNOW: It is hard to believe it is still April and the Allen Americans are not playing hockey. April 25th is the earliest the Americans have played the last game of the season in the six years Steve Martinson has been the coach but not the earliest in team history. Here is the date of the last game played in each year of the Allen franchise along with the results.

May 4, 2010 - A 4-3 loss to Rapid City in the CHL Presidents' Cup finals
May 8, 2011 - A 5-3 loss to Bossier-Shreveport in the CHL Berry Conference finals
April 10, 2012 - A 4-2 loss to the Texas Brahmas in the CHL Berry Conference semi-finals
May 11, 2013 - A 4-3 OT win over Wichita in the CHL Presidents' Cup finals
May 10, 2014 - A 5-2 win over Denver in the CHL Presidents' Cup finals
June 14, 2015 - A 6-1 win over South Carolina in the Kelly Cup finals
June 9, 2016 - A 4-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers in the Kelly Cup final
May 9, 2017 - A 4-3 loss to Colorado in the ECHL Mountain Division finals
April 25, 2018 - A 4-1 loss to Idaho in the ECHL Mountain Division semi-finals


  1. Thank you Barry for all you do with this blog. It adds a lot to the hockey season. I do think it is good you are reconsidering your trip. Maybe you have jinxed our season after all! :) I am really missing hockey. Sickening we were out of it so early but the way the season went, it wasn't too surprising. I would love to know if poor Coach was frustrated all.season.long.

  2. Thank you Barry for all the information you share with us each day. I have learned so much about the rules and life as an ECHL hockey player in the past several years just from reading your blog and the stories you link to within it.

    As disappointed as I am that the season is over, I am almost equally as disappointed that I won't have the blog to start my day with until we get closer to the start of the season. My day just won't be the same without having your blog to read as I enjoy my morning cup of coffee.

    Enjoy the off season and CONGRATS on your upcoming 40th anniversary.

    Even though the Americans season is done, we still have our two affiliates to cheer for...San Jose Barracuda are still in it (Tucson leads 2-1) and the San Jose Sharks are facing off against the Las Vegas Knights in round two (Knights lead 1-0).

    Plus we have our American players still in the playoffs...Utica and Syracuse are still playing hockey.

    Thanks again Barry for all you do! It is appreciated more than you know...

  3. Thank you; going to miss reading the blog everyday when there's summer gaps.

  4. Daily reader- Thanks, Barry! You are appreciated!

  5. Thank you Barry. It is a truly a highlight of our day to read your blog. Thank you for all of the effort. It is so nice to read about the great alliances that you have formed. Enjoy your time off. RedRedRed

  6. Thank you Barry. I never followed hockey before in my life until we started going to the Allen American games a few years ago. I quickly became a fan of your blog and learned many things about the Americans and hockey that I never knew. I can't wait till next season starts again and will try to get through my hockey withdrawals over the summer....until then congrats on your anniversary and enjoy your time off.

  7. Thanks for the shout out Barry - losing key players like Costy, Gary and Greger created a huge void to fill. All in all I think Marty did the best with what he had (could have used another true defensemen or two though). Mary and I stand ready to fill in whenever needed - here’s hoping it’s during the play offs next year while you are fishing. Thanks for all you do - I know firsthand the huge commitment necessary to make this blog work every day during the season - you handle it with class and without complaint.

  8. You’re welcome, again......oh wait, we weren’t mentioned, again..........that’s ok, we know who we are. ;).

    1. Guilty as charged! I have a lame excuse I will explain to you the next time I see you. Trust me you will get your just due, I luv you man!