Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shocker: Darryl "Booter" Bootland Leaving Allen for ECHL

Two time CHL Champion Moves To ECHL

Had a conversation with Booter Bootland this afternoon and he confirmed he has come to terms with a team in the ECHL and will be leaving Allen. A sad day for sure for Allen fans as he will be missed not only for all he has done on the ice but what he has done off the ice. Booter will leave as one of the most popular players in franchise history.

Booter asked me to share the following with all of his fans in Allen.

"I want to thank all Allen American's fans, the last two years were amazing! Sarah, Trace, Havyn and I are sad to leave. You treated us as family from day one. I would like to thank Matt Canavan and the rest of the staff as I learned a lot off the ice working in the front office. I also want to thank all of the on ice crew for all they have done. Thanks again to everyone in Allen, you will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts."

The beard, the mouth, the fan favorite, & two championships

Monday, July 28, 2014

QMJHL Offensive Defenseman Jeremy Beaudry Signs With Allen Americans - The Details

Jeremy Beaudry Signs with Allen Americans

The Allen Americans have signed 20 year old (won't be 21 until December) rookie, offensive defenseman, Jeremy Beaudry who just finished his junior career with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He had 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists) in 60 games. The 19 goals were the most scored by a defenseman in the history of the team.

Jeremy Set Team Record for Defenseman With 19 Goals Last Season

Here is the press release from the Allen Americans courtesy of Tommy Daniels:

 The Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League announced the signing today of defenseman, Jeremy Beaudry, to a contract for the 2014-2015 season.

Jeremy Beaudry is a 5’11’’, 193 pound defenseman. He was drafted in 2010 by the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, making 37 appearances in 2 seasons for the Tigres, scoring five goals. His career really began to take off in the 2012-2013 season, splitting time between the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL. During that year, Beaudry netted 20 goals in 67 games with a total of 36 points.

Finishing his time in the QMJHL with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for the 2013-2014 season, Beaudry played 64 games, scoring 19 goals on the season and earning a total of 54 points. This move proved to be record-breaking for the franchise when the defensemen netted 19 goals, surpassing former record holder Mathieu Dumas’ 17 goals in 2001-2002. He also led the league in game winning goals with six on the season.

“Jeremy scored 38 goals the last two years in major juniors,” said Allen Americans Head Coach and GM Steve Martinson. “He has a great shot, and helps make us one of the most skilled defensive units in AA Hockey.”

This 20 year old native from Montmagny, Canada, has had a total of 157 points in his 4 years of playing for the QMAAA and QMJHL, and was awarded the QMAAA Most Points by a Defenseman (41) honor for the 2010-2011 season.

Here is Beaudry's information from hockeydb:

Jeremy Beaudry

Defense -- shoots R
Born Dec 13 1993 -- Montmagny, PQ
[20 yrs. ago]
Height 5.11 -- Weight 193 
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2010-11 Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL 1 0 0 0 0 -2 ----------
2011-12 Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL 35 5 6 11 10 1 1 0 0 0 0
2012-13 Sherbrooke Phoenix QMJHL 25 11 6 17 16 -8 ----------
2012-13 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 31 7 7 14 10 -8 11 2 4 6 8
2013-14 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 60 19 34 53 44 -1 4 0 1 1 4

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Current Listing of Players Signed By Each CHL Team

Here is the up to date listing of players signed by each CHL team. Missouri still leads with 10 players signed and Wichita has the fewest players signed with two. Keep in mind there are a lot more players that have been signed by teams but have not been announced. The total number of players signed and announced leaguewide has now reached 60 so there are still well over a 100 additional players to be signed to fill out opening day rosters. The teams are actually ahead of schedule compared to last year at the same time.

(8) Allen Americans: Kevin Young (D), Jamie Schaafsma (F), Tyler Ludwig (D), Jonathan Lessard (F), Darryl Bootland (F), Trevor Ludwig (D), Travis Ouellette (C), Garrett Clarke (D)

(7) Arizona Sundogs: Kevin Baker (F), Michael Couch (D), Alex Tuckerman (D), Michael Trebish (F), Berkley Scott (F), Matt White (F), Jordan Clendenning (C)

(5) Brampton Beast: Calin Wild (C), Andrew Darrigo (D), Josh McQuade (F), Mike MacIsaac (F), Jason Pitton (F)

(6) Denver Cutthroats: Mike Bayrack (C), Garett Bembridge (F), Kyle Fletcher (F), John Griggs (G), JP Chabot (F), Steve Kaunisto (D)

(10) Missouri Mavericks: Andrew Courtney (F), John-Scott Dickson (F),   Scott Langdon (D), TJ Battani (F), Sebastien Thinel (F), Dave Pszenyczny (D), Evan Vossen (F), Ben Power (F), Collin Circelli (C), Dallas Ehrhardt (D)

(7) Quad City Mallards: Darren McMillan (D), Caylen Walls (D), Joey Holka (F), Mike Monfredo (D), Jeff Lee (F), Justin Fox (F), Evan Mosher (G)

(9) Rapid City Rush: Winston Day Chief (F), Justin Sawyer (D/F), Justin Faryna (F), Scott Brannon (F), Sean Erickson (D), Brett Kostolansky (D), Jared Brown (F), Wayne Savage (G), Brandon Martell (D)

(6) Tulsa Oilers: Jake Obermeyer (D), Nathan Lutz (D), Adam Pleskach (F), Matthew Larke (F), Chapen Leblond (F), Eric Tallent (D)

(2) Wichita Thunder:  Alex Bourret (F), Nikita Kashirsky (F)

DID YOU KNOW: One year ago today the teams had only signed 50 players and that was with 10 teams in the league. Here are the number of players signed by team one year ago.
Allen - 9
Arizona - 4
Brampton - 3
Denver - 6
Missouri - 6
Quad City - 6
Rapid City - 4
St. Charles - 5
Tulsa - 5
Wichita - 2

Saturday, July 26, 2014

$500,000 Can Buy You A CHL Franchise - But You've Only Just Begun

 You may have seen the article below that has been making its way around social media the last couple of days about CHL expansion with the headline about owning a CHL franchise for $500,000. An informative interview with CHL Commissioner Steve Ryan and owner Rodney Steven that talks about the league and expansion.  But before you start putting an ownership group together at your next fan get together keep in mind in addition to the franchise fee the annual budget for a CHL team is in the 2-3 million dollar range. And has been widely reported and not disputed the only team that made money last year was the Missouri Mavericks. Without a doubt the CHL business model with the teams currently in the league is a very difficult one. But with the ownership group currently in place it seems everyone is pulling in the same direction and the optimism about growing the league next year is real rather than wishful thinking. In the meantime the mantra around the league is how do you reduce costs and everyone needs sell, sell, sell. If you are employed by a CHL team, whether you are a coach, broadcaster, owner,  mascot, player, janitor, administrative assistant, president, or account rep, your position description includes sales.

The article below was written by Mike Sunnucks who is a senior reporter for the Phoenix Business Journal. (

A half-million bucks.
That’s the cost of a 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo. It will buy a seaside villa on the tropical island of Bali. It’s also the price tag to become a Bollywood movie producer in India.
It can also buy you a new franchise in the Central Hockey League.
The nine-team independent minor league is actually based in Phoenix, and held its annual meeting this week at the Gila River Indian Community's Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.
The CHL has teams in markets such as Denver, suburban Toronto, Rapid City, South Dakota and the Arizona Sun Dogs in Prescott. The league changed its business model last year when team owners bought out Glendale-based Global Entertainment Corp.
Global owned the league and was headed by Canadian businessman Jim Treliving. Now, the CHL is controlled by its franchise owners and recently moved into new offices in north Phoenix.
The league is looking to expand, said Commissioner Steve Ryan, a former National Hockey League executive and CEO of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He said $500,000 is the entry point for prospective franchise owners.
Ryan said the league is looking at expansion possibilities in Wyoming, Kansas and Illinois. He also sees some opportunities for the league if there are changes with American Hockey League affiliations. Some of the NHL’s West Coast teams want AAA-level affiliates closer than some of their current AHL homes.
The Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate, for example, is in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Anaheim Ducks feeder team is in Norfolk, Virginia. The Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate is in Portland, Maine. That makes for long treks for players and coaches going between the AHL and NHL.
Western NHL teams could create a new California-centric AHL division. That also could create some new market opportunities for the CHL if there are location changes in hockey’s minor league landscape. “That’s going to open up some markets,” Ryan said.
The CHL's geographic footprint is centered in the Midwest and Great Plains states. However, a CHL team in St. Charles, Missouri folded after this past season.
Ryan sees the Phoenix-based CHL as competing not just with other sports, but really for consumer discretionary spending. “We are in the entertainment business,” he said. CHL teams average 3,400 fans per game.
Like other minor leagues, the CHL touts its value propositions to fans and sponsors. Ryan said the average ticket price for CHL games is around $17 compared with more than $80 for NHL tilts.
Still, Ryan said CHL teams look for the same types of sponsors major sports league do, such as retailers, cell phone companies and car dealerships. The CHL, like others sports leagues, are also looking to navigate the post-recession business landscape.
Businessman Rodney Steven and his brothers own three of the CHL’s nine franchises. They own the teams in Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Allen, Texas, near Dallas.
Steven — who owns a chain of health clubs in Wichita — said he bought the team there in 2011 to keep it from going out of business. He’s since bought the two other franchises. Steven said owning the team in Wichita has created synergies for his health clubs as well as been good for the community.
He said minor league teams can flourish with sponsors and business partners in markets such as Wichita and Tulsa because those cities do not have major league teams. “We’re it,” he said. “We have 6,000 loyal fans,” Steven said outside CHL ownership meetings. The Wichita Thunder's sponsors include Sonic, Outback Steakhouse and American Family Insurance.

DID YOU KNOW: If you want to own a hockey franchise the best business model might be in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) which is the only second tier junior league in the US. As an owner you pay for ice time, and all travel expenses including meals and hotels. But no player payroll, players stay with families (called billet family) who get about $300 a month (paid by the player in most cases) for room and board. The $300 probably doesn't even cover the families cost for drinks (soda, gatorade protein drinks etc). And no insurance costs as the kids are typically covered under their parents health insurance plan. Many of the players (something like 30%) go on tho play college hockey and there are over 100 former NAHL players who have made it to the NHL so the entertainment value is there with the possibility of seeing future college and NHL stars. Players like Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel & Ryan Miller. While teams come and go the NAHL has been expanding and for the 2014-2015 season will have 24 teams.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spencer Asuchak Signs PTO With Boston Bruins - An Allen Perspective

A big congratulations to Spencer Asuchak as he has signed a tryout contract (PTO) with the NHL Boston Bruins. Can't say this is a surprise as the rumors were that almost every team in the AHL and several NHL teams had contacted him since his breakout year this past season with CHL champs, the Allen Americans. Big, fast, strong, determined, tireless worker and well liked, it is a wonder it took so long for his potential to be noticed. Everyone in Allen will be watching, cheering and hoping Spencer comes away from camp with an NHL contract but if for some reason that doesn't happen this year you can be assured he will get an AHL contract and he will be on his way. And like Jordie Benn, Allen fans will be able to say, "we knew him when" and everyone would agree it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Another feather in Steve Martinson's hat as his knack for finding young players off the radar screen that can thrive in his system is proven once again.

Not bad for a player that was not even a finalist for CHL Rookie of the Year (ROY).  You may remember the rant I went on back in March when the finalists were announced for ROY and Spencer didn't make the list. Here it is. Spencer Asuchak clearly deserves to be a finalist for rookie of the year. With Alex Lavoie the odds on favorite to win the award with more points than any CHL rookie has scored since Allen joined the league in 2009, Asuchak was left off the list. Spencer is tied for third in rookie scoring and leads the entire CHL in shorthanded goals. To go along with his offensive skills he is a great two way player, finishes checks, never takes a shift off, kills penalties and often plays against the opposing teams top players. To top it off he has not missed a game all year. Certainly he is deserving! COME ON MAN!
A NHL PTO is sweet revenge for sure!

The article below was written by Gregg Drinnan. Gregg writes a blog called "Taking Note" and can be found at

Spencer Asuchak had waited most of his 22-plus years on this earth for THE phone call.
It came last month, and now he’s preparing for a taste of the big time.
After being part of a Central Hockey League championship with the Allen Americans, Asuchak, who is from Kamloops, has signed a PTO (professional tryout agreement) with the Boston Bruins and NHLwill attend the NHL team’s rookie camp in September.
It all began with that phone call. On the other end of the line was Don Sweeney, the Bruins’ assistant general manager.
“It was about how well my season went and how they would like me to come to camp,” Asuchak said. “As you could imagine, I was pretty emotional after receiving a call like that.
“I have been waiting my entire life for an opportunity like this. I feel like I’ve definitely earned it and am going to do absolutely whatever I can to take full advantage of the chance I’m being given to prove myself and earn a spot within the Bruins organization.”
In hockey circles, it often is said that the deeper a team gets into its playoff season, the better chance its players have for advancement. The theory is simply the opposite of out of sight, out of mind.
Asuchak played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2008-12). Late in 2011-12, he got into three games with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, then chose to attend Mount Royal College in Calgary for a year.
Through it all, he wasn’t able to rid himself of the itch to play professionally, so he signed with the Americans, who play out of Allen, Texas.
The 6-foot-5, 232-pound Asuchak has always seen himself as a hockey player. According to his agent, Darren Hermiston of Points West Sports and Entertainment, that wasn’t always the way coaches saw him.
“Spencer is a hulking forward,” Hermiston said, “and, as sometimes happens in junior hockey with players that size, he was pigeon-holed into a specific role -- a north-south winger who needs to hit and fight and not do much else. This role was not ideal for Spencer's skill set, but no junior coach saw that.”
Hermiston, like Asuchak, is from Kamloops. One thing led to another and Hermiston now represents Asuchak.

“We were able to find him a situation with the Allen Americans where the coach (Steve Martinson) loved Spencer's size and skating ability and was willing to gave him a shot,” Hermiston said.
According to Hermiston, Martinson “realized what junior coaches didn't . . . that Spencer and his great skating ability should be given an opportunity at centre and in a different role than the one that hadn’t worked out overly well for the better part of five years.”
Asuchak has always taken pride in his conditioning, so he showed up in Allen ready to go. He did get off to a shaky start -- he had three points and was minus-3 through nine games. But then he was moved to centre and, yes, the move agreed with him. Not only did he begin to put up points, but Martinson turned to him as his club’s shutdown centre.
“He played against the opposition’s top lines and was a first-line penalty-killer,” Hermiston said, “and won 60 per cent of his faceoffs.”
While playing centre, Asuchak put up 53 points in 57 games and was plus-6. He had 18 points over his final nine regular-season games. In all, he had 56 points, 21 of them goals, in 66 games. He also led the CHL with five shorthanded goals and twice was the league’s player of the week.
He added 11 points, four of them goals, as the Americans went on a 17-game run to the CHL title.
“Winning the championship in Allen was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had,” Asuchak said. “So many amazing people and teammates were involved . . . friends and memories I will never forget. Being able to hoist the trophy over my head with a group of guys that you’d do absolutely anything for was amazing and there is no better feeling.”
What made it that much sweeter was that it was Asuchak’s “first championship at any level.”
After giving it some thought, he allowed that “I do think I won a B.C. roller hockey championship when I was about 14 playing for the Prince George Reapers . . . if that counts.”
The exposure that Asuchak received in 2013-14, combined with his size and skating ability, has paid off. The Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks have combined to win the last four NHL titles and the foundation of each of those teams is its strength up the middle.
As Hermiston put it, “every NHL general manager now wants to be ‘big and heavy down the middle.’ ” That is right up Asuchak’s alley.
“So after a few conversations with Don Sweeney, we were able to secure a PTO for Spencer to attend the Bruins’ rookie camp in September with the goal of earning an entry-level contract,” Hermiston said.
Asuchak, who never has been a stranger to off-ice conditioning, now is working hard to get ready for camp, even if it is almost two months away. Like many athletes in the Kamloops area, and as he has done in the past, he is working with Greg Kozoris at Kozoris Acceleration.
If you’re looking for Asuchak, chances are that you’ll find him there. He said his days comprise sprints at 7 a.m., soccer at 8 and then up to three hours of weight training. He does that five or six days a week, and also finds time to skate three or four times a week. On the ice, he has been working with Aaron Konescni, a Kelowna-based power-skating coach; Ron Johnson, a skills coach from Vancouver who works with various NHLers; and former pro Ed Patterson, the head coach of the junior B Kamloops Storm, who runs practice sessions.
Asuchak’s training group includes the likes of the Nash brothers, Brendon and Riley, Shane Doan, the afore-mentioned Blair Riley, Peter Mueller, Tyler Redenbach, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Devin Gannon, James Friedel and Ryan Gropp.
“Our training group is pretty good . . . so the pace is very high and very competitive,” Asuchak said.
In past summers, Asuchak often would find time for the lake and a few golf games.
This summer is different.
“There’s not really much time for anything else,” he said.

DID YOU KNOW: Spencer Asuchak led the CHL in shorthanded goals last year with five. No other player had more than three. The five short handed goals is also the all time single season record for the Allen Americans.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

He's Back - Garrett Clarke Returns To Allen

The Allen Americans have agreed to terms with agitator extraordinaire Garrett Clarke and the feisty defenseman will be returning to the Allen blue line after playing for the Arizona Sundogs last year. As a ninteen year old rookie in 2012-2013 Clarke set a team record for penalty minutes (broken last year by Garrett Klotz) when he had 223 penalty minutes in 54 games for the championship Allen Americans.

Here is what coach Steve Martinson said about bringing Clarke back to Allen. "I have always liked Clarke's skill set and the fact that he plays with an edge. Sometimes when you are young and play with an edge you go over the line. This will be Garrett's third year as a pro but he is still only 21 years old. I am bringing him in because I feel he has learned from his past experiences and will be a more mature player."

Last year, after signing in July 2013 to return to Allen, Clarke decided to sign with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) in September but did not make the roster and then signed with Arizona. He played in 52 games with the Sundogs and had fourteen points (5 goals, 9 assists) along with 188 penalty minutes. Garrett did not make the Arizona playoff roster.

A couple of incidents while playing for the Sundogs had Allen coaches, players and fans upset with Clarke. In January in Arizona he was suspended for one game for "intentionally clearing the puck into the Allen bench with three seconds remaining in the game" and in March he was suspended for two games after he received a "Match Penalty" in a game in Allen for attempt to injure when he took several slashes and swings at Allen players. When asked about these incidents Garrett acknowledged there may be some fences that need to be mended but words will not earn the respect back from those in Allen who have concerns. Here is what he said, "I am very happy to be coming back to Allen as I really enjoyed my time playing for the Americans. Steve Martinson and I have always had a good relationship and I am happy to be playing for him again. For those that have concerns I know words won't earn respect. I will earn their respect by my on ice performance and the way I conduct myself as a professional on and off the ice. I want to earn everyone's respect and that is what I intend to do."

What is Garrett up to this summer? He is back in Canada living in Moncton. "I'm working at a golf course right now. I wake up at 4:00 am everyday and bike 10 miles to and from work.
Training after work and getting on the ice a couple times per week."

For those that don't remember, I did a player profile interview with Garrett back in December of 2012. He was admittedly a work in progress back then and that is still the case. Remember, he is still only 21 years old. Here is that player profile from December 6, 2012. Clarke has a ton of potential and Steve Martinson is known for putting players with potential in a position to succeed. It should be fun to watch.

Photo by
Garrett Clarke #7
Birthdate: 11/3/1992
Birthplace: Windsor, Nova Scotia
6' 1" 210 lbs.

The story of Garrett Clarke is one of contrasts. There have been lots of highs and lows, ups and downs in such a young hockey players life. Garrett was only nineteen when he arrived in Allen for training camp. Just how young he is was apparent when I asked him what hockey players he admired as a youngster. He was a big fan of the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as he lived close by and two of his favorite players growing up were Bruce Graham and Adam Pineault.  

Young is a theme that kept coming up in my conversation with Garrett. Even though he doesn't remember it, he started skating at 18 months with double bladed strap on skates holding on to the back of a chair, at 15 he became the youngest player to ever make an oral commitment to play college hockey at the University of North Dakota , he was drafted sixth overall in the 2008 QMJHL draft as a fifteen year old, at 18 he attended training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he is the youngest player on the Americans by over three years.

Lots of success so young came with a price. If you look at Garrett's hockey resume it looks like one of a grizzled old veteran. Lewiston MAINEiacs, Halifax Moosheads, Shawinigan Cataractes, Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Gatineau Olympiques. Five QMJHL teams in four years. Criticism began before he started playing in the league as people questioned his motives for the commitment to the University of North Dakota (UND).  The truth is his coach at the time was a UND grad and encouraged him to make an oral commitment to get an education.When he started playing in the QMJHL  he was a 15 year old playing with 19 & 20 year old guys. He had to grow up way to fast.

His style of play was always an agitator, a real get-under-your-skin type and in that role he was very effective. There was never any question about his skill, however when your style of play is on the edge it is easy to go over the edge. Garrett is the first to admit that he made mistakes, took some stupid penalties and caused some problems. But unless you know the complete story about what was going on in each situation when he was traded the only conclusion people would draw was a negative one that Garrett was undisciplined, had an attitude problem and was released or traded because of this. It got so bad that he quit reading about himself on the internet.

The truth of the matter is in some situations the coaching style wasn't a good match,  others it was a mutually agreed trade to better the team and Garrett.  In one situation an owner made a financial decision against the will of the general manager (who was let go as well) and coach that resulted in Garrett being released.

Even the highlight of his career thus far ended up bittersweet. In 2011 he was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp. He did so well at the development camp he was invited to the main camp. Inspite of having played for four QMJHL teams in three years at that time, the Maple Leafs were impressed with his play. Dave Morrison, the Leafs'  chief scout at the time said the Leafs gave him a tryout because the club’s maritime scout said Clarke had played well in his most recent junior port, Acadie-Bathurst. "We liked his compete level and he surprised us with some of his puck decisions. Kid looks to have a lot of heart,” Dallas Eakins, the head coach of the rookie team, said at the time. His family came from far and wide to see his debut in a Maple Leafs jersey. Clarke’s mother, Janet, endured a 14-hour drive from Maine. Clarke’s father, Tim, also drove from Windsor, Nova Scotia. And rounding out the traveling fan base was Molly Chambers, Clarke’s maternal grandmother, who resides in tiny Brooklyn, Nova Scotia. The 74-year-old Chambers, accompanied by Clarke’s uncle Chester, took two planes and a taxi to arrive in time for the action.

Garrett's grandmother summed it all up: “It was kind of emotional when I saw him come out on the ice with that jersey on, with the Maple Leaf on it,” she said. “He’s worked so hard to get there. He’s really worked hard, and taken a lot of verbal abuse over things.”

Everything looked great including talk of an entry level NHL contract which was being worked on when Garrett broke his hand during camp and a decision was made to have him return to his QMJHL team (Acadie-Bathurst) for one more year. Anyone that knows QMJHL hockey is aware of the owner of the Acadie-Bathurst team. He has had seven coaches in the last eight years. Garrett was once again traded under some shady circumstances. The public perception was once again he had a problem but it wasn't the case at all. The end result was when his draft year came he went undrafted by the NHL.

So how did Clarke end up with the Americans? He signed his first pro contract with Reading (ECHL) in August 2012. With the NHL lockout there were lots of players sent down to AHL & ECHL affiliates so there was no room for him in Reading. He went home and was thinking about giving up hockey and going to school when his agent called and said the Americans were interested. His first reaction was no but after he checked into the team and found out about coach Martinson and the former Stars players involvement he was all in.   

My impression after having spent over an hour talking to him is Garrett is a sensitive young man with tons of potential and truly wants to do the right thing, develop his game, and be a good teammate. He told me if he had  it to do all over again he would have gone the college route and gotten his education. He really admires the guys on the team that played hockey while earning a degree. He is absolutely thrilled to be in Allen and had nothing but great things to say about the organization, coaches, teammates, fans and the people of North Texas. It is the best hockey situation he has ever been in.  He knows he still has lots to learn about life and hockey but he also knows he is in the perfect situation as the coaching staff is giving him lots of on ice one on one instruction.  He is improving each and everyday.

I for one am cheering for him to continue to grow, learn from his mistakes and make it to the next level. As a twenty year old I'm sure there will be bumps in the road but I look forward to watching his progress.

Keep an eye on Garrett this weekend as he has some extra incentive to play well. His mom (Janet), grandmother (Molly) and uncle (Chester) arrive today for a visit and to watch him play. I hope to meet them so I can share with them how impressed I was with Garrett and how we are all pulling for his continued success.

Here are some questions I asked Garrett to get to know him:

Mom (Janet) is a nurse
Dad (Tim) is the President of a Transportation Company
Sister (Ashley)
Grandmother (Molly)
Pet (Zoey) A Shih Tzu

Roommate: Ryley Grantham

Nickname: Clarkey

Hockey Hero: Eric Lindros & Mike Green

Favorite Actor: Zach Galifianakis

Favorite Actress: Jessica Biel

If you could have lunch with anyone living who would it be: Jessica Alba

One thing people would be surprised to learn about you: I am a hunting guide back home and specialize in bear hunts

What chore to you hate to do: washing dishes

Where is the most interesting place you have visited: Stockholm & Helsinki

If you could do anything besides being a pro hockey player what would it be: pro golfer

Any pregame superstitions or rituals: none

Who is the funniest guy on the team: Brett Skinner with his sarcastic humor

When was the last time you lost something: I lost my cell phone three days ago

Favorite thing to do on the bus: I like to play Schnarps but I am terrible at it. The guys don't want to play with me. I am so bad. They threaten me with a lifetime ban.

Do you have a favorite childhood toy: Roller Blades

Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad, Family Guy

Here is Clarke's information courtesy of hockeydb:

Garrett Clarke

Defense -- shoots L
Born Nov 3 1992 -- Windsor, NS
[21 yrs. ago]
Height 6.00 -- Weight 210

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2008-09 Lewiston MAINEiacs QMJHL 46 6 3 9 86 -15 4 0 0 0 10
2009-10 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 45 6 16 22 165 -15 ----------
2010-11 La Tuque Wolves QJAHL 6 1 1 2 55 -2

2010-11 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 18 1 5 6 53 -9 ----------
2010-11 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 11 1 6 7 14 -4 ----------
2010-11 Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 28 4 12 16 69 9 4 1 2 3 6
2011-12 Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 24 2 14 16 48 -15 ----------
2011-12 Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 31 7 14 21 105 -12 2 0 0 0 6
2011-12 Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees CHL ------------ 1 0 0 0 4
2012-13 Woodstock Slammers MHL 1 0 0 0 4

2012-13 Allen Americans CHL 54 1 3 4 223 -5 ----------
2013-14 Arizona Sundogs CHL 52 5 9 14 188 -6 ----------

CHL Meeting Concludes, Allen Wins Two Awards, Martinson Happy With Rule Changes

The CHL summer meeting wrapped up last night with the annual awards banquet and the Allen Americans came away with two awards. Congratulations to Tommy Daniels who won the "Communications Executive of the Year" award. Allen also won the award for "Game Operations Franchise of the Year" which is a team award because so many are involved from skits to videos to music to contests. Congratulations to all of the front office staff, players, coaches, event center staff and fans who are part of the entertainment during the games. This really is a team award but special congrats to Erik Adams and recently departed Director of Game Operations, Tom Manning.

**For those that follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may have seen tweets or posts late last night congratulating Allen for also winning the "Community Relations Franchise of the Year" and this was an error. I recently started working with Minor League Hockey Report and two of our reporters  attended the awards banquet and were live tweeting the winners. Unfortunately, the information was sent out that Allen won the community relations award when in fact it was the Brampton Beast that won "Community Relations Franchise of the Year." On behalf of myself and the Minor League Hockey Report I want to apologize to the Allen Americans and the Brampton Beast for this error.

Here is a complete list of winners. Congratulations to all of the winners and especially the Missouri Mavericks for winning the "Franchise of the Year" award for the fourth consecutive year.

Ralph Backstrom Soul of Service Award – Greg Bergen, Missouri Mavericks
CHL Game Operations Franchise of the Year – Allen Americans
CHL Merchandising Franchise of the Year – Missouri Mavericks
CHL Community Relations Franchise of the Year – Brampton Beast
CHL Social Media Franchise of the Year (Sales) – Missouri Mavericks
CHL Social Media Franchise of the Year (Marketing/Promotions) – Brampton Beast
CHL Off-Ice Official Crew of the Year – Rapid City Rush
CHL Volunteer of the Year – Bill “Sarge” Cook, Wichita Thunder
CHL Broadcaster of the Year – Rob Loeber, Tulsa Oilers
CHL Communications Executive of the Year – Tommy Daniels, Allen Americans
CHL Rookie of the Year/Rising Star – Mark Binetti, Rapid City Rush
CHL Peer Excellence Award – Amy Henderson, Tulsa Oilers
CHL Spirit Award – Jason Mals, Wichita Thunder
Most Unique Theme/Promotion – Arizona Sundogs (Scissor Lift Ticket Sales Promotion)
CHL Corporate Partnership Team of the Year – Missouri Mavericks
CHL Group Sales Franchise of the Year – Missouri Mavericks
CHL Ticketing Executive of the Year – Zac Wilken, Quad City Mallards
CHL Corporate Sales Executive of the Year – Matt Brokaw, Wichita Thunder
CHL Ticket Sales Franchise of the Year – Missouri Mavericks
Rick Kozuback Award – Taylor Hall, Tulsa Oilers
CHL Most Improved Franchise – Quad City Mallards
Brad Treliving CHL Executive of the Year – Bob McNamara, Quad City Mallards
CHL Franchise of the Year – Missouri Mavericks

- Had a chance to talk to coach Steve Martinson after the conclusion of the meeting and while he was not at liberty to discuss the outcome of the meeting and the impending rule changes publicly,  he did convey he was extremely happy with the dialogue that took place between the coaches and the rule changes that will be implemented. He said, "I am glad I came to the meeting and a lot was accomplished."

- Minor League Hockey Report (Matt & Zach) had a brief conversation with Jim Wiley, Director of Hockey Operations yesterday afternoon after the meeting and he also was unable to provide any details on rule changes but did indicate area where rule changes were likely. Some (salary cap, rosters, veteran rule, playoffs) need to be discussed with the PHPA (Professional Hockey Players Association). So it sounds like changes are coming in these areas for sure. Many other rule changes are to match up with or be similar to what is happening in the NHL & AHL. In some cases it is merely a matter of getting the specific wording about the new rule down on paper.  Here is a list of areas where changes may be made:
Size of trapezoid behind the goal
Distance between hash marks

Here is an update on overtime and fighting courtesy of the Minor League Hockey Report:

The overtime period will stay a five minute period, but will be played three on three. Penalties will continue to be half the normal time of a penalty (IE: A two minute minor is one minute in overtime). If a penalty is assessed during the overtime, play will be four on three. If a second infraction is called against the same team, it will be five on three. After the five minute overtime, play will move to the shootout. The shootout will stay the same as in the last few years.

The second rule change made known to us will be if a player receives two majors for fighting, they will be given an automatic game misconduct. However, if a player has already had a fighting major, and is brought into a fight by a player who instigates, the original player will not be assessed a game misconduct for his second fight. In addition, any player who receives three majors within a game will be automatically given a game misconduct. The three majors can be of any nature in form.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Allen Americans & CHL Weekly Update - 7/23/14

It has been kind of a quiet week thus far but things happen fast this time of year and there are several players that have been signed but not yet announced. Not sure when that will happen but there are some new faces and old faces in the fold. Will have a full report as soon as the Americans make the names public and may be able to break the news on one of the signings here on Allen Americans Blog. Stay tuned.

In the mean time here are a few of the other happenings around the Americans and the Central Hockey League:

- The CHL meeting is in its final day today and this will be the day where the rubber meets the road as all of the discussions will culminate in some actual decisions being made. If their are going to be changes made to the veteran rule, injured reserve, salary cap, helmet rule, number of teams that make the playoffs, number of games in the playoffs, number of referees in the playoffs, inclusion of an all-star game, and a host of other ideas brought forth by the general managers and coaches today is moving day. And then tonight is the awards banquet where the teams are honored in a number of categories. Here are the categories from last year with last year's winners.
Ralph Backstrom Soul of Service Award - Lew Rees, Arizona Sundogs
CHL Game Operations Franchise of the Year - Wichita Thunder
CHL Merchandising Franchise of the Year - Denver Cutthroats
CHL Community Relations Franchise of the Year - Arizona Sundogs
CHL New Media Franchise of the Year - Denver Cutthroats
CHL Broadcaster of the Year - Bob Rennison, Missouri Mavericks
CHL Communications Executive of the Year - Jason Mals, Wichita Thunder
CHL Corporate Partnership Team of the Year - Missouri Mavericks
CHL Group Sales Franchise of the Year - Missouri Mavericks
CHL Ticketing Executive of the Year - Luke Schuellein, Wichita Thunder
CHL Ticket Sales Franchise of the Year - Missouri Mavericks
Rick Kozuback Award - Greg Smith, Denver Cutthroats
CHL Leadership Award - Rodney Steven, Wichita Thunder
CHL Most Improved Franchise - Wichita Thunder
Brad Treliving CHL Executive of the Year - Brent Thiessen, Missouri Mavericks
CHL Franchise of the Year - Missouri Mavericks

Notice the conspicuous absence of the leagues two problem children from last year (Allen & Rapid City) in the award winners last year. Would assume the outcome will be somewhat different when the award winners are announced  tonight.

- If you didn't have a chance to listen to the live podcast from Arizona last night you can do so by going to and you will see "MLHR Live Podcast"  at the top of the page. Though decisions have not been made on rule changes, all of the guests (Jim Wiley & Bob Hoffman from CHL headquarters,  Allen American's coach Steve Martinson, Brent Thiessen President & GM from Missouri, and Tulsa Broadcaster Rob Loeber) provided great information that CHL fans would enjoy hearing.

- There were three player signings announced yesterday with forward Jeff Lee signing in  Quad City and Wayne Savage (G) and Brandon Martell (F) signing in Rapid City. With these signings a total of 55 players have been signed thus far for the 2014-2015 season. That represents only about one third of the players that need to be signed (171) to fill out all of the rosters. Missouri leads the way with ten players signed and Tulsa has the fewest players signed at this point with two.

- If you are interested in seeing an up to date listing of players signed by team you can go to minorleaguehockeyreport and click on "2014-2015 Player Signings" at the top of the page. This list is always current.

- Another great resource for hockey fans is Hockey Mayhem which you can find at They have boards for all professional hockey leagues and a fairly active CHL group. A lot of good information for the avid fan and you can just browse or you can sign up and post your opinions and information. I particularly like their topic "2014-2015 CHL Signings and Departures" which includes whether the player is a veteran by CHL rules. They have the rosters from last year on the same tab which is nice to refer to as well. Check them out.

- It was mentioned the other day that Brian McMillin has signed to play in The Netherlands. The team he will be playing for is in the city of Eindhoven which is in the southern part of the country. It is the place where a couple of brothers (Gerard & Anton Philips) started Philips, a small light bulb factory in 1891 that grew into one of the largest electronics firms in the world. Brian's team is called the Eindhoven Kamphanen which means "fighting roosters" in English.

- One of the topics covered in the podcast last night was the release of the schedule for the upcoming season. A draft schedule has been out for sometime but there are still a couple of things to be decided (like is there going to be an all-star game) and some final tweaks as a result of the meeting this week. According to Bob Hoffman the final schedule should be out in the next week.

- If you are an Allen fan you have to listen to the Steve Martinson interview which was part of the live podcast from the meeting in Arizona. It was classic Martinson with his tell it like it is, open and honest approach to every question.

- Did a quick check of the transfers in and out of the CHL for the upcoming season and found a few interesting facts. The big one is 26 players from the CHL have signed to play overseas but only three players have moved from overseas to the CHL. The CHL has lost five players to the ECHL but four players from the ECHL have signed with CHL teams.

- For those that can't wait until opening night we are 93 days from raising another championship banner to the rafters of the Allen Event Center.

- If you haven't seen the YouTube video "Mic'd Up In The UHL"  that has been making the rounds it might be worth a look with a couple of warnings. It is an old video of a Steve Martinson coached team, the 2004-2005 Rockford Ice Hogs in the United Hockey League. In one portion of the video the Ice Hogs are playing the Motor City Mechanics who had NHL stars Chris Chelios who was 42 at the time and Derion Hatcher who was 32 at the time playing for them because of the NHL lockout that year. The star of the video along with Martinson is Jason Ralph, a graduate of Union College and a career minor league player.  This video makes the rounds every year and some find it funny and some find it offensive. But it does give you an idea of the chirping that takes place on the ice between players, coaches and officials. WARNING: Expletives not deleted and it is not politically correct.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Barry The Blogger" Is Depressed And In A Funk

Woke up this morning and had no intention of writing a blog post but the more I thought about my day yesterday and this off season the more I felt the need to get down on paper how I was feeling. For those that know me, writing about myself is not what this blog is about. I received plenty of advice from the professional writers to stay away from "I and "we" when writing about the Allen Americans. Well this post is going to be nothing but "I and "we." 

We are in the doldrums of the off season and for the avid hockey fan waiting for the hockey season to start  gets to you this time of year. But what I am feeling is much deeper than that. Call it depressed, sad, miserable, downhearted, dejected, dispirited, blue, let down, disappointed, in a funk, low, well you get the picture.

Change is inevitable in minor pro hockey and turnover happens but to have the apple cart upset so much this year after back to back championships has been really hard to take. I spend so much time  talking to the players, coaches, and staff they become friends more than you could imagine. This overwhelming wave of change started at the top of the organization and way before the end of the season. I know both Doug Miller and Mark Miller and they are both great guys who love hockey. I don't pretend to know all of the details related to the ownership change but I will miss them both.

So please indulge me as I take a trip down memory lane with some friends I have made while covering the Allen Americans.

A month or so before the end of the season, equipment manager Kacee Coberly tells me he is hanging it up after the season, moving back to Oklahoma City and taking a more family friendly job outside of hockey. After interviewing Kacee (it is in the archive to the right, Meet Kacee Coberly - Equipment Manager Extraordinaire" dated October 30, 2103) we became friends and talked all of the time. Here is a guy that is 27 years old with 17 years experience working in hockey. I was convinced he was headed to the NHL. I hated to see him leave and really miss him being around but he did what was right for his family.
Kacee with, wife Roxanne, was CHL "Equipment Manager of the Year"

Then the season ended with the joy of the championship and within a week many of the players were scattered to the winds. It wasn't long and the rumors started that Richard Matvichuk was a candidate for the coaching job in Missouri and as we all know now he was selected from a candidate pool of over 100.  Matty was another person I talked to frequently and he was always willing to chat about hockey, family and life. You can see his enthusiasm and love of the game when you watch him coach and what a motivator. And if you want to get in a "chirping contest" I suggest avoiding Matvichuk. Funny, playful and serious all at the same time. He was the one that gave me the nickname "Barry The Blogger" and  I miss him.
Richard Matvichuk cracking up the defensemen - photo courtesy

Osama Kassab was the head trainer for only one year but was also a friend and he decided to leave hockey and attend Chiropractic College in California.

 Player turnover is a way of life in the CHL and it is to be expected. But as the summer has worn on the losses at a personal level have been dramatic. Daniel Tetrault and Ross Rouleau have said they are retiring and the signings elsewhere have increased. Bruce & Whitney Graham decided to return to Nottingham, England where they had so much fun and success in 2012-2013. Their daughter, Harper, would always say "Hi, Barry" whenever she would see me and it was so cute. It was hard saying goodbye to the Graham's the first time but this time was even more difficult.
Whitney, Harper, Bruce & London Graham

The exodus has continued with Bryan Pitton to Poland, Garrett Klotz to Indianapolis, Anthony Maiani to Denmark, Mike Berube to England, Kale Kerbashian to Evansville, Trevor Hendrikx to England, Dallas Ehrhardt to Missouri and Brian McMillin to The Netherlands.

The disappointment is not over as it would be a miracle if either Jarret Lukin or Spencer Asuchak return and Alex Lavoie is a longshot. There is still hope Phil Fox and Greger Hanson might come back. To have so much turnover isn't fun especially guys like Berube and Lukin whose heart and soul has been with the Americans. They are all great guys who were willing to answer whatever was asked by, "Barry The Blogger."

Yesterday turned out to be a particularly difficult one for me and it started out with having lunch with Brian McMillin. You know if you have been reading my blog for a while that Brian and Wendy McMillin have become like family to me and my wife Nancy. Maybe it is because we are all from Minnesota or the fact that Brian and I both enjoy fishing and hunting and have done both together in Texas. Nancy and I always kid Brian and Wendy about being the grandkids we don't have. I have met their parents and most of their siblings and they are all great people. So when I sat down with Brian for lunch it was like one of your grandchildren telling you they are moving away. You know in your head it is a great opportunity to see Europe while playing a game they love. It is the perfect time to experience new people, new things, in a new place, before hockey is over and they start a family and new career. It all makes perfect sense in your head but your heart is hurting. No dove hunting in September before training camp starts, no striper fishing trip to Lake Texoma, no bass fishing in private ponds and oh how I will miss those games when Wendy would sit by me when Nancy didn't attend a game. Talk about a woman that knows hockey and is intense. It is a treat (and educational) spending a game sitting next to Wendy McMillin. (If you have never read the story I did about Wendy check it out as it is one of the most popular posts I have ever written.  You can find it in the archives dated January 20, 2013, "Wendy McMillin - Hockey Wife and Sports Star.) And like all good grandkids, when I told Brian and Wendy we will be coming to visit them in Europe they said, "That sounds great." haha
Nancy, Brian, Wendy an me when the McMillin's visited the Heritage Ranch Fan Club

I had just returned  home from lunch yesterday when I received a text message from Tom Manning, Director of Game Operations for the Americans saying it was his last day with the Americans as he was taking a job with UPS. I immediately drove over to The Allen Event Center to say goodbye. Tom is involved and responsible for much of the entertainment you see during games and between periods. He is a creative guy, an entertainer at heart, and always looking for the next great idea. We have had a lot of conversations over years and I know moving on was a tough decision for Tom as he loved his job. But if you work in minor league hockey you can be assured of long hours and you don't get rich. Tom's dad had a career at UPS and I think he is hoping to follow in his dad's footsteps. Tom is another guy with a great and supportive family. I have met his mom, Sandy, who is a big Allen Americans fan. Tom will be missed when I stop by the Allen Americans front office but at least he is still in the area and we will see him during the season when he attends games. And if I know Tom, he will probably make an appearance or two during the season in some prank or skit. Good Luck Tom!
Tommy Manning celebrates the championship with his mom and sister

 They say bad news comes in threes and after talking to Brian about moving to The Netherlands and Tom Manning about leaving to join UPS the third event of the day was depressing only in the way in came about. I get a call from my lovely wife Nancy and she says she is at the car dealership, has a nail in the side wall of her tire and it can't be repaired and has to be replaced. And then I hear, "Maybe instead of buying a new tire I should just buy a new car." After I quit laughing and determined she wasn't joking I figured out she wanted me to ask Brooklyn Rivera, Ice Angel/Admintrative Assistant for the Americans to call her husband, Eddie, to fix up Nancy with a good deal on a new car.  Nancy drives a Toyota Prius and I had told her a few months ago that Brooklyn's husband works for Pat Lobb Toyota so when she needed a new car Eddie will fix her up. Never dreamed it would happen so soon seeing she only has 60,000 miles on her four year old Prius. Bottom line is we met Eddie Rivera at 4:30 and Nancy drove her brand new "Allen Americans" edition Toyota Prius home in just a couple of hours. If you are ever in the market for a new Toyota contact Brooklyn or Eddie Rivera and you will get a heck of a deal. My final piece of advise is don't ever let your wife go to a new car dealership if she has a low tire.
Eddie & Brooklyn Rivera with daughter Rhema
Nancy's new Prius
So there you have it. I feel better having put down on paper what all of these folks mean to me. Soon we will be focusing on a new team and a new season with all of the excitement that brings. I know Steve Martinson is working very hard recruiting the next group of players,  a trainer, an equipment manager and even an assistant coach. As always, he will have some surprises up his sleeve. And while there are lots of players that won't be back there is a strong group that will and they will all be important to the success of the team. I am talking about Trevor and Tyler Ludwig, Jamie Schaafsma, Jonathan Lessard and Darryl Bootland. The front office is hard at work preparing for the upcoming season and as they say in show business, the show must go on. Tommy Daniels has some great new ideas for the upcoming season. It won't be long before we meet some new friends but we sure won't forget the old friends.