ALLEN, TX – For the first time since I started writing the Allen Americans Blog five years ago, the season has ended with a loss. Almost hard to comprehend it has been five years and the first season ending loss was on Tuesday.
But this is 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 to thank all of the people that help me.
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. 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 has promoted the blog as fair and balanced and also have 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.
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 have gotten away from and 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, Thomas Speer, Luke Chilcott, Jaime Garcia, Tim Abbott) for always being willing to talk to me and help educate me. 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 tremendous help to me. He 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. It was a special treat to be part on an hour long pregame show during the home playoff games this year. It is always fun to talk Allen Americans hockey with Tommy and Maurice.
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. I always describe myself as the between periods fill-in guest when nobody else is available. There are plenty of people around during the playoffs but for those midweek games in October and November, I am in high demand.
Thanks to team photographer Dianne Webster who works tirelessly to provide pictures for the blog and The Sin Bin. Dianne has immersed herself in this team and spends an inordinate about of time, effort and money to deliver a high-quality product for everyone to see.
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 also to Joe Ernst, Vice President of Hockey Operations, for his willingness to answer all of my questions whenever asked.
Thanks to the entire Team Sin Bin group which has welcomed me into their group for the third year and made it very easy for me to get my stories on their site (thesinbin.net). Special thanks to Matt Harding (SinBinThunder) and Joe Rozycki (SinBinMavs).
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my lovely wife of almost 40 years, 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 a few readers are kind enough to let me know of these errors so corrections can be made. Their help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, John, Paul, Mary, Ted, Matt and Madison. I am sure they will find a mistake somewhere in this blog post.
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 last season, I flew home early to catch the championship finals. This 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 would be all my fault if the Americans lost because I decided to not go on the fishing trip. So I guess it is my fault the team lost because I opted to not sign up for the fishing trip this year.
Turns out there is a silver lining to the dark cloud with Allen losing in the second round of the playoffs. I talked to my fishing buddies yesterday and they are making room for me on the trip. Since I am the camp cook and a couple of these guys couldn’t even find the kitchen in their own homes, I think they were elated Allen lost.
DID YOU KNOW: If you are a student of Allen Americans history this week is the most memorable of any single week of the year. In five of Allen’s eight-year history the season ended this week. Do you remember these games?
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
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
May 9, 2017 – A 4-3 loss to Colorado in the ECHL Mountain Division finals
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. Remember, it is only 163 days to opening night at the Allen Event Center!