ALLEN, TX – You couldn’t help but notice there was something different when you walked into the Allen Event Center (AEC) Community Rink yesterday for the first day of training camp for the Allen Americans.
The first thought was where are all the players and the second thought was who are these players. It was training camp number eight for the franchise and rather than close to 30 players to start camp there were just 18. Because of the recent World Cup, AHL camps are taking place at the same time as ECHL camps so the Americans have many players at AHL camps. Between the seven signed Allen players at AHL camps along with another five or six that will be assigned by San Jose, there were 11 or 12 players not participating yesterday that will be on the roster when the season commences.
– There were 10 signed players on the ice yesterday. The forwards were Chad Costello, Gary Steffes, Tristan King, J.P. LaFontaine and Kale Kerbashian. The defensemen were Aaron Gens, Rick Pinkston, Joel Chouinard and Mike Gunn. Goalie Riley Gill rounded out the 10 signed players.
– There were eight tryout players that joined the veteran group. Most of these players have SPHL deals and have little chance of making the team. The names that were on the ECHL transaction list yesterday include goalie Peter Di Salvo, defenseman Graeme Strukoff, forwards Tayler Thompson, Mike Driscoll, Igor Leonenko, Bryan Sullivan, and Nikita Litvyak.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST PRACTICE COMMENTS
This was the 21st training camp for Steve Martinson as a head coach. I had a chance to sit down with him after practice and get his thoughts.
– It is a strange training camp because we have so many guys missing this week. There were so many different types and colors of helmets out there today with all of the tryout guys. I told the staff to try and get everyone in red helmets. It is a little inconvenient but it looks better.
– With just 18 players on the ice, practice today reminded me of practice during the season when we have some guys hurt.
– I try not to do much at the start of training camp. I remember from my playing days when we were pushed so hard at first you were in a constant state of being tired. I try to take it a little slower so the guys can stay fresh.
– I thought the returning guys looked great. They look in shape and you can see the work they put in this summer.
– I thought the tryout guys looked good as well. With the number of players we have signed it will be tough for any of them to make the roster.
– I need to figure out who will play in the exhibition game in Wichita on Saturday. The plan is for the guys in San Jose to return on Friday unless the Barracuda decide to keep them. Chris Crane (Chicago) and Spencer Asuchak (Toronto) will not return for the weekend. I need to balance how many tryout guys to play and how many signed guys to play. Some of the signed players will not make the trip to Wichita.
– The ice in the main AEC rink will be put down starting today. The staff is installing new netting above the glass at each end of the rink and when that is completed the several day process of getting the ice surface ready will begin. Have been told it will take the better part of three days to get the ice ready.
– Saw this quote from Joel Rumpel in a story by Dakota Johnson from Team Sin Bin. Joel is now with the Cincinnati Cyclones as was talking about his experience in Allen the past two championship years. “It was pretty special, considering some players don’t get the chance to win a championship,” remarked Rumpel. “I learned a lot from my teammates down in Allen. Leadership is crucial. I think it’s huge to find the right leaders to be able to run a hockey team, and how you need to act around your team to bring a winning attitude.”
DID YOU KNOW: Steve Martinson’s first professional team was the Toledo Goaldiggers in 1981-82. He scored 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 35 games his rookie season along with 128 penalty minutes which included 13 fights. He fought one guy (Derek Davis) three times in one game. Martinson’s quote after the game as he was laying on the trainer’s table with an ice pack over his left eye,”He got me only once in all of that fighting, an uppercut. It’s a minor black and blue eye. Nothing I haven’t had before.”