ALLEN, TX – It has been a busy week or so for the Allen Americans with Vincent Arseneau signing with the Wichita Thunder, Casey Pierro-Zabotel signing with the Colorado Eagles, along with the announcement that Chris Crane and Tanner Eberle have signed to play in Allen for the 2016-17 season.
To top things off the Americans had a live signing at their open house event last Saturday as they welcomed back alternate captain Aaron Gens.
– The Allen roster is now up to eleven players including eight forwards (Chad Costello, JP LaFontaine, Dyson Stevenson, Kale Kerbashian, Kyle Neuber, Gary Steffes, Chris Crane, Tanner Eberle), two defensemen (Joel Chouinard & Aaron Gens) and one goalie (Riley Gill).
– Chris Crane scored 21 goals last season which placed him third on the team trailing only Chad Costello (24) and Gary Steffes (22). Crane played in only 41 games before having a season ending injury. His .51 goals per game average was the highest on the team.
– Tanner Eberle returns to Allen where he originally signed in the 2014-15 season. Tanner played just five games (2 goals 2 assists) before he was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) and never returned. Last season he was scheduled to come back to Allen but signed a one way deal with the Iowa Wild (AHL). Let’s hope the third time is a charm and Allen fans will be able see more of Eberle this season. Despite his lack of size (5’11” 185), Eberle’s speed and ability to hit have made him an effective two-way player. If Tanner can stay healthy (he played in just 45 games last season) he will be a great addition for Allen.
– Aaron Gens returns for his third season with the Americans and the two time Kelly Cup champion is happy to be back. There was never any doubt on his return. When Gens was not on the qualifying offer list that came out end of June it was obvious he had already been signed. It just took a while for it to be officially announced. I had a chance to ask Aaron about his return, his off season, the Kelly Cup victory last year and how the roster is shaping up for next season.
Here is that interview:
– Coach Steve Martinson reports he has come to terms with several defenseman and is in the process of getting contracts signed and approved by the league. He is very pleased with how the roster is coming together. Martinson will return to Allen from his summer home in Rockford at the end of next week.
This will be the last ownership update for the foreseeable future for the simple reason that all potential deals have fallen by the wayside and the team will have the current owners for the upcoming season. You can never say with 100% certainty the team won’t be sold because at the right price every team is for sale but the realistic answer is the team isn’t for sale.
You may ask how will things be different for the upcoming season? I had a chance to meet Shawn Kuzmin this week. Shawn has been hired as the new CEO of Steven Brothers Sports Management and brings with him 20 years of sales, service and marketing experience working for some incredible brands including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Pistons and Florida Panthers. Shawn is responsible for leading the overall direction of all three Steven Brothers’ owned ECHL teams (Allen, Tulsa, Wichita). From my brief conversation with Shawn it is clear he understands the challenges, issues and problems that must be dealt with in Allen in order to make the franchise as successful off the ice as it has been on the ice. I will have more details in a future blog post.
– It is that time when the Allen players that live in the DFW area will start getting together to skate a few times per week in preparation for training camp. Per the ECHL, September 29th is the first day players can report to camp and the 30th is the first day for on ice sessions.
– Each year there are always a lot of questions from fans why players don’t return after winning a championship and it is important to remember the reasons are many and they don’t always relate to what happens on the ice. While some players use the opportunity to make more money elsewhere (especially overseas) other players don’t come back because they are not offered a contract. Factors such as veteran status, salary demands, housing and insurance costs, off ice behavior and even if a player is a right shot or left shot impact whether a player is offered a contract. The bottom line is there are many reasons players do not return and on ice performance is just one factor.
– The Americans are putting the final touches on the promotional schedule for the upcoming season for those that have an interest. It will be posted here when it is official.
DID YOU KNOW: In the last ten days there have been over 60 player announcements around the ECHL. Fort Wayne continues to lead the pack with 23 players already announced while Norfolk has yet to announce a single player.