The big day has finally arrived as the 2015-16 version of the Allen Americans took to the ice for the first time for a formal team practice. The team skated for two hours at the Allen Event Center Community Rink from 10:00 a.m. to noon and the practice is open to the public the rest of the week.

All of the Allen contracted players who were at the San Jose Barracuda training camp (Justin Baker, Mike DiPaolo, Greger Hanson, David Makowski, Gary Steffes) have returned and should be on the ice this morning. Goalie Joel Rumpel and defenseman Danny Frederico have also been assigned to Allen by San Jose but not sure when they will arrive.

– The Americans held a “meet the players” session on Saturday which included returning players, newly signed players and players that are in camp on tryout agreements. Missing were all of the Allen players still in camp with the San Jose Barracuda (AHL).
– The Allen players in camp with the Barracuda continued to make their presence known in the final preseason game on Saturday. San Jose lost to Bakersfield 4-2 with Joel Rumpel in goal. Mike DiPaolo had one of the two goals for the Barracuda along with a fighting major and Justin Baker assisted on both San Jose goals.

– Steve Martinson was joined by defenseman Aaron Gens for a Q & A in the Allen Americans locker room after the meet the players session on Saturday. It was the first time many of the fans in attendance had seen the locker room. Here are a few of the comments from the Q & A session.

– It will be kind of a strange camp for me because we will have a lot of guys back which hasn’t been the case the last couple of years. We have just one preseason game which will be in Wichita on Saturday (October 10th).

– We still have a lot of guys in San Jose and they are doing well at the Barracuda camp. Arseneau was playing his usual physical game, Greger Hanson looked like he always does flying around hitting guys and getting his shots, Steffes played well and had a screen on a goal. Justin Baker has shown himself real well in camp looking just like he did in Allen. Chris Crane was also having a great camp but he got injured on Thursday and will be out for a while.

– I am anxious to get everybody in camp as we have a good mix of returning guys and new guys. The Barracuda have three forwards hurt so we will probably not get a forward assigned as I was anticipating.

– Because we have better younger players this year than last year I may be able to carry more players this season. We are bigger and stronger than we were last year but I don’t think we have sacrificed any skill.

– Ian Schultz won’t be ready for the start of the season but will be a big help when we get him back.

– My goal this year is to not get into it with the referees, treat them with respect, and hope they see our team differently.

– It is always fun this time of year when guys show up for camp. There has just been four or five of us local guys skating for a while so it is awesome to get everyone here to see what they bring to the ice. Our style is a puck possession game and from what I have seen already the new defensemen this year handle the puck really well and see the ice well. I think we will be stacked in the back end again and will have a group that will play hard, move the puck and get it to the guys that need it.

– I think most players would want to be the captain of the team but we have many guys that are great leaders and go out and lead by example so it doesn’t matter at the end of the day who is the captain.

– One of the players that will be in camp on a tryout has a real familiar name. Goalie Dayn Belfour, son of hall of fame goalie Ed Belfour, who played in Sweden last year, will join Riley Gill as the two goalies at practice today.

– Jack Combs, who was in camp with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) has been loaned to their ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Have to imagine a lot of “Jack Rabbit” puns and jokes on the way.

DID YOU KNOW: The two most prolific scorers in Allen Americans history will be leading the team again this year. Between the regular season and playoffs Chad Costello had a total of 153 points last season and Gary Steffes had 57 goals (61 if you include his AHL goals). Amazing records!

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