ALLEN, Texas – If you are on social media you most likely saw the Allen Americans announced yesterday that I have been selected as the “Official Blogger” for the team. If you haven’t seen them here is the press release the team issued and the video announcement that captain Joel Chouinard was kind enough to do.
– I want to thank everyone for all the messages of congratulation. It was great to hear from so many here in Allen, from former players and their families, from fans around the ECHL some of which I have known since the CHL days and from fellow bloggers and writers. I have even heard from a lot of my friends on my personal Facebook account who have no idea where Allen is located or even if it is a town or a person. If they planned to go to an Allen Americans game they would have no idea if they were going to see hockey or soccer. They are just impressed, knowing me, that at my age I am doing anything productive unless you call hunting and fishing productive.
– I do want to address several questions asked about how the blog will change now that I am the official blogger of the Allen Americans. The short answer is not at all but here is how this came about. I was first approached about this move prior to the beginning of last season. The goal was pretty simple, is there a way to drive traffic from my blog to the Allen Americans website. During the hockey season, there are between 35,000 & 40,000 page views of the blog each month. I have deliberately avoided trying to monetize this traffic. I don’t make a dime from the blog, refuse advertising and guard my independence more than anything. I have always seen my customer as the hockey fan but I am also interested in the success of the franchise.
– After the disappointing end to last season I did a wrap up interview with Steve Martinson which covered a myriad of topics and at some point, he asked again if I would consider trying to help the team get more traffic to their website. That was the impetus for me to take a hard look at a way to be the official blogger and still maintain my independence. We had several meetings over the summer and the Americans could not have been more accommodating to allay my concerns about me keeping my independence, being able to say what I want, not approving my blog posts, not becoming a marketing tool and being about the on ice product. Once everyone was in an agreement which didn’t take that long, we spent the summer working on all of the operational details. There will certainly be a learning curve for me as the software I use is different than what is used by the Americans but I am going out on a limb and say you can teach an old dog a new trick.
– That is a long winded way to say the blog will not change in form and substance. What is new is I will also post the blog every day on the Allen Americans website and provide other content that won’t be in the blog. The goal is to have fans visit the Allen Americans website frequently because there is interesting content about the team. One feature I will be doing every week during this 10th anniversary season is “Where Are They Now” which will only be posted on the Americans website. If there is a former player you would like to hear from let me know and I will try and contact them.
TRAINING CAMP UPDATE
– I always get asked if anyone stands out of the new guys in training camp. If I had to pick one player that I hear the most buzz about it would be Kevin Sundher. If you are attending the preseason games this weekend keep an eye on #9. He has blazing speed and a bunch of offensive moves.
– Speaking of numbers it is always interesting to see what jersey numbers are assigned to the new players in camp. With so many more players showing up sometime this week, numbers for new players will mostly like change. Here are a few of the numbers. It is predictable a bigger guy (Lucas Clark) is wearing Aresenau’s #16, the tough guy on a tryout contract (Mitch Vandergunst) is wearing Derek Mathers‘ #33 and Ben Duffy (5’11” 180 pounds) is wearing the #77 of Tanner Eberle (5’11” 184 pounds). So much for your favorite number, it’s all about which jersey fits.
– There will be a lot of players headed to Allen this week from Iowa and the trickle down process has already begun. The Minnesota Wild reduced their roster to 25 yesterday by sending seven players to the Iowa Wild. The next step in the trickle down process is for Iowa to send players to Allen. Iowa starts their regular season on Friday so players will be sent in the next three days. There will be two groups, the Allen contracted players who are in Iowa and the Iowa contracted players that will be assigned to Allen. Stay tuned as this process could begin at any time.
– Another possibility to consider even with all of the players in camp and coming from Iowa is other players could be signed. Martinson has mentioned several times that good players will become available as they get released by AHL teams. Something to keep an eye on as AHL teams are now reducing their rosters in preparation for the start of the regular season.
– Not sure when coach Martinson will start making cuts from training camp but it makes sense with the addition of a bunch of players from Iowa prior to the weekend you can assume there will be players released after the two preseason games against Kansas City on Friday (7:00 pm) and Saturday (4:30 pm).
DID YOU KNOW: From the book “Texas on Ice” – In the 50 years before Texas got its own NHL team in 1993 the state was home to five professional leagues and 13 franchises featuring 1011 players. Only nine percent of the players were American while 88 percent came from Canada. The other three percent came from 11 different countries; Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, Italy, Lebanon, and Yugoslavia.