ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans season came to an abrupt end last night when the ECHL announced the season would be canceled. This coming just two days after the season was suspended. If you haven’t seen the announcement from the league, here it is.

When the ECHL Board of Governors (BOG) voted yesterday to cancel the season, I am sure the health and safety of the players, employees, and fans was top of mind. Far better safe than sorry. The ECHL BOG may end up being the leader in foreseeing what is to come in the next weeks and months. It is also a fact there are many ECHL teams that would have extreme difficulty keeping the status quo on expenses with no revenue.

As I write the blog this morning, I have a mixture of feelings from disappointment to sadness to disheartened. The Allen Americans typically play into May and June, and even last season when they didn’t make the playoffs, the last game was April 6. It is dispiriting to know the last game this season was played on March 7 and it will be 220 days before hockey returns.

This coronavirus pandemic impacts everyone both personally and professionally, but my thoughts this morning are with the Allen Americans coaches, players, and staff. The theme of this season was “Redemption” after missing the playoffs last season. The team was positioned for a deep playoff run with a real shot at another Kelly Cup.

Being at the rink most days, I have seen how the front office employees wear many different hats and work their butts off through trying times. I have seen the players dealing with off ice issues, but give 110% on this ice. When you see how hard everyone has worked to have what was a promising season end this way has me feeling for them this morning.

Not sure what the ECHL plans are for the typical awards given out to players at the end of the year. Allen Head Coach Steve Martinson thinks the league will still have the awards as voting is now taking place. Tyler Sheehy should be a lock for Rookie of the Year. Tyler finished the season with 70 points (26G, 44A) in just 47 games. His 70 points is 15 points more than any other rookie. Tyler finished third in the overall scoring race but led the league in average points per game at 1.49. Over a 72-game season, that would be 107 points. Those are Chad Costello-like numbers. In Chad’s three seasons in Allen, his points per game average was 1.74, 1.43, and 1.69.

The other Allen player that should get an award is Alex Breton as Defenseman of the Year. Alex led all defensemen in points (44), was sixth in goals (11) and was tied with Sheehy for the most assists overall (44). Breton finished with a plus/minus of plus-20, which ranked 11th among defensemen.

With the season canceled, this will be my last regular blog. I will post periodically when I have any news about the team. It is hard to put into words my appreciation whether you read the blog every day or are a casual fan that stumbles across my daily musings. It has been my pleasure to meet many of you and your words of encouragement in person at games, comments at the end of each blog, posts on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and email have been very satisfying and inspiring.

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.

Thanks to Steve Martinson and his staff (Assistant Coach Jason Deitsch, Assistant Coach Chris Meriney, Goalie Coach Chris Johansen, Trainer Jordan Dutton, Equipment Mananger Tim Abbott) for always being willing to talk to me and help educate me. A special thanks to Coach Martinson, for always taking my calls, answering my texts, allowing me to stop by his office after every game & 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.

There are too many people to thank for the help during the season from the front office, ice crew, off-ice officials, interns, media, photographers, event center staff, bloggers, and many fans. It does take a village to gather and share the information in the blog and my thanks to all of you.

DID YOU KNOW…

In the last 15 seasons, every Kelly Cup has been won by teams finishing in the top seven in the regular season. Only four times did the champion finish lower than fourth in the regular season. With the ECHL season canceled, a lot of teams are saying “what if” had the playoffs taken place. Here are the top seven when the season was canceled. The eventual Kelly Cup champion would have most likely come from the top four below, but would definitely come from this list based on past history.

.742 – South Carolina Stingrays
.742 – Florida Everblades
.710 – Allen Americans
.708 – Newfoundland Growlers
.669 – Toledo Walleye
.667 – Cincinnati Cyclones
.667 – Reading Royals

Here are the last 15 Kelly Cup champions with their regular season finish in parenthesis. Anyone who says once you get in the playoffs anything can happen hasn’t looked at ECHL history.

2019 – Newfoundland (3rd)
2018 – Colorado (4th)
2017 – Colorado (3rd)
2016 – Allen (6th)
2015 – Allen (2nd)
2014 – Alaska (1st)
2013 – Reading (2nd)
2012 – Florida (7th)
2011 – Alaska (1st)
2010 – Cincinnati (5th)
2009 – South Carolina (4th)
2008 – Cincinnati (1st)
2007 – Idaho (6th)
2006 – Alaska (1st)
2005 – Trenton (4th)

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