ALLEN, TX – It was a busy day yesterday if you are a fan of the Allen Americans with a lot of activity and news to talk about. The day started with a three-on-three tournament at the North Dallas Pond Hockey Training Center on their 100′ x 42′ ice rink (the AEC ice surface is 200′ x 85′). The round robin tournament between Team Chouinard, Team Pierro-Zabotel, and Team Aubin was a lot of fun to watch, and it was great to see so many familiar faces who were anxious to see some hockey and take a look at the 2017-18 Allen Americans roster.
– This practice was just for fun, and the players seem to be really enjoying themselves. For the record, the winner of the mini-tournament on the mini-ice was Team Aubin. The winning team was captain Mathieu Aubin, Mike Gunn, Jonathan Lessard, Zach Pochiro and goalie Riley Gill.
– After the three-on-three tourney, there was supposed to be a shootout contest where all of the skaters have a shootout attempt and everyone that scores advances to the next round. That process continues until one winner survives. After the first round of shootouts, nobody scored as the goalies stopped all 13 skaters. Coach Steve Martinson declared the three goalies the winners of the shootout contest and they got to split the pot.
– There were some new faces on the ice for the Americans. It was the first chance for the fans to see Mathieu Aubin (#9), Dalton Thrower (#47), Zach Pochiro (#18) and Tyler Coulter (#11).
– There were also three tryout players participating yesterday. Goalies Charlie Finn and Matt Zenzola along with forward Max Cook.
– One returning player with a new number is Tanner Eberle who has traded in #22 and will wear #77 this season. Per Tanner, he is just trying to change things up so went with #77.
STEVE MARTINSON’S FAN FEST COMMENTS
– After the activities at the pond hockey facility, fans had just enough time to grab lunch and head over to the Allen Event Center to hear coach Martinson give his “state of the team” address and answer any questions the fans might have. It was a standing room only crowd and they weren’t disappointed as coach Martinson was his usual open, honest and entertaining self. Here is a sampling of what Martinson had to say:
– One player that is in camp that we are just announcing today is Tyler Coulter. He is a rookie from the Western Hockey League (WHL) that had 30 goals, 63 points and 100 penalty minutes last season. After I did a deal with his agent I asked Tyler how he would describe his style of play and he said, “I like to be a defenseman’s worst nightmare.” I saw several of his fights on YouTube and noticed each time it was because he ran somebody. He looks like a smaller version of Vincent Arseneau.
– We are also announcing today the signing of Peter MacArthur. He led Adirondack in scoring last season (24 goals 39 assists) and was also captain of the team. He has played in 190 AHL games and has also played in Europe. Everyone I talked to had great things to say about Peter. He is always in great shape, is a team-first player and should do very well in our system. MacArthur is 32, but I think he will have a big year for us.
– Everyone can carry the puck but this year we have four or five guys that are very high-level puck carriers, and with injuries and call-ups it can be a problem if you don’t have enough of those type of players. We have some guys that go north and south up and down the wing and arrive in the corners with speed and toughness like Arseneau, Eberle, and Lessard but we also have guys like Hall, Pochiro, and MacArthur that go east and west and can slow things down, carry the puck from side to side and make plays.
– I like our mix of skill, size, speed and physical play which are all key components of success in the ECHL. I am really excited to see this group all together later in training camp when we get guys back from San Jose.
– Spencer Asuchak is flying back from Slovakia to Canada on Wednesday. I am waiting to see if San Jose is going to sign him. One way or another Asuchak will be here, and my guess is it would be sometime after next weekend. That will be a significant addition that we were not expecting. Going to Europe is enticing because they pay more and it is tax-free money. Europe is not for everyone. I went once and am never going back. It works for some players but not others. It didn’t work for me!
– It is great having Arseneau back. We didn’t announce his return to Allen earlier to give him an opportunity to sign an AHL deal. Vince missed so many games last season I knew it would be virtually impossible for him to get an AHL deal.
– I moved Kyle Neuber because we are so tough. Josh Thrower was the toughest guy in the WHL last year which is the toughest junior league in the world. His brother (Dalton) is tough, Rissling is 6′ 4″ and 215 and doesn’t have an ounce of fat, and he is tough. Obviously, we have Vince, Lessard, Eberle, Gunn and a lot of other guys that have plenty of toughness. So on paper, I think we will have the hardest team to play against since I have been in Allen.
– I was in San Jose earlier this week, and our guys looked good, but they got shellacked 6-0 Thursday in their first preseason game. The goalie we are supposed to get (Stephon Williams) only gave up one goal in that game. He is an experienced goalie that played well against us last year when he was in Kansas City. When they asked me my opinion, I told them I would prefer a guy with experience in pro hockey rather than a first-year guy. With first-year guys you never know. Williams should do a good job for us.
– I traded a few guys over the summer, and one I would like to talk about is Dyson Stevenson. There are a lot of things related to that trade that I am not going to talk about. I am hoping Dyson can get a bigger role in Wichita.
– Aaron Gens is still dealing with medical issues but has clearance to go on the ice and help out, and that is what he will be doing. Where that goes from here, they are not sure at this time. There is nothing worse for a hockey player than to be injured and not being able to participate. I remind players it is part of playing, but it is miserable to sit out.
– We will practice in the community rink Monday thru Thursday at 10:00 am and fans are invited to attend. I am going to try and get the preseason game on Friday switched to an earlier time than 8:45 pm. I just found out it was scheduled at 8:45 and that is too late. On Monday I will see if we can get whoever is scheduled for the ice earlier would be willing to switch times with us.
– I have had player/assistants in the past and part of my thinking with Casey Pierro-Zabotel was he has moved around a lot and with a family that isn’t easy. I know that first hand because I did that. We are going to start a program to help married players with families as they have a unique situation and I want to do some things that will make it easier to keep them. With Casey one of things I wanted to do was help him with his future and maybe he won’t have to move around so much. To be a player/assistant you have to know your stuff and Casey is a smart player. He did a great job mentoring the younger players when he was here before. He is a big part of the penalty kill and will help me coaching in that area.
– We went to a meeting in Reading a couple of weeks ago where Jack Gulati brought in all the key employees and we had a meeting with the league about sales and marketing ideas. I have never been involved in a meeting like that and it was really good. Jack has owned many businesses and I think he said one time he has never owned a business for less than five years. He is using a lot of his prior business experience in how he runs his hockey teams. We are being run differently than anything I have ever seen which is exciting to me. It has been really nice having the ownership change.
– Late last night I heard from coach Martinson after he had a chance to talk to San Jose following the Barracuda’s second preseason (they won 2-1 in OT). The five Allen tryout players (Olivier Archambault, Vincent Arseneau, Marcus Basara, Jaynen Rissling, Josh Thrower) have been released and are heading back to Allen. Also, David Makowski, who is a San Jose contracted player, has been assigned to Allen and will be joining the Americans.
– With the six players returning from San Jose and the arrival of Peter MacArthur by the time practice rolls around on Monday there should be 23 players in training camp.
– Here is the press release issued by the Americans on the signing of Peter MacArthur and Tyler Coulter. https://allenamericans.com/americans-add-key-piece-puzzle-signing-peter-macarthur/
DID YOU KNOW: Adding MacArthur and Coulter to the roster raised the average age from 25.11 to 25.25. MacArthur will be the oldest skater on the team at 32 and Coulter will be the youngest at 21, just a few months younger than Josh Thrower.