ALLEN, TX – The hockey season is officially here as the San Jose Sharks training camp got underway Friday. The AHL and ECHL training camps will follow in sequence. You can check out the first day of Sharks camp through some videos on their website:

– It is extraordinary to have David Makowski and Bryan Moore attending an NHL camp. What a great experience for them no matter where they end up playing this season. Here is a photo from the first day a camp with a couple of familiar names:

Photo Courtesy: NHL/San Jose Sharks

– There has been nothing issued by the ECHL or the Allen Americans concerning training camps, and several of you have asked about those details. For some reason, all of these details typically are issued just before the start of training camp. I know some fans take time off work the first days of training camp so they can come and watch. The ECHL critical dates will probably be issued in the next week, however, based on what is already known and history, it is relatively easy to figure out the training camp dates before they are officially released. Here is my best guess on the dates.

– What is already known is the ECHL season kicks off October 13 with the first regular season games. Preseason games start as early as October 5. The Allen Americans preseason games are in the community rink on October 6 (8:45 pm) and October 7 (5:30 pm). Details on tickets for the preseason games are still not out, but seating capacity in the community rink is very limited.  On the community rink’s website, it says seating capacity for “over 300 spectators” so even with a standing room you can expect tickets will be limited.

– Based on the ECHL critical dates from past years you can be pretty sure the key dates will be as follows when they are issued:

September 28 – Training camp rosters due to the league office
September 29 – Training camp opens (Teams can begin on-ice sessions)
October 12 – Opening day rosters due to league office
October 13 – 30th ECHL season starts

– Several factors will determine the specific dates for the Allen Americans training camp. Most importantly is the availability of housing. In past years training camp was delayed a couple of days because apartment leases were for October 1 and the team could not get into the housing early. Knowing the new ownership of the team, my guess is that will not be an issue this year.

– My recollection from past seasons is the first day of camp is devoted to player physicals, and the earliest that could take place is Friday, September 29. Then the next issue will be ice availability in the community rink. Remember, there will be no ice in the main rink until the week of October 1st.

– Under Coach Steve Martinson, the training camp practices have been open for fans to attend, so I am sure the team will be issuing that information shortly. If you are planning on attending training camp practice history says you can be assured there will be practice on Monday, October 2nd. Whether the team will practice on Saturday (September 30) or Sunday (October 1) is uncertain, and even if the team does practice one day over the weekend, it may not be open to the public. Stay tuned for an announcement from the Americans.

– How many players will be at training camp is an unknown for a couple of reasons. While 17 players have already been announced by the Americans some of those players will be attending training camp with the San Jose Barracuda so they may still be in San Jose when Allen starts training camp. Martinson says he will have five players at the Barracuda camp. He will also be attending Barracuda training camp himself where he will be able to see how the Allen players perform but also take a look at some AHL contracted players that might be assigned to Allen during the season. Martinson will be in San Jose starting September 24, just before the start of Allen’s training camp.

– Look for Allen’s training camp to have some SPHL players attend on tryout agreements. Coach Martinson has used this in the past to take a look at some players that he could bring in during the season if the Americans have injuries or players are recalled or loaned to the AHL.

– If you didn’t see all of the promotion nights and giveaways here is the press release issued by the Americans Friday. There will be nine specialty jersey nights (and auctions), and six of them are on Saturdays. There will be 11 giveaway nights, and nine of them will be on Saturdays. It looks like some Saturday sellouts are possible. Make sure to get your tickets early for Saturday games.

– Here is how many players each team in the ECHL has signed and announced as reported by

Adirondack – 12
Allen – 17
Atlanta – 12
Brampton – 11
Cincinnati – 13
Colorado – 10
Florida – 8
Fort Wayne – 20
Greenville – 14
Idaho – 17
Indy – 17
Jacksonville – 5
Kalamazoo – 18
Kansas City – 18
Manchester – 12
Norfolk – 8
Orlando – 14
Quad City – 22
Rapid City – 17
Reading – 15
South Carolina – 23
Toledo – 15
Tulsa – 13
Utah – 12
Wheeling – 18
Wichita – 19
Worcester – 14

– The bad news continued for Chad Costello‘s team Friday night as the Iserlohn Roosters lost for the third time this season. The Roosters lost their opening game 2-1 in overtime and lost the last two games by identical scores of 4-1. It is hard to get complete boxscores, but pretty sure Chad is still scoreless on the season.

DID YOU KNOW: The current Allen roster (17 players) has combined for a total of 440 AHL games played. Captain Joel Chouinard leads in AHL experience having played in 204 AHL games.

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