The Allen Americans hosted their annual media luncheon yesterday which provided the opportunity to hear from coach Martinson as well as players Chad Costello, Greger Hanson, Gary Steffes and Casey Pierro-Zabotel.
As reported yesterday the biggest news out of the media luncheon was the announcement that Chad Costello and Gary Steffes would be Co-captains this year. A first for the Americans to have a shared responsibility. Each month one will wear the “C” at home and the other on the road and they will switch each month.
Both Chad and Gary emphasized how proud they are to be named co-captains but in their humble manner talked about how the locker room is filled with great leaders and they will all play an important role.
Congrats to Chad and Gary who are both well deserving choices as captains.
Here are some of the comments from the coach and players:
Martinson: I am looking forward to getting the season started. We will have a bigger team this year and maybe a little bit faster. We are fortunate to have a lot of players returning from last year including our core group which makes everything a little easier to prepare for the season. It should be a fun group to coach and a fun group to watch. We are very lucky to have our top two scorers back in Costello and Steffes. They lead by example and that is why I selected them to be our Co-captains.
Costello: I am really honored to be selected as a Co-captain along with Gary. We have a great team here in Allen and there are many leaders in our locker room and that is what you need to have to be successful. It will be another great season for Allen fans.
Steffes: I am honored and blessed to be selected as one of the captains of the team. As Chad said we have a lot of leadership in the locker room and that is why this organization continues to win championships. Our locker room has an amazing culture where guys truly care about one another, hold each other responsible and also push each other.
Pierro-Zabotel: My style of play is more of a puck possession style where I like to slow the game down. I am more of a pass first guy rather than shoot but hopefully will get my share of goals especially playing along side skill players like those sitting here with me. I am from Kamloops, British Columbia and with me here in Allen is my wife, Levi, and our six year old son Lane, who is enrolled in school. We are all excited to be in the Allen organization.
Martinson: Our affiliation with San Jose has been excellent. Last year they did a great job of sending us players. When you have an affiliation that cares and wants to help you win it is a big benefit. Some affiliations are not like that so having an affiliation can be good or bad depending on the relationship. San Jose is dealing with some injuries so we will not be getting any forwards from them for a couple of weeks. That will give an opportunity to some of the guys that are here to have a bigger role early in the season. We have a line up right now that will be competitive no matter who we play.
Hanson: Going to training camp with San Jose was a lot of fun. They have really nice facilities with the Barracuda right next to the Sharks. I think all of the guys from Allen played well, contributed and had an impact.
Steffes: It was a tremendous blessing to be in San Jose for sure. All of the Allen guys had a great camp. Having the Barracuda and Sharks so close made everything feel so real. You are literally 20 feet away from the NHL and that is exciting and inspiring. The San Jose organization is very professional and top notch and it was cool for me to see the relationship between the teams in San Jose and the Allen Americans.
Martinson: Our group in the locker room has the same expectation for this year as they had last year. Everyone comes to work and wants to get a little bit better everyday and the expectation is to go out and win the first game and then keep going. The players want it for each other. Hockey is a team sport but you always have to make sure you are doing your job.
Martinson: I will go through Saturday and the preseason game in Wichita with the roster we currently have but I am still reaching out at ways to improve our roster. We do have some guys we thought we were going to get that we won’t have. Ian Schultz is not ready to play and it will be a while until he is back. Tanner Eberle was possibly coming back but it looks like that won’t happen. San Jose has several forwards injured so it will be a while before they send forwards to Allen. We have a lot of good defensemen and a couple of forwards that have played defense so we will see what happens between now and next Monday. Nothing is etched in stone at this point.
Martinson: I am not sure yet if we will practice the three on three overtime at the end of the preseason game in Wichita. I think we should do it but will have to talk to Wichita to see if they agree. I am also not sure yet if we will have 10 or 12 forwards playing in the game on Saturday. It doesn’t make sense for us to beat each other up in a preseason game and it is possible some players could sit out but that hasn’t been decided yet. We will have a game regardless so we will see what transpires.
Martinson: Yes, it is true what you have heard that I plan on taking it easy on the officials this year. I am really going to work on that.
Hanson: This is my third season in Allen and coach Martinson makes the “I am going to take it easy on the officals” promise every year so we will see how that works out.
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello, Greger Hanson, Gary Steffes and Casey Pierro-Zabotel combined scored 180 goals last year (regular season & playoffs) which is more than some entire ECHL teams scored last season.