This past week was a reminder of the roller coaster ride the off season is for minor league hockey fans with all of the ups and downs associated with putting a team together for next season. While I have been reporting the 2015-2016 Allen Americans team will have more returning players than anytime in the history of the team, it also dawned on me that three of the four players that have been in Allen for all three championships will not be on the 2015-2016 team.

The certainty of this became apparent when Jamie Schaafsma put out on social media last night: “I want to thank everyone in Allen for an amazing 3 years! Met a lot of great people and played with a lot of great players!”

It is difficult to think about not having a guy that is a proven winner — seven straight trips to the league finals — didn’t miss a single game in the regular season or playoffs in two of his three years in Allen, was the playoff MVP in 2013-2014 and a team leader including wearing the “C” last year.

As good as Jamie is on the ice he was even better off the ice as he was a great ambassador for the Allen Americans with fans, sponsors and in the community. A small town kid whose dad was a dairy farmer, Jamie is the youngest of four sons (he has a younger sister) and all he ever wanted to do is play hockey.

The sport has taken him all over the world as he played for the Netherlands national team for several years and played professionally in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Wherever Jamie ends up the team will have a great player, a great leader/teammate, a lucky charm and most likely spot in the championship finals and a great guy! Best of luck to Jamie, Nicole, Sawyer and Sutter!

Here are a couple of favorites:

Jamie and son Sawyer show off their owies
Jamie and son Sawyer show off their owies
With Jamie Schaafsma saying goodbye, Tyler Ludwig retiring and Brian McMillin playing in Europe (he left last week for Dijon, France where the season starts in a couple of weeks) the only one of the four players that have been in Allen for all three championships that might return next season is Trevor Ludwig. Trevor has said he wants to continue playing and since he has not signed elsewhere my guess is he is re-signing in Allen to try for that fourth straight championship, however, there has been no official word from the Allen Americans.
The Americans announced on Saturday that Ian Schultz has signed for next season. Ian, who was injured in the championship finals which required surgery, reported he is still on crutches but everything is progressing well. While he is certainly not going to push it, he thinks there is a possibility he could be ready by the end of October.

Allen Americans Head Coach and General Manager Steve Martinson has announced that the club has signed forward Ian Schultz to a new contract for the 2015-2016 season.

Schultz will enter his second season with the Americans, after putting up career numbers in Steve Martinson’s high-powered offense in 2014-2015. He had 38 points in 44 regular season games in last year’s championship run. He also played in 14 games last season in the American Hockey League for the Iowa Wild.

“Schultz had a comeback year last season,” said Americans Head Coach Steve Martinson. “He had great chemistry with Chad Costello and scored big goals for us. Ian is a hard guy to play against.”

Schultz was drafted by the St Louis Blues in the 3rd round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in 245 professional games over his five year professional career.  The native of Calgary, Alberta, played major junior hockey with his hometown Calgary Hitmen.

The 2015-2016 Allen Ice Angels team was selected Friday night. There will be 16 on the team this year which is the biggest group ever. Congrats to all!

Image Courtesy: Allen Americans Ice Angels
Image Courtesy: Allen Americans Ice Angels

Here are the up to date player signings for the ECHL Central Division teams. If you are interested in the player signings for all ECHL teams you can find that at thesinbin.net under “Transactions.”

Allen (7):
Chad Costello (F)
Kevin Young (D)
Riley Gill (G)
Nolan Descoteaux (D)
Aaron Gens (D)
Casey Pierro-Zabotel (F)
Ian Schultz (F)

Missouri (12):
Patch Alber (D)
Andrew Courtney (F)
Tanner Fritz (F)
Chris Owens (D)
Rocco Carzo (F)
Tristan King (F)
Josh Robinson G)
David de Kastrozza (F)
Danick Paquette (F)
Dax Lauwers (D)
Jason Schiavo (F)
Liam Stewart (F)

Tulsa (6):
Phil Brewer (F)
Kevin Carr (G)
Adam Pleskach (F)
Nathan Lutz (D)
Kyle Bochek (F)
Matt Larke (F)

Wichita (10):
Kenton Miller (F)
Todd Hosmer (F)
Anthony De Luca (F)
Tim Boyle (D)
Ryan Ruikka (D)
Andrew Blazek (D)
Danick Gauthier (F)
Ray Macias (D)
David Schantz (G)
Paxton Leroux (F)

DID YOU KNOW: The first year Jamie Schaafsma was on the Netherlands national team (2007) he played in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships which took place in China. In subsequent years he played in IIHF World Championships in Austria, Estonia and Poland.

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