ALLEN, Texas – I wanted to mention some people who played big roles in the Steve Martinson bobblehead night, plus video replay system topics but hadn’t talked to them to get their okay. Now I have so I can give credit where credit is due.

Steve Martinson Bobble Head – Mark Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth have been big fans and supporters of the Americans for many years. Mark has been a corporate sponsor and years ago started providing Thanksgiving dinner for the team because they are always on the road that day. The Fisher family also provides a steak extravaganza at a local restaurant for the team at the beginning of each season. Mark and his company, Electrical Midstream, are responsible for the Steve Martinson bobblehead that will be given out to the first 1500 fans at the game on Friday. If you end up with on the Martinson bobbleheads give thanks to Mark for his generous support in honoring Martinson on his 1000th win.

Video Replay – A couple of years ago Allen Americans President, Matt Canavan was at a hockey tournament with his son in Arizona and came across a start-up company that was headquartered in Phoenix by the name of Sporfie. Sporfie’s video capture platform allows you to capture video highlights after you have seen them happen. Matt saw the potential of Sporfie which was in use at the rink where his son was playing and worked with the company to install the system in the Allen Event Center. Matt shared the idea with his counterpart from the Kansas City Mavericks and they installed Sporfie in their facility. From that point, presentations were made at league meetings and Sporfie started to grow. Now, the ECHL will implement video replay across the ECHL using Sporfie. As the co-founder of the company, Sami Karoui was quoted in the ECHL press release announcing the video replay, “Our relationship with the ECHL started with just one team, growing organically to two, then five, twenty and now the entire league.”

In a recent email to Matt and Brent Theissen (his KC counterpart), the founder of Sporfie said this in part:

“I still recall that first meeting at Ice Den Chandler in Arizona on a Sunday morning with you Matt and then quickly many others followed with a second push from you Brent. Your trust and support have been generous and visionary. We (Sporfie) are so grateful and proud to have deserved your engaged participation as we were developing, testing new things and learning by working with you and your teams. More than a destination, we have truly enjoyed the journey and are excited about the new one ahead.”

So when you see the video replay in action next season remember it was all started by a dad, Matt Canavan, watching his son play hockey in a tournament in Arizona. Congrats to Matt to have the vision and initiative to bring Sporfie to Allen and help it grow in the ECHL.

Riley Bourbonnais scored his first AHL goal last night in a losing cause as his Iowa Wild team lost to Grand Rapids 5-2. Riley not only scored the first goal of the game he was the only Iowa player that had a positive plus/minus at +1. He has played in eight of 12 games since being loaned to Iowa on March 1. Until last night all of the games played by Riley were on the road. Nice he got his first goal on home ice. Iowa plays at home on Friday and Saturday against Texas.

– When you think about all of the former Allen Americans who will be free agents after this season there are three categories. Those that are coming off NHL/AHL deals, those that are playing in the ECHL as veterans and those playing in Europe. All of these categories of players can sign with any ECHL team. Steve Martinson has a reputation of bringing players back to Allen but who knows if next season will be different. He talks about improving team speed and having core players that are primarily interested in winning in Allen rather than pursuing an AHL career. Here is a list of players from this season who are vets or will become vets and players from the past who I think will be free agents. This is just a partial list and has no bearing on who will actually be signed next season. The point being is these players can sign with any ECHL team.

Vets from this season:
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Spencer Asuchak
Joel Chouinard
David Makowski
Thomas Frazee
Adam Miller
Gary Steffes
Curt Gogol

Free agents from the past:
Dyson Stevenson – vet
Matt Register – vet
Bryan Moore – coming off AHL deal
Colby MacAuley – coming off AHL deal
Emerson Clark – coming off AHL deal
Rick Pinkston – playing overseas
Tanner Eberle – playing overseas
Alex Guptill – playing overseas
Vincent Arseneau – coming off AHL deal
Olivier Archambault – coming off AHL deal

Those players coming off AHL deals first priority will be to find another AHL deal before they even consider signing with an ECHL team.

– It is that time of the season when you see a lot of “if the playoffs started today” posts. The season is down to the last two weekends but only seven of 16 teams have qualified for the playoffs. With trepidation, if the playoffs started today this is how it would look:

Mountain Division
#1 Idaho vs #4 Kansas City
#2 Tulsa vs #3 Utah

Central Division
#1 Cincinnati vs #4 Kalamazoo
#2 Toledo vs #3 Fort Wayne

South Division
#1 Florida vs #4 South Carolina
#2 Orlando vs #3 Jacksonville

North Division
#1 Newfoundland vs #4 Maine
#2 Adirondack vs #3 Manchester

– How important is it how you finish in the regular season when it comes to the playoffs? You don’t have to be the best team in the regular season but you have to be one of the better teams. The top regular season team rarely wins the championship but the bottom teams in the playoffs never win the championship.

Here is how Allen rated during the regular season in their four championship seasons:

2016 – Allen finished second in the division, third in the conference and sixth in the ECHL
2015 – Allen finished first in the division, first in the conference and second in the ECHL
2014 – Allen finished third in the conference and third overall in the CHL
2013 – Allen finished first in the conference and first overall in the CHL.

Here is where the Kelly champion placed in the regular season over the past 10 years.

2018 #4 Colorado
2017 #3 Colorado
2016 #6 Allen
2015 #2 Allen
2014 #1 Alaska
2013 #2 Reading
2012 #7 Florida
2011 #1 Alaska
2010 #5 Cincinnati
2009 #4 South Carolina

– The odds are stacked against you if your team isn’t one of the top seven during the regular season and if you want really good odds in the playoffs, you need to finish in the top four during the regular season.

Here are the top seven teams with two weekends remaining in the season:

#1 Cincinnati
#2 Florida
#3 Newfoundland
#4 Idaho
#5 Tulsa
#6 Toledo
#7 Orlando

Did You Know?

With the addition of hometown guy Ben Owen to the roster last week Allen has now used 42 players this season. Nothing out of the ordinary in the number of players used this season. It is worthy of note the year Allen used the most players (46) they won the Kelly cup.

2018-19: 42
2017-18: 41
2016-17: 42
2015-16: 46
2014-15: 41

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