ALLEN, TX – If you hang around the Allen Americans locker room or front office you can sense the increased activity as the season approaches. Training camp rosters are due to the ECHL office on Thursday, camp will start for the Americans the following Monday (October 3), the lone preseason game will be in Wichita on October 8 and the season opener is October 15.
There were two player announcements this week as the team formally announced that Greger Hanson and Tristan King would be returning. Since they were both living in the area, have been skating at the informal skates with the players and have been signed for a long time, these announcements were certainly not a surprise. This completes all of the forwards that coach Steve Martinson will sign and a talented group they are. There are 11 forwards and they have all played in Allen in the past.
The only additions to this group will be forwards assigned by San Jose. Barring injuries you could expect two young forwards being assigned to Allen but that is always a wait and see.
While there are just three defensemen announced (Aaron Gens, Joel Chouinard, Mike Gunn) coach Martinson has a total of seven that are signed or will be assigned by San Jose. Eric Roy, who signed with San Jose over the summer was just assigned to Allen and is already in town. My understanding is he will return to San Jose in a week for the Barracuda’s training camp.
There was a get together at the Allen Event Center on Wednesday evening and coach Martinson had a chance to share his thoughts about the upcoming season:
“I am pretty excited about the team we have on paper right now and with some of the guys we could get from San Jose it would put us at the top of the charts as far as what you have seen here in Allen the last four years.”
“We have six or seven guys that will be going to the Barracuda’s training camp plus Spencer Asuchak going to Toronto and Chris Crane going to Chicago.”
“The players will go to San Jose on Saturday (October 1st), they will play a preseason game on Thursday (October 6th) and then return to Allen on Friday (unless they do well and San Jose wants to keep them) so they can play for us when we go to Wichita for our preseason game on Saturday (October 8th).”
“It will be a strange training camp the first week because we will have so many guys at AHL camps. I will bring in a few tryout guys but we will be short that first week of training camp.”
“We have a new housing deal in place that will be much better for our players.”
You probably saw that Jamie Schaafsma has added assistant coach as a new title in addition to being a player and team captain for the Fort Wayne Komets. Here is the story about his new role that appeared in his hometown newspaper. A post-playing career as a coach may be in the future for Jamie but he also has all of the certifications to be a firefighter so he will have more than one option when he decides to hang up the skates.https://www.chathamdailynews.ca/2016/09/21/schaafsma-to-be-player-assistant-coach
Did You Know: Tom Manning, who has been the Allen Americans Director of Game Operations in the past is returning to the front office for the upcoming season. Tom has contacted some former Allen players to get details about what they are up to now and graciously allowed me to publish some of these in a series called “where are they now.” Goalie Marco Cousineau played in Allen during the 2011-12 season. Today, Marco is back home in Quebec working in the family business. Marco and his girlfriend are awaiting the birth of their first child, a little boy named Leo. He is still playing hockey in a professional league in Quebec known as the LNAH. The LNAH has been called the toughest league in the world. While the NHL averages about .3 fights per game the LNAH averages 2.6 per game. There are just seven teams in the league and last season there were 517 fights.