ALLEN, TX – It is finally here and Allen fans, as well as those around the ECHL, can say hockey starts this week. Players will be arriving in town all week. Per ECHL rules training camp officially opens on Friday, but every team has a little different schedule.
– Allen has still not issued anything official on the training camp schedule or roster, but that should be out in the next couple of days. The last I heard was players will have physicals on Friday, and on-ice practice is possible on Saturday (if ice time is available) and for sure on Sunday. Fans will have to wait for something official from the team as these dates are subject to change and some practices may not be open to the public.
– The San Jose Barracuda open their training camp this morning with 24 players on the roster after the Sharks sent eight more players yesterday. The Sharks roster is now at 32 players, so still more players to be sent to the Barracuda in the next week. The Barracuda camp will definitely have an Allen flavor with six players under AHL contracts that have played in Allen (Adam Helewka, Alex Schoenborn, Jon Martin, Bryan Moore, Mike Brodzinski, David Makowski) along with five Allen players (Marcus Basara, Vincent Arseneau, Olivier Archambault, Josh Thrower, Jaynen Rissling) attending camp on tryout contracts.
– I had a chance to talk to Steve Martinson about the five guys he is sending to the Barracuda training camp. He told me he met with them before they left for San Jose and they are all in great shape, have been training hard for this opportunity and should do well at camp.
– Don’t forget the Allen roster is still not complete. There is still one open veteran slot, and Martinson always has a surprise or two up his sleeve as the season gets underway. Stay tuned.
– Martinson confirmed he would be heading to San Jose this morning (Monday) to attend a few days of the Barracuda camp. It gives him a chance to watch his five tryout players and also get an idea about the AHL contracted players that might end up in Allen. He will also have an opportunity to talk to the Barracuda coaching staff and the front office staff which is very helpful. Martinson always says the affiliation an ECHL team has is key to success and the one Allen has with San Jose has been excellent.
– I have mentioned this a couple of times before, and nothing has changed my mind. What has happened with the tryout players in the past is San Jose purchases round-trip tickets up front, the players practice with the team, play in the first preseason game (Thursday in Bakersfield) and then are returned to Allen. If they decide to keep any of the players they just change the return ticket date. If things go as in the past, all five tryout players will play in the Barracuda’s first preseason game on Thursday.
– I am still getting questions about the Allen preseason games (October 6 & 7) asking when something will be out about purchasing tickets. I know the front office has been working diligently to come up with a plan, but they have not shared any details with me. If I had to guess I would say the season ticket holders would get the first crack at buying these tickets as that only seems fair. With so few tickets available (in the 300-ish range) even some of the season ticket holders may get shut out. My advice is to keep an eye out for an email if you are a season ticket holder so you can act fast if you want to attend these preseason games. If I get anything official, I will share it on social media. You may see something as soon as today.
– It is easy to forget there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes to get ready for the season. The fan club volunteers to pick up players at the airport and they also get all of the apartments ready for the guys. A lot of hours devoted to both of these activities by the fan club. I ran into Stephanie Di Biase-Wheat, Director/Choreographer for the Ice Angels at the rink the other day and they are hard at work getting ready for the season. These ladies are not only great dancers, but they are in phenomenal physical shape. There is a reason they are the best in the ECHL, and many go on to NFL, NBA, and NHL dance teams.
– In the battle of the former Allen Americans playing in Slovakia, it was Josh Brittain’s team (Banksa Bystrica) defeating Spencer Asuchak‘s team (Zvolen) 4-2 yesterday. It was also a rough day for Chad Costello‘s team who lost 5-3 even though Chad had a good day with a couple of assists. With the loss, the team (Iserlohn Roosters) is now all alone in last place in the 14 team league with a record of 1-4-1.
DID YOU KNOW: What a difference a year makes. Here is what I posted one year ago today about the forwards coming to Allen’s training camp. Winning consistently in the ECHL is so much more difficult than in the AHL & NHL with players on one-year contracts and all of the player turnover from year-to-year. It is also why the best coaches in the ECHL are also the best recruiters.
September 24, 2016 – 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 Martinson will sign and a talented group they are. There are 11 forwards, and they have all played in Allen in the past.