ALLEN, TX – One countdown has ended (start of training camp) and another has begun as the Allen Americans are just six days away from their first preseason game. There is a lot to accomplish in the next six days. There are players signed but not yet announced that will be arriving in Allen, the five tryout players in San Jose will find out if they are returning to Allen and some San Jose contracted players might get assigned to Allen. Coach Steve Martinson will start building the foundation, so all of the new players know the system and forecheck before gameplay commences on Friday night.

– When the Americans take the ice at 10:30 this morning for their three-on-three tournament, there will be seven returning players from last season plus two players (Casey Pierro-Zabotel & Jonathan Lessard) that have played for Martinson in the past.

– There are three tryout players in camp with the Americans, and two of them are goalies. It is expected a goalie will be assigned by San Jose (speculation is it will be Stephon Williams,) but coach Martinson may need to sign one of these tryout goalies until the goalie situation gets sorted out. The goalies will get a good look over the next week.

– A few weeks ago I had heard Allen goalie coach, Thomas Speer, was a finalist for the position of goalie coach for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). Yesterday, it was announced Thomas was named the national goalie coach for USA Hockey. It is quite an honor for Thomas who will be based out of Plymouth, Michigan.

His duties will include working with both the national under-17 and under-18 goaltenders. The goal of the full-time NTDP is to is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams. Thomas has worked with Allen goalies over the past four seasons and will be sorely missed but what a great opportunity to help with recruiting and developing goalies for the U.S. National teams. Best of luck to Thomas and Amber and their young son on this great new adventure. Here is the press release issued by USA Hockey:

– I know there are more than a few Allen Americans fans that have followed hockey in Texas for many years. I have heard many a story about the Dallas Blackhawks, Dallas Freeze, Fort Worth Texans and Fort Worth Fire as well as the old barn at Fair Park.

Whether you are a hockey fan that followed those teams or enjoy reading about the history of hockey in the Metroplex and throughout Texas, there is a new book you should be aware of. It is the second in a series on hockey in Texas and covers the seasons from 1942-43 to 1992-93. Great stories and photos. “Pro Strides to the Stars” skates you through the 50 year period between World War II and the arrival of the NHL. This is a great read, and the book is available at

– Here is a story written by Greg Oliver that gives you some background on the Texas on Ice series mentioned above. Even if you are not interested in buying the book, you will find this story interesting.

– The ECHL team in Portland, Maine that will start playing next season announced yesterday they will be known as the Maine Mariners, the same name as an AHL franchise that was located in Portland from 1977-1992. In a “Name the Team” contest, the second place finisher was Wild Blueberries followed by Watchmen, Puffins, and Lumberjacks. Here is more from Matthew Wiernasz:

– It was a good night for the Iserlohn Roosters last night as they beat the Augsburger Panther 4-2 to improve their record to 2-4-1. It was a good night for the former Allen Americans as both Chad Costello ,and Jack Combs had a goal to lead the Roosters. The team is back in action again on Sunday.

DID YOU KNOW: I found this interesting fact in the Texas On Ice book that would be a great trivia question for your hockey friends. Since World War II no other state in the USA (nor any other country) has accomplished this feat. At every level of pro hockey, it is said a hockey championship is the hardest in sports to win. Texas and Texas only has won the eight most prized trophies in pro hockey:

Stanley Cup (National Hockey League)
Dallas Stars – 1999

Avco World Trophy (World Hockey Association)
Houston Aeros – 1974, 1975

Calder Cup (American Hockey League)
Houston Aeros – 2003
Texas Stars – 2014

Kelly Cup (ECHL)
Allen Americans – 2015, 2016

Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup (Central Hockey League)
Fort Worth Fire – 1997
Laredo Bucks – 2004, 2006
Fort Worth Brahmas – 2009
Allen Americans – 2013, 2014

Turner Cup (International League)
Houston Aeros – 1999

Adams Cup (Central Professional Hockey League)
Dallas Blackhawks – 1969, 1972, 1974, 1979
Fort Worth Texans – 1968

Loudon Cup (United States Hockey League)
Houston Huskies – 1948

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