Wanted to start out today by acknowledging a couple of Allen Americans super fans that have been missed at training camp practice. One of the benefits of being a season ticket holder in Allen or any hockey town are the friendships you develop over the years. Going to a hockey game is so much more enjoyable when you have these friendships. If you happen to be a fan that attends practice you are in a very small select group of fans that become close hockey friends.

The first week of practice during training camp sees a lot of fans in attendance but when December rolls around the number of fans that attend practice is down to a handful. I knew beforehand that Dan and Vicki Zalaznik had moved to Iowa to be closer to family, while Richard and Carol Henry were dealing with some health issues but it really hit me that first day of training camp when they weren’t sitting in the stands.

Dan Zalaznik has seen more Allen Americans practices than anyone including coaches and front office staff as he has been attending practice since day one. I know Dan is still following the Allen Americans from Iowa, will be watching all of the games on ECHL TV and will attend some away games close to home but he is already really missed by me and the practice brigade.

Richard Henry isn’t at practice because he is currently battling cancer and his treatments require him to stay away from large crowds so no Allen Americans games for him this year. Richard is a warrior and a champion just like the Americans so he will be back and look forward to seeing him as part of the “practice brigade” and attending games again with his hockey family. Richard would love to get some words of encouragement to let him know his hockey family from all over the ECHL has him in their thoughts and prayers. His address is: Richard Henry, 1210 Sandy Creek Dr. Allen, TX 75002. As Richard says, “With all of your good thoughts and prayers I will kick cancer’s butt.” Let’s fill up his mail box with good wishes!

– Joel Rumpel arrived in Allen yesterday and participated in practice for the first time this morning. It is great to have him back in Allen.

– At practice today were three goalies, eight defensemen and 12 forwards. The only player that has yet to report is defensemen Danny Federico.

Chad Costello and Gary Steffes have been named co-captains for this season
Chad Costello and Gary Steffes have been named co-captains for this season

I had the chance to attend the Allen Americans media luncheon and will have a full report tomorrow. Thanks to Tommy Daniels, Vice President of Broadcasting and Media Relations and corporate sponsor Abuelo’s for putting on another great event. Coach Martinson was in attendance along with players Chad Costello, Gary Steffes, Greger Hanson and Casey Pierro-Zabotel.

The big news coming out of the luncheon was Steve Martinson announcing that he has named Chad Costello and Gary Steffes as co-captains for this season. Each month one will wear the “C” at home and the other on the road and they will switch each month. Both Chad and Gary emphasized how proud they are to be named co-captains but in their humble manner talked about how the locker room is filled with great leaders and they will all play an important role. Congrats to Chad and Gary who are both well deserving choices as captains.

The ECHL media received the league's guide and record book this week
The ECHL media received the league’s guide and record book this week

Just received my copy of the 2015-16 ECHL Official Guide & Record Book which is a outstanding reference book full of great information. You can buy the book or CD by going to the ECHL web site (echl.com). Check out the picture of Jamie Schaafsma hoisting the Kelly Cup on the cover of the Media Guide. Sweet!

DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello had 125 points last season which is the ninth most points scored in ECHL history. Everyone in the top 18 all time in scoring with the exception of Chad played at least 20 years ago when the game was more of a high scoring game. A truly remarkable feat by Chad.

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