– Allen Americans captain Joel Chouinard made it official last night announcing his retirement from professional hockey. The 2008 sixth round NHL draft choice of the Colorado Avalanche finishes his pro career with 534 games played including 204 in the AHL. The term “class act” describes Joel Chouinard both on and off the ice. Joel’s career in Allen spans just three seasons including two seasons wearing the “C” on his chest.
– How did Joel end up playing for the Allen Americans? You can thank his wife, Courtney. The story goes back to when he met Courtney when he was playing in Cleveland for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) and one of his teammates was Justin Mercier. As Joel tells the story, “Justin’s sister, Courtney, went to school at the University of Michigan and over spring break she came and visited her brother. Their parents are from Erie, Pennsylvania and Cleveland is a midpoint between Erie and Ann Arbor so Cleveland was the perfect spot for the whole family to meet. They would come to watch Justin play and after I met them, to watch me as well. That is how I met Courtney and it has been great ever since.” Allen fans can thank Courtney for recruiting Joel for the Americans. While she was attending the University of Michigan Law School she took an internship in Dallas which led to a full time position after she graduated. Steve Martinson was the benefactor of the move to Dallas.
– Joel Chouinard played just three seasons in Allen and was one of the most effective defensmen in the ECHL. Here is how Joel ranks among all ECHL defensmen when you combine his three seasons in Allen.
3rd – Assists (95)
4th – Points (123)
5th – Games Played (205)
10th – Goals (28)
– In 2016-17 Joel won the ECHL Plus Performer Award, leading the league in plus/minus at +47.
– Even though Chouinard played just three seasons in Allen he is near the top of the all-time record list for defensemen in every category. Joel was an Ironman his first two seasons playing in all 72 games. Here are the all-time leaders for Allen defensemen:
247 – Tyler Ludwig
229 – Mike Berube
222 – David Makowski
205 – Joel Chouinard
174 – David Makowski
172 – Tyler Ludwig
123 – Joel Chouinard
55 – David Makowski
51 – Tyler Ludwig
42 – Eric Roy
28 – Joel Chouinard
121 – Tyler Ludwig
119 – David Makowski
95 – Joel Chouinard
– If you look at single season records, Joel is the all-time leader for the Americans in plus/minus with +47 in 2016-17. In the 10 year history of the Americans no other defenseman has had a plus/minus higher than +28.
– Just two Allen defensemen have played in all 72 games in a season. Aaron Gens was the first in 2014-15. Joel accomplished the feat in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
– Joel had 51 points (12G, 39A) in 2017-18 which was the fourth highest single season point total by a defenseman in team history. His 39 assists that season is also the fourth highest total in team history.
– It has been quite a year for the Chouinard family with the purchase of their new home, a new pet, the arrival of their first child, and now Joel’s retirement. I am sure all Allen fans join me in wishing Joel, Courtney, Julien and their dog Harley the best going forward. Here is what Joel posted on the Allen Americans Blog last night, “Thanks everyone! The last three years have been some of the best of my life. You guys were a big part of that!! And yes, to answer some of your questions, I will be around the AEC for games next year, just not on the ice.”
|Best Wishes to the Chouinards – Joel, Julien, Courtney and Harley|
You may remember John Snowden when he played 22 games for Allen during the 2013-14 season. John had a distinguished nine year pro career of over 700 games but my first memory of him was when he was playing for the Fort Worth Brahmas in 2013. On February 13, 2013 Snowden scored five goals in a game including four straight goals in the second period as Fort Worth beat Arizona 7-1.
– John retired after the 2013-14 season and moved to Orlando to attend the Golf Academy of America to pursue a degree in golf management and obtain his PGA teaching pro card. John was a scratch golfer. However, John never gave up on the idea of coaching for a living and coached youth hockey in Orlando while he was attending the golf academy. When the opportunity to become the assistant coach for the Orlando Solar Bears for the 2015-16 season came up, John jumped at the chance. He was promoted to the associate coach in Orlando (2017-18). Orlando was affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs but that affiliation ended after the 2017-18 season when Toronto affiliated with the expansion Newfoundland Growlers. Toronto recruited John to move to Newfoundland to become the assistant coach with the Growlers. 2018-19 has been quite a season for the Snowdens. You can only imagine the logistics of getting family, pets, vehicles etc. from Florida to Newfoundland. Much of this fell to John’s wife, Janelle, who was pregnant with their third child.
– In January Newfoundland Growlers head coach, Ryane Clowe, stepped down because of concussion related medical issues that date back to 2014 when his 10 year NHL career was cut short. In a real vote of confidence John was named the permanent head coach and the team recruited a new assistant coach.
– Newfoundland won the North Division Championship and beat Brampton in the first round of the playoffs which included one of the most memorable days of John’s life. Two days ago on Tuesday, April 23, John and Janelle welcomed their third child and first girl into the world as Rowan Elizabeth Snowden was born at 1:56 am. It was the start of a long day for John as at 9:45 pm his team beat Brampton 3-2 in overtime to advance to the second round of the Kelly Cup playoffs.
– I reached out to John to ask him what it was like dealing with his first ever playoff series as a head coach, traveling to Brampton while Janelle was about to give birth and all that happened on Tuesday. Here is what happened in John’s own words. “Barry, to sum it all up it was a whirlwind. After game five in Brampton on Saturday I jumped on a late flight back to St. John to get back home as quick as possible. I knew Janelle was close and I was not missing it! I was able to get back to celebrate Janelle’s birthday on Sunday and spend Easter with the boys. I held practice Monday morning and then went straight to the hospital. Early on Tuesday morning (1:56 am) we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Rowan Elizabeth, into the world. I got one hour of sleep, rushed home to check on the boys before heading to the rink to get our morning meetings prepared. My staff then delivered the meetings and morning skate while I went back to the hospital with the boys to meet their sister and see mom. After leaving the hospital we went home, I got the boys to a friends house, took a one hour nap and headed back to the rink for the game. Being able to win our first series as a team and franchise on the same day as having our daughter was amazing. I am a very fortunate man to have an amazing wife and family and being able to work with an elite organization with the Maple Leafs and Growlers that understand the importance of family. April 23 is a day I will never forget!
– It has been quite the year for the Snowden family and it could get even better with the Growlers going strong in the playoffs. Congrats to John and Janelle, big brothers Aiden and Keegan, and new arrival Rowan.
KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS
– The final piece of the second round playoff puzzle fell into place last night as Tulsa advanced by beating Kansas City 6-2 in the only series that went to a game seven.
– Unlike the NHL where all four division champions were defeated in the opening round of the playoffs, all four ECHL division champions advanced.
– The higher seeded team won seven of eight first round series. The one exception was Manchester who was the #3 seed in the North Division and beat #2 seed Adirondack 4-1.
– I posted this a couple of weeks ago and wanted to update the info:
So much for the idea once you make the Kelly Cup playoffs any team can win. In the last 14 seasons the Kelly Cup champion has never finished worse than seventh in the regular season. In 12 of the last 14 seasons the Kelly Cup champion finished in the top five during the regular season. Here is the regular season rank of the 16 teams that made the playoffs. The teams marked with an asterisk have advanced to the second round.
11. Fort Wayne
13. Kansas City
15. South Carolina
– The second round of the Kelly Cup playoffs get underway tonight as Cincinnati takes on Toledo in the Central Division finals. Cincinnati’s record against Toledo in the regular season was 5-2-2-0.
– Getting players added to the roster for the playoffs who spent the majority of the season in the AHL can be the difference in winning and losing. Tulsa is a prefect example. The #1 seeded Oilers fell behind to #4 seeded Kansas City in the Mountain Division semi-finals 3-2 and had to win two games at home to advance. Tulsa was led in the two wins by Alex Dostie who played only five games with Tulsa during the regular season, just enough to qualify to play in the playoffs. Alex was selected the #1 star in games six and seven. In game seven last night Alex had a hat trick including the game winning goal. Dostie is leading all ECHL players in the playoffs in points (13) and goals (9).
DID YOU KNOW: It you had to look at one stat from the first round of the playoffs to help predict second round success it might be goal differential. Here is the list: