For the first time since I started writing the Allen Americans Blog seven years ago the season has ended without making the playoffs. No time for sorrow or disappointment. It is time for me to say my thanks to all involved in making Allen Americans hockey the best fan experience anywhere. While I will still be posting blogs during the summer when there is news to report, it will no longer be each day.
It is quite an undertaking to write about the team seven days a week during the season and it does indeed take a village to make it all possible. So please indulge me for this once a year post about the blog and all of the people that help me. It seems like as the years go by more and more blog readers help me out with information, ideas for stories, ask questions and let me know about errors I make in the blog so I can get them corrected.
It wouldn’t be right to have a blog post without some stats so here are a couple that amaze me. I write somewhere around 250,000 words during the hockey season. As of this morning the total number of page views since October of 2012 is 1,541,143 and this number doesn’t include fans that read the blog on the Allen Americans website or The Sin Bin where it is also posted. Who would have imagined a blog started for the Heritage Ranch Allen Americans fan club now reaches people all over the US and Canada as well as the hockey hotbeds in Europe on a daily basis. It proves fans of the Allen Americans are all over the world.
It is hard to put into words my appreciation whether you read the blog every day or are a casual fan that stumbles across my daily musings. It has been my pleasure to meet many of you and your words of encouragement in person, comments at the end of each blog, posts on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and email have been very satisfying and inspiring.
Thanks to the many fans, bloggers, and media from all over the league that have promoted the blog as fair and balanced and have also shared information with me about their teams. One of the unexpected benefits of writing the blog has been getting to know all of the broadcasters, writers, bloggers and passionate fans from other teams.
There are a lot of you on Twitter that like and/or retweet the blog. There are a lot of you that like and/or share the blog on Facebook. I notice each and every one and appreciate it so much because it is a way to spread the word about the Allen Americans. I am extremely fortunate that Hall of Fame sports writer and Allen Americans supporter, Rick Gosselin has become a friend and mentor. Rick has kindly retweeted the blog every day to his 25,000 followers. With the great stories he has written about the Americans and publicity he has given to the team along with retweeting the blog each day I call him a one man marketing department.
Thank you to the players who have never said no to a single request I have made of them for a chat, an interview or a question. I have gotten to know most of these young men both professionally and personally and they have represented the Americans in an outstanding manner. You see the players at their best when they are visiting schools and hospitals or are interacting with the young fans in any environment.
One of my goals when I started the blog was to share the personal stories of the players. It is something I didn’t do enough of this season so hope to do more next season. The wives/girlfriends, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends I have met have been great about sharing family stories which I have then been able to share in the blog. This season as part of the 10th anniversary celebration I did a series called, Where Are They Now. A special thanks to all the players (and their wives) from the past who were kind enough to share their personal stories and to super fan Wendy Ellis who helped me contact players from the past.
Thanks to Steve Martinson and his staff (Assistant Coach Jason Deitsch, Player/Coach Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Trainer Phil Dolan, Equipment Mananger Tim Abbott, Skating Coach Luke Chilcott, Goalie Coach Chris Johansen) for always being willing to talk to me and help educate me. A special thanks to coach Martinson, for allowing me to stop by his office after every game and every practice to ask questions and talk about the team. It is his openness and trust that has allowed the blog to have information you can’t find anywhere else.
Thanks to Tommy Daniels, the voice of the Allen Americans, who has been a big help to me. Tommy is the one who encouraged me to start the blog, made me feel like part of the media team, answered many questions, publicized the blog to attract new readership, and invited me to be part of the between periods conversation on his radio broadcast to talk hockey and promote the blog. Tommy is the best broadcaster in the business and is always willing to share his knowledge with others.
Thanks to Tommy’s radio sidekick, Maurice Fitzgerald, for all the between periods chats on the radio broadcast. Maurice has forgotten more about hockey than I will ever know but we are a good combo with all of my day to day information/stats about the team.
Maurice and myself are two of a big volunteer army that devotes time to the Allen Americans because of their love of the team and love of hockey. Photographers, writers, interns, fan club members and fans too numerous to mention. Certainly an under appreciated group of volunteers.
This was my first season as the official blogger of the Allen Americans and in that capacity I posted the blog each day on the Americans website (allenamericans.com). Because I use a different software to write the blog than the Americans use on their website my daily post has to be converted from one software to another. It was clearly a case of teaching an old dog (me) new tricks which is never easy. Thanks to Kamen Kessler, who handles digital marketing for the team for all the help he gave me in learning how to use WordPress and get my blog posted to the Allen website. Kamen also created all of the graphics I have used this season.
Joe Babik, Director of Communication for the ECHL has once again spent more time with me this season than I deserved to help educate me about the policies, rules, procedures and records of the ECHL. Joe has gone above and beyond the call of duty and seems to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Thanks to the entire Team Sin Bin group which has welcomed me into their group for the fifth year and made it very easy for me to get my stories on their website (thesinbin.net). A special thanks to Editor-in Chief Matt Harding (SinBinThunder).
Unlike most writers, bloggers, and other media types that cover the Americans I have a dual role as in addition to being a blogger I also coordinate the activities of the fan club (over 200 members) at Heritage Ranch where I live. In this capacity I spend a lot of time in the front office of the Americans arranging for season tickets, suites, individual game tickets, seats for soldiers tickets, and other promotions. I want to thank the entire front office staff, led by Matt Canavan, who have gone out of their way to help me with tickets as well as provide content for the blog. A special thanks to Chase Richardson (Ticket Operations Manager) who was my go to guy this season and would drop whatever his was doing to help me out.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my lovely wife of 40 years, Nancy, who is kind enough to proofread the blog each morning. It is a tireless task. Despite our best efforts we miss plenty of errors in both substance and form. Luckily many of you are kind enough to let me know of these errors so corrections can be made promptly. The volunteer proofreader list has gotten long but special thanks to John Weithman and Mary Betz who are the best of the best. Blog posts live forever on the internet and can always be corrected so I really appreciate when you let me know about errors.
This will be the last daily blog post for the season. I will still blog on an as needed basis as new information becomes available. If you are on Facebook or Twitter you can see whenever there is a new post on the blog by liking my page on Facebook at “Allen Americans Blog” or following me on Twitter at @allenamericans1. Maybe the easiest way to stay in touch is by making allenamericansblog.blogspot.com one of the favorites on whatever search engine you use and checking in periodically. Remember, it is only 187 days until Allen Americans hockey starts again.
I started a new Twitter account this season called ECHL Stats (@EchlStats) where my goal is to post interesting and insightful stats pertaining to the ECHL. I plan on posting throughout the summer on ECHL Stats so if you are on Twitter give @EchlStats a follow. I also hope to post the info on Facebook (Allen Americans Blog).
Finally, on a personal note you may know I have been taking a two week fishing trip to Ontario for over 20 years with some buddies from Minnesota. The trip is always the last week of May and first week of June. This worked fine when Allen was in the Central Hockey League as the playoffs were always over by the time the fishing trip started but that is not the case since joining the ECHL. In 2015 I missed the finals series and in 2016 I flew home early to catch the championship finals. The last two seasons I made the tough choice to forego the fishing trip as it made no sense to cover the team every single day and then miss the playoffs. My fishing buddies told me I was making a big mistake by not going on the fishing trip. The Americans won four straight championships when I went on the trip and then the last two season when I didn’t go on the fishing trip the team lost early in the playoffs. My superstitious Allen fans (you know who you are) said it was all my fault the Americans lost because I decided to not go on the fishing trip. Even though I am not a superstitious person, last fall I made the decision to once again join my friends on the fishing trip at the end of May, just to make sure the Americans would get back to the Kelly Cup finals. Bottom line it is not my fault Allen didn’t make the playoffs because I am going fishing next month.
DID YOU KNOW: It is hard to believe it is early April and the Allen Americans are not playing hockey. April 6th is the earliest the Americans have played the last game of the season in the seven years Steve Martinson has been the coach but also the earliest in the ten year history of the franchise. Here is the date of the last game played in each year of the Allen franchise along with the results.
May 4, 2010 – A 4-3 loss to Rapid City in the CHL Presidents’ Cup finals
May 8, 2011 – A 5-3 loss to Bossier-Shreveport in the CHL Berry Conference finals
April 10, 2012 – A 4-2 loss to the Texas Brahmas in the CHL Berry Conference semi-finals
May 11, 2013 – A 4-3 OT win over Wichita in the CHL Presidents’ Cup finals
May 10, 2014 – A 5-2 win over Denver in the CHL Presidents’ Cup finals
June 14, 2015 – A 6-1 win over South Carolina in the Kelly Cup finals
June 9, 2016 – A 4-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers in the Kelly Cup finals
May 9, 2017 – A 4-3 loss to Colorado in the ECHL Mountain Division finals
April 25, 2018 – A 4-1 loss to Idaho in the ECHL Mountain Division semi-finals
April 6, 2019 – A 4-1 loss to Wichita, out of playoffs