- One player that will not be on the bus when the team leaves the Allen Event Center today is newly acquired defenseman Michael Webster who was suspended by the Americans yesterday. Webster was acquired in the trade that sent Tanner Eberle to Jacksonville. I had a lot of questions last night about Webster and had a chance to discuss the situation with coach Martinson so here are the facts.
Micheal Webster has decided to forego professional hockey at this time and attend college. You have heard coach Martinson say on many occasions he would never try and talk a player out of going to college.
By enrolling in college at this time Webster will be able to play this season without having to sit out a year.
The trade is not voided in this situation so Tanner Eberle will not be returning to Allen and Jacksonville does not have to send another player to Allen. The only time a trade is voided is if one of the players involved in a trade fails a physical.
I have talked to coach Martinson about trades many times over the years and know that experienced coaches like Martinson and Jacksonville coach Jason Christie don't deliberately trade players that don't intend to report. In other words I would assume Christie was not aware Webster would make a decision to attend college rather than report to Allen.
While there is no formal or required agreement when a player fails to report to their new team, most frequently, especially with experienced coaches they have an informal agreement to return a favor sometime in the future.
Coach Martinson has said many times one of the risks you take with young players that have college scholarship money available from their junior career is they head to college this time of year.
- I will have a complete game preview tomorrow but one thing Allen and Wichita have in common is they are both getting great goaltending. Wichita rookie Shane Starrett has been outstanding in goal for the Thunder with a record of 6-0-1-0. He is #2 in the ECHL in GAA (2.11) and #1 in save percentage (.935). Starrett signed an entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) in April, leaving the Air Force Academy after two seasons to turn pro. Here is a story written by David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette after Shane left Air Force where Ramsey questions if Starrett made a mistake in turning pro after his sophomore year. http://gazette.com/david-ramsey-air-force-hockey-star-shane-starrett-makes-mistake-in-signing-pro-contract/article/1600770
Allen's Stephon Williams has been great in goal while carrying the load for the Americans. Stephon gave up 11 goals in his first three starts but in his last five starts has allowed only eight goals. Overall Williams is ranked #3 in the league in GAA (2.30) and #3 in save percentage (.932).
Goaltending is a group effort and to have a good team both goalies need to play well. That is the case for Allen and Wichita. They rank #1 and #2 in team save percentage in the ECHL. Wichita leads at .933 and Allen is close behind at .923.
All four goalies rank in the top ten in the league in save percentage:
.935 - Shane Starrett (Wichita)
.932 - Stephon Williams (Allen)
.930 - Joel Rumpel (Wichita)
.921 - Jeremy Brodeur (Allen)
If you have stopped by the Allen Team Store this season to buy some Americans merchandise you have undoubtedly met the new Team Store manager, Michelle Martinson. Michelle is not only a hockey mom to teenagers Logan and Lily and a hockey wife (married to Steve Martinson) but she leads a hockey life. By his own admission coach Martinson has told me many times it is Michelle that keeps everything organized in the family with three often conflicting hockey schedules (both Logan and Lily play on elite level traveling hockey teams). I have seen the multi-colored graphs, calendars and schedules Michelle creates for coach Martinson of all his and the families activities.
Michelle comes from a hockey background as her grandfather (Frank Mathers) is a legend in AHL hockey history who had a long career (35 years) as a player, coach, general manager and president of the Hershey Bears. On the ice Mathers was one the AHL's all time best defenseman being voted to the All-Star game for five straight years in the 1950's. He won three Calder Cups as a player/coach for Hershey and then three more after he retired and became an executive for the team (general manager & president). He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and also the AHL Hall of Fame. If you are interested in reading more about Frank Mathers here is a more complete bio: http://www.legendsofhockey.net/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=b199203&page=bio
Steve and Michelle met when Steve was playing in Hershey in 1985-87 and Michelle's grandfather was the team president. If you recall, Martinson had 432 penalty minutes in 1985-86 and set the AHL record for most major penalties in a season, a record that stands to this day. The first time I interviewed Steve back in 2013 I asked him how Frank Mathers allowed a hockey player who was the team enforcer to date his granddaughter. Martinson responded that Mathers really like him and supported him dating Michelle.
It is natural for Michelle to take over the Americans team store as it combines several of her interests as she has a background in sales, fashion and of course, hockey. If you haven't already done so, stop by the team store and introduce your self to Michelle and check out the new merchandise. She would also like to hear from you on what additional merchandise you would like to see in the store.
Michelle will be having online auctions on BidPal where fans can purchase older team jerseys from the archives, autographed pucks and other collectables. The next auction will open on Tuesday (November 21) and close on Sunday (November 26). There will be new auction items each week from now until Christmas. No credit card is needed to view the items and if you register you can get text notifications when new auctions open. Here is the link to the BidPal site if you are not already registered. You may have to wait until the merchandise is on the site to register: https://one.bidpal.net/goamericans
|The Martinson family celebrating the Kelly Cup championship in 2016|
- Here is another story from The Players Tribune. This one was written by Mark Recchi, assistant coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He takes you on his journey from growing up in Kamloops, B.C. to his induction into the Hall of Fame. An excellent read: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/mark-recchi-hockey-hall-of-fame/
DID YOU KNOW: Excelling in the post season is key to a successful hockey career. Here are the Allen Americans career leaders for points scored in the playoffs by a defenseman.
37 points - Tyler Ludwig
29 points - David Makowski
25 points - Eric Roy