Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brampton Update, CHL Playoffs, & Other Info

- Allen heads into the third game of the playoffs as the only team to lose a home game thus far. The other top seeds (Wichita, Fort Worth, & Rapid City) all won both of their home games and lead 2-0.

- Average attendance for the first two two playoff games is as follows:
3667 - Rapid City
3112 - Allen
2767 - Wichita
1483 - Fort Worth

- Injuries at playoff time are always key but Allen without Berube, Maiani & Pineault have really been hit hard. Quad City lost CHL rookie of the year and their second leading scorer Mike Hellyer in their first playoff game against Fort Worth. 

- Kevin Young, the Wichita defenseman who won the CHL most outstanding defenseman award this year is writing a daily diary during the playoffs. It gives a view of the playoffs from inside the locker room. You can see Kevin's diary by going to the Wichita Thunder web site and look for the "Playoff Diary" tab. The direct link is:

- The new Brampton CHL franchise has not named their team yet but have narrowed the choices to Bandits, Beast, Blizzard, North Stars & Vipers. Below is an article written by Robin Inscoe of the Brampton Guardian about the new owners and the team.

A 'Central' location

Rosen and Kaplan happy to call Brampton home

FIRST CANADIAN TEAM:. Cary Kaplan (left) and Gregg Rosen are the men behind Brampton’s entry in the Central Hockey League, a minor pro team. The team, the first Canadian entry in the league, is currently conducting a Name the Team contest. They will begin play in October at the Powerade Centre. Photo by George Beshiri
Running hockey teams is nothing new to Gregg Rosen and Cary Kaplan— the men behind the new Central Hockey League team that will begin play in the minor pro league next fall at the Powerade Centre.
And they will use that past experience as they head into uncharted waters with the first Central Hockey League team ever in Canada.
“It’s all behind us now,” said Rosen, referring to the hurdles his group had to overcome to get a deal in place with the City of Brampton, Realstar Group (owners of the Powerade Centre) and the Central Hockey League itself. “At times I thought it wasn’t going to happen.”
But eventually it did, and now the “fun” begins as Rosen and Kaplan refer to it.
Rosen, the majority owner of the CHL franchise, hopes he’ll find the same success he encountered when he first took over the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He turned a struggling franchise into a Royal Bank Cup contender and his team became one of the larger drawing teams in the league.
Rosen, 53, gave up that team a few years ago for health reason but now has a clean bill of health and is ready to start fresh.
“I never played the game,” admitted the president/owner of KIMCO Steel in Kingston. “I can’t skate.”
But that didn’t stop Rosen from enjoying the game, even at a young age with the rest of his family.
Like most youngsters growing up in Canada he watched Hockey Night in Canada regularly..
And when his son Cody, who is finishing up his fourth and final season with Clarkson at the NCAA level, started playing, Rosen got  involved in the administration end of the game.
“When you commit your life to the rink you might as well get involved,” added Rosen. “It’s in your blood. You give up holidays for tournament.”
But that was only the start for Rosen, who sat on local minor hockey executives and got involved in sponsoring teams.
Before he knew it he was the major sponsor of the Kingston KIMCO Voyageurs, eventually taking over ownership of the team.
It became a family venture, with wife Marla acting as team president. Rosen’s eldest daughter, Samantha will take on a role with the new team when she completes her undergraduate studies in Sports Management in Boston. She will assume the presidency of Northlight Entertainment, which owns the majority shares of the hockey club. Rosen’s other daughter, Alexis, 17, is till honing her skills as a boxer. And, of course, she prefers to use the short version of her name— Ali.
Rosen’s partner in this venture is Kaplan, the former president of the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs and current co-owner of Cosmos Sports Management in Mississauga, along with his wife Amelia.
But just how Rosen and Kaplan hooked up is rather interesting!
“We met at the National Women’s Hockey League finals in Kingston,” said Rosen. “Commissioner Susan Fennell introduced us. It really is a small world, isn’t it?”
That meeting would lead to the two working together on a bid to bring the Royal Bank Cup to Kingston and Rosen’s eventual selling of the OJHL club.
They’ve been working together ever since.
“Without the mayor, this deal would not have happened,” said Kaplan. “The mayor was the glue. Without her commitment we wouldn’t be here.”
Kaplan, who attended the University of Toronto and Dalhousie, was a self-admitted sports junkie, opting to take sports marketing in 1994 and landing a job with the new Hamilton franchise when the Cape Breton Oilers announced a move to Ontario.
That’s where he met his wife. Amelia was one of only two employees to move to Hamilton with the AHL club.
Kaplan rose up through the ranks, eventually becoming team president before the team was sold.
The pair both resigned their positions and started their own sports marketing company in Mississauga.
They have promoted everything from the NHL, CFL, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, and OHL squads since they opened their business.
“We’ve probably worked for 500 teams,” admitted Kaplan. “But this is the biggest single project.”
And while Kaplan knows there are major hurdles to jump, he feels his group is prepared.
“There are a lot of people who think this won’t work,” noted Kaplan. “But we’re very confident of an over/under of 3,500 per game.”
“People look at the past,” added Rosen. “Unfortunately the past has left. This is a whole new product.”
“We’ve got an unbelievable team ready, able and excited,” continued Kaplan. “We’ve got a great opportunity and a phenomenal location.”
And the duo have heard the talk.
“We know there are skeptics out there,” said Kaplan. “ We’re not upset. We don’t blame them, but this is going to be exciting. There are no concerns about success.”
That’s good considering they’ve just signed a 15-year lease to play out of the Powerade Centre and committed major funding towards a new electronic scoreboard.
“We’ll be doing some unique things,” said Kaplan of their marketing plan. “You will get 50 per cent off your ticket price if you buy Founder’s Club seats and are offering a money back guarantee if you aren’t happy after one game.”
According to Rosen and Kaplan, they will be looking to provide entertainment for Brampton hockey fans.
“It’s all about the fans,” concluded Kaplan.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

McMillin, Kirsch, Updates & Attendance

Brian McMillin had the game winning goal and was selected #1 star of the game - photo by
The Americans got a big win last night over the Denver Cutthroats (4-2) to tie the series 1-1. Better game, better attendance, better score, better outcome. Here are my thoughts and observations:

- In the Americans last three victories which you could call must win victories (at Wichita after they beat us at the AEC, Tulsa the last game of regular season to win the Governor's Cup and last night to avoid going down 2-0) Brian McMillin has four goals, three assists and is a +5. He was named the #1 star in all three of these games.

- Brian missed the last part of the game after taking a shot to the mouth where no penalty was called. He posted on twitter a closeup pic of his mouth with a couple of teeth dislodged. Here is a picture where he was asking the ref why no penalty was called.
What, No penalty? - photo by
- Speaking of the referee, it was Kevin Curtis, who you might remember was almost knocked out cold in a game at the AEC on March 1 and suffered a concussion that kept him out for over three weeks. I thought he had a tough night last night and heard the same thing from many fans I talked to during and after the game.

- For the second night in a row one of the newly signed amateurs got the first goal. This time it was Justin Kirsch who just finished his career with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. In his first pro game Justin not only had the first goal of the game, he assisted on the second goal (Todd Robinson scored) and was +2 for the game. To top things off he was named the #3 star. And did you notice Darryl Bootland go on the ice and retrieve the puck for the rookie after he scored. I'm sure a night he will never forget.
Justin Kirsch celebrates first pro goal assisted by Brian McMillin - photo by

- The penalty kill unit was back in great form as they killed off all ten Denver power play opportunities.

- The power play continues to struggle going 0-6 in the game and is now 1-13 (7.69%) in the playoffs.

- I thought when Todd Robinson arrived the power play would improve dramatically and when he has the puck it seems like he is putting others in position to score but the results have not been there. Since Todd arrived the power play is 5-39 (12.82%). As coach Martinson has said a couple of times we will not have a 25% power play like we did when Brett Skinner was distributing the puck but he expects us to be at 18 or 19 percent.

- Look at the box score and it looks pretty unimpressive for Jason Deitsch with no points, two shots and four penalties but I thought he showed real leadership especially finishing his checks, mixing it up and showing a lot of intensity.

- Getting to be quite a players section of those not playing. In addition to Clarke & Doyle there was Berube, Maiani, and Pineault all looking dapper in their suits sitting in the second level.

- Thanks to Matt Canavan,  Garrett Clarke and Chris Doyle for spending a few minutes with the Heritage Ranch fan club who filled two suites at last night's game.

- I had several comments concerning my last post regarding attendance at the Thursday game when I said it was the lowest attendance in the history of the franchise. Interestingly last nights game had the highest attendance in franchise history of any game two. Day of the week was one comment as they thought the low turn out was because of the Thursday start. Our series also started on Thursday in 2011. I thought I would post attendance for the first two playoff games in each of the last four years and you can draw your own conclusions.

                First Game                 Second Game
2010        2493 (Fri)                  3377 (Sat)
2011        2400 (Thur)               3074 (Fri)
2012        3585 (Fri)                  3476 (Sun)
2013        2382 (Thur)               3842 Sat)

- The team boarded the bus for the long twelve hour drive to Denver immediately after the game and planned a practice at 4:00 pm Saturday. Getting acclimated to the higher altitude is important for the game on Sunday. Don't forget the game will start at 5:05 Central time tomorrow.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Great Home Ice Hoax, Game Recap, Attendance

The Americans Out Shot Denver 35-16 but Lost 2-1 photo by
Some familiar themes emerged in Allen's disappointing 2-1 loss to Denver last night before a very small crowd of 2382. Here are a few of those themes:

- The first theme is losing the game. The Americans have now lost their last four home games.

- For the fourth home game in a row Allen has out shot the opponent by a large margin and lost the game. In this four game home losing streak the shots are 155-78.

- In the last four home games the number one rated penalty kill unit in the league (85.67%) has allowed 7 goals in 17 attempts for PK rate of 58.83%.

- The power play did score the only goal for Allen but was one for seven on the night (14.2%). In the last four home games the power play is 2 for 22 (9.09%).

- Injuries continue to plague the team with Mike Berube and Anthony Maiani not playing and Adam Pineault leaving the game early in the first period with what appeared to be the same injury that has bothered him through out the last part of the season.

- The opening playoff game crowd of 2382 is the smallest in the four year history of the team but only by a small margin. The first round of the playoffs is hard to market because of the short amount of time from the end of the season until the first game. Here are the figures:
2013 - 2382
2012 - 3585
2011 - 2400
2010 - 2493

- As bad as the attendance was at the AEC last night (2382) it was better than the crowd at NYTEX Centre for Ft. Worth vs. Quad City (1258) and Intrust Bank Arena for Wichita vs. Arizona (2166).

- My assumptions on the line up for the game last night were all wrong so I deserve time in the penalty box. I assumed with Maiani out Justin Kirsch would see ice time but Drew Daniels was moved up to forward for the game. I assumed Mike Berube would play based on what I saw at practice but he did not and Bryce Aneloski played.

- Speaking of Aneloski he acquitted himself quite well for his first pro game scoring the only goal, taking a regular shift and being part of the first power play unit. And as his scouting report states he does have an NHL shot.

- Allen was the only top seeded team to loose as both Wichita and Ft. Worth took 1-0 leads in their series.

- In the strange stat category the visiting team has won all four games between Allen and Denver this year.

- Not sure why there was no press conference after the game last night. I hope this is not a pattern for the entire playoffs.

- The first playoff goal in team history was scored just three years ago against Laredo by Liam Huculak

- As proof of parity in the CHL this season it was the first time in 20 years that the league champion did not reach 40 wins.

- Finally, I know everyone is disappointed about the game last night. But it is only one game. Stay strong, stay supportive, stay positive.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

No CHL in Casper, Wyoming in 2013

Found this article written by Kelly Byer who is a staff writer for the Casper Star Tribune. Kelly has been following this story since last year. This may lend credence to the rumors going around that something might get done with the ECHL during the summer.

Casper plan to snag pro hockey falls short 

The group did not raise enough money to acquire a Central Hockey League team and update the Casper Events Center by the start of the 2013 season, City Manager John Patterson said Wednesday.
But he said there is still a chance professional hockey could happen in 2014.
“We intend to keep the team ownership group together,” he said. “Now we just need to fund the installation of the ice sheet up at the Events Center.”
Patterson said installation should take fewer than 90 days. The ice rink would stay on the floor eight months a year, and a 1-inch-thick board would be placed over the ice when concerts and other events take place.
Investors would be responsible for outfitting the center and coordinating CHL play in Casper.
The city would rent the center to the team and offset costs with related revenue, such as concessions. Because operations will be privately funded, the cost has not been released.
Patterson said community interest sparked the discussion in mid-2012, and feedback since then has been positive. He received more than 20 letters of support from current amateur hockey players at the Casper Recreation Center.
The CHL is roughly comparable to baseball’s AA level in the hierarchy of minor league hockey and fielded 10 teams this season. The closest franchises to Casper are the Rapid City (S.D.) Rush and the Denver Cutthroats.
Patterson has said he expects the future Casper team to come from Texas, as a CHL team that is no longer in operation is for sale. The players would participate in about 40 home games each season, which begins in October and ends in March.

Lakehead University Press Release Re: McDonald


John Payetta
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Lakehead University and the Thunderwolves hockey program are pleased to announce that Bill McDonald has been named the team’s new Head Coach.

McDonald replaces Mike Busniuk, who had been at the Wolves’ helm on an interim basis since taking over for Joel Scherban early this past season.
"Welcoming McDonald into the role of Thunderwolves head coach only strengthens our hockey program," said Lakehead University Athletics Director, Tom Warden. "Our pride in his appointment is matched only by our appreciation and gratitude for our interim coaches who performed admirably all season."

A native of Thunder Bay, McDonald began his coaching career with the Thunder Bay Twins in 1986.  From 1991 to 1995, he led the Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks and Senators to three Colonial/United League championships in four years.

In 1997, McDonald guided the Fort Worth Fire to a Central Hockey League title in only his second season in the CHL.  He was also the bench boss of various professional teams between 1998 and 2009, with stops in Lubbock of the WPHL, New Mexico and Austin of the CHL, Michigan of the IHL, and Dayton of the ECHL.
McDonald has been named coach of the year three times in three different leagues during his career, having been awarded the honor in the UHL in 1993, the CHL in 1997, and the WPHL in 1998.

From 2009 to 2012, McDonald was the Assistant Coach of the Allen Americans of the CHL, where former Thunderwolves Chris Whitley and Tobias Whelan played.  At the start of this season, McDonald moved into the front office in Allen, where he is the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations.  McDonald plans to finish out the season in Allen, Texas before moving back to Thunder Bay.

Thunderwolves Hockey will host an introductory media conference at a later date to be announced.

Practice Notes, Macker, & Other Thoughts

Bill McDonald Addressing the Heritage Ranch Fan Club - photo by Joe Sullivan

Congrats to Macker on his selection as the new head coach at Lakehead University in his home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario. I know in talking to him many times this year he loved and appreciated the fact that the Americans wanted him in the organization as a Special Advisor but his heart is still in coaching. We had the honor of having Macker attend our fan club meeting Tuesday evening and he was great. We wish Macker and Trudy well as they spend their first hockey season back home in Thunder Bay in many years.

 - I attended practice yesterday and was able to watch the Americans and Cutthroats go through their paces. Denver who is a smaller team than the Americans was full of pace and speed. The Americans continued to work on power play and deflections.

- Justin Kirsch and Bryce Aneloski looked good in practice but practice doesn't really tell you much. Kirsch was assigned #11 while Aneloski was assigned #5.

- Mike Berube looks like he is ready to go for tonight's playoff opener as he was in full practice mode while Anthony Maiani is still not practicing.

- With the way the playoff roster sets up and Maiani not practicing look for Justin Kirsch to be in the line up and see some ice time.

- Keep an eye on Denver players #22 AJ Gale who led the CHL with 46 goals and #2 Adam Smyth who was signed by Denver in mid February after playing for Arizona early in the year. Smyth is 6' 1" 240 pounds and had 222 minutes in penalties this year.

- This series might come down to the defense/goal tending of Allen versus the scoring of Denver. The Americans do not have a single point a game scorer (not counting recently acquired Todd Robinson) and with Maiani out of the line up they do not have anyone in the top 20 in points in the league. On the flip side Denver has three guys in the top seven in scoring in the league. Another key will be depth as Allen has in my opinion a stronger third line than Denver.

- Tom Manning, Director of Game Operations for the Americans promises some special team introductions for the playoffs. Will be looking forward to see what he has come up with.

- The Adam & Monique fundraiser for Martine Durelle, who will soon under go a bone marrow transplant, is planned for Saturday April 6. I had a chance to talk to Adam and Monique yesterday and they are gathering some great items for their auction and raffle. I should also have an address today or tomorrow if you want to make cash donations to Martine.

- My understanding is America One Sports will be providing free live streaming (audio) for all the playoff  games. The games will be broadcast exclusively on American One Sports. This will not impact how you listen to the games inside the AEC if you bring a radio to the game.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bill McDonald Leaving Americans

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Allen, Texas – The Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League announced on Wednesday that Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations, Bill “Macker”  McDonald, has been named the new head coach at Lakehead University at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

McDonald has been with the Allen Americans hockey club since day one, serving as an Associate Coach to former Head Coach and GM Dwight Mullins for three seasons, and this year serving as Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations.

"It’s a good day, but a sad day,” said Bill McDonald. “It’s exciting to have an opportunity to coach such a prestigious university in Canada, like Lakehead University, and I’m honored they selected me. It’s also very tough to say goodbye to so many great friends and fans, as well as so many great memories from Allen. A special thanks to Dwight Mullins, Doug Miller and Matt Canavan, who brought me here to be a part of this organization. I would also like to thank  Richard Matvichuk, Craig Ludwig, Mike Modano Ed Belfour, Steve Duchesne, and Steve Martinson for giving me an opportunity to work with such true professionals this season. It’s been an honor. I will miss being a part of this community, but am looking forward to going home and starting a new challenge.

He will remain with the club for the rest of the season, before returning to Canada to take his new spot behind the bench at Lakehead University. McDonald was responsible for bringing such talent to Allen as Bruce Graham, Jarret Lukin, Justin Bowers, Mike Kompon, Nino Musitelli and Dave Bonk, just to name a few.

The Allen Americans organization would like to thank Bill McDonald for all his hard work in bringing top notch talent to the Americans these past four seasons. He will be greatly missed and we wish him the best in his new adventure.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welcome to Allen Bryce Aneloski

The Americans have signed amateur Bryce Aneloski From the University of Nebraska-Omaha
The Americans have signed their second amateur, Bryce Aneloski  who was playing for the University of Nebraska - Omaha (UNO). Bryce is a 6' 2" 207 pound defenseman who hails from Pekin, Illinois. Here is some info about Bryce I was able to find.

- Bryce was drafted in the 7th Round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Ottawa Senators.  Here is how he described himself at the time: Well, I think I'm a good puck-moving defenseman. I think I can make a good outlet pass. I think I can play good stick-on-stick in the d-zone and stuff like that. I'd say the biggest strength that's come this year has been my play in the offensive zone, just making a little bit more stickhandles, like the feel of the puck and stuff like that, and I think my shot, too, just by working at it this summer.

- Bryce played junior hockey for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL) from 2007-2010, the same team former Americans defenseman David Strathman played for. Bryce was in Cedar Rapids after David had left.

- One of Bryce's teammates in Cedar Rapids (2007-2009) was Dean Chelios son of NHL great Chris Chelios.

- One of his teammates at UNO was Americans minority owner Ed Belfour's son, Dayn Belfour.

- Bryce just finished his college career at University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO). Last week his team lost to Minnesota State Mankato for a chance to go to the WCHA Final Five. Here is the info from the UNO media guide:

2012-13 Ice Hockey Roster

 Full Roster 

Bryce Aneloski
#24 Bryce Aneloski Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-2
Weight: 204
Class: Senior
Hometown: Pekin, Ill.
Junior/High School Hockey: Cedar Rapids (USHL)

2011-12 (Junior)
Led UNO defensemen in scoring while registering new career highs for goals and of six players to appear in all 38 games...had a pair of assists against Mercyhurst on Oct. 7...had another assist against Colgate on Oct. 8 and was named to the Mutual of Omaha Stampede All-Tournament Team...had a pair of assists at Wisconsin on Oct. 28...scored his first goal of the year (powerplay) at Wisconsin on Oct. 29...snapped a nine-game point drought with an assist against Quinnipiac on Dec. 31...had the game-winning, overtime goal at Minnesota State on Jan. 20...had another goal at Minnesota State on Jan.21 to set a new career high for goals in a season...had the game-tying goal against Bemidji State on Feb. 3, establishing a three-game goal streak...named a WCHA Scholar-Athlete on Feb. 9...had a goal at Michigan Tech on Feb. 10 and added an assist at MTU on Feb. 11...scored a goal at Colorado College on Feb. 18...had an assist against Minnesota on Feb. 24 to extend his point streak to team season high 10 games...named to the All-WCHA Academic Team on March 8.

2010-11 (Sophomore)
One of 10 players to play in all 39 games...finished second in defenseman scoring with 19 points...had a goal and an assist against British Columbia on Oct. 2...had two assists at Michigan on Oct. 22 for his first collegiate points...scored a goal and had an assist against Minnesota State on Nov. 5...had two assists against Michigan Tech on Dec. 10...had a powerplay goal at Quinnipiac on Dec. 30...registered two assists against Wisconsin on Feb. 12...had two assists on March 5 at Minnesota Duluth.

Before UNO
Was the top scorer among defensemen in the USHL in 2009-10 and was an All-USHL First Team pick, scoring 15 goals and 39 assists for 54 points in 60 games for Cedar Rapids...finished second in team scoring...registered 34 penalty minutes and had a team-best 26 powerplay points (8-18-26) while also firing a team-high 210 shots...had four more assists in five playoff games...finished with 27 goals and 59 assists for 86 career points in 157 game with Cedar Rapids and added four assists in 13 career playoff games...played 16 games for Providence College in 2008-09 and registered one assist and eight penalty minutes before returning to junior hockey.
Born April 27, 1990...son of Ronald and Stacey Aneloski...has one sister, Ashley...was selected in the seventh round, 196th overall, by the Ottawa Senators in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft...majoring in continuing studies.

- Here are some comments about Bryce from his college coach, Dean Blais.
Aneloski, a 6-foot-2, 204-pound defenseman from Pekin, Ill., is known for his steady play on the blue line as well as the rapid-fire tapping of his stick on the ice to call for a pass.
Aneloski, who started his career at Providence before playing his final three years with UNO, led Mav defensemen in scoring last year (six goals, 14 assists) and is second this year (4-15-19) behind only Andrej Sustr (7-14-21). He also has a plus-16 rating, third-best on the team.
“One of the first guys on the ice, one of the last to leave, one of the hardest-working defensemen day-in and day-out,” Blais said. “Another great team guy.”

Here is the info on Bryce from hockeydb:

Bryce Aneloski

Born -- Pekin, IL
[22 yrs. ago]
Height 6.02 -- Weight 207 -- Shoots R
Selected by Ottawa Senators round 7 #196 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2007-08 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 59 8 9 17 39 13 3 0 0 0 0
2008-09 Providence College H-East 16 0 1 1 8  

2008-09 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 38 4 8 12 38 -3 5 0 0 0 20
2009-10 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 60 15 39 54 34 10 5 0 4 4 0
2010-11 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 39 2 17 19 14  

2011-12 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 38 6 14 20 12  

2012-13 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 38 5 16 21 10 0

Playoff Roster, Attendance, Robinson Article

Todd Robinson has 920 career assists ranking him 10th all time - photo by
Hope you had a chance to read the profile of Todd Robinson in the Dallas Morning News yesterday. It is available on line and the article has a title of "Former WHL teammates Brenden Morrow and Todd Robinson have both become hockey stars -- at different levels" Take a look if you get a chance. Some very interesting things in the article including a quote from Brenden Morrow (they played together for two years) saying Todd had one of the best hockey IQs of anyone he has ever played with and he saw the game differently than other players. Robinson really is a legend in minor league hockey. So why didn't Todd ever get a chance in the NHL? It was really about size as the rules and style of play back then made it difficult for a 5' 8" 175 pounder. I looked up Todd's stats for the two years he and Morrow played together for the Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) and it proved Morrow's point. In 1996-1997 Robinson had 38 goals & 96 assists for 135 points to lead the team. Morrow had 39 goals & 49 assists for 88 points. In 1997-1998 Todd once again led the team with 35 goals & 74 assists for 109 points while Morrow had 34 goals & 52 assists for 86 points. By the way finishing third in scoring that year was a guy named Marian Hossa with 85 points and yes, they did win the Memorial Cup that year.

Robinson is 10th all time in minor league hockey in assists and 23rd all time in points. To put that in perspective, he has collected more points than any player at any level of hockey, including the NHL, over these last 14 seasons.

 - I found this attendance analysis on (I highly recommend this site for you avid CHL fans) which was posted by Avsrule_2002.

So, attendance at the halfway point of the season this year averaged 3461. Final average was 3706 for a jump of +245. Every team in the league finished with a higher average than they did at the halfway point of the season except for Rapid City (-45), Allen (-91) and Denver (-44). Wichita (+811) and Quad City (+596) had the biggest jumps in second half attendance. This pretty much supports the idea that 2nd half attendance is better (for the most part) than the 1st half.
On the other hand, only 3 teams finished the season with a higher average attendance than last year. Bloomington (+244), Arizona (+110) and Missouri (+68).
The rest of the teams finished with lower attendance than last year. Wichita (-727), Ft. Worth (-570), Tulsa (-344), Quad City (-273), Allen (-179), and Rapid City (-38).

 I have to say our (Allen) numbers are disappointing to me.  With the publicity about new ownership,  the attention Modano, Belfour, Ludwig brought to the team,  Matvichuk as a coach, and being in first place for the entire year I expected a big jump in attendance. Here are the average attendance figures for Allen for all four years along with how we ranked:
2009-2010 - 3810  8th
2010-2011 - 3986  8th
2011-2012 - 4336  7th
2012-2013 - 4147  5th

Let's hope the playoffs bring out bigger crowds. I think the first round is going to be tough to draw crowds because of the short amount of time to market the games. I am especially encouraging the people at Heritage Ranch to attend the Thursday game as getting folks out for that game will be the hardest.


Just heard the playoff roster and here is how it all came down:
 - Garrett Clarke was put on season ending injured reserve (IR) so he will not play in the playoffs
-  Chris Doyle was placed in the playoff  IR spot so he will not play in the first round of the playoffs
-  Maiani & Berube are on the roster so they should play on Thursday
-  Justin Kirsch is one amateur and the second amateur has been signed but named not released yet

Monday, March 25, 2013

Will The Bloomington Blaze Survive

Found this article written by Joe Deacon about the future of the Bloomington Blaze. Is it just me or are there a lot of hedge words in this story:

CHL commissioner: Blaze expected to return next season

March 24, 2013 4:00 am  • 
BLOOMINGTON — Central Hockey League commissioner Duane Lewis expects the Bloomington Blaze to remain part of the league for next season even as questions surround the ownership status of Sandra Hunnewell.
“It hasn’t been ideal,” Lewis said of the current situation during Saturday’s game at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. “But our goal is to be here next year and whether it’s with Sandy or somebody else or a combination of people, that’s what we’re talking about.”
Rumors about the league taking over ownership of the team from Hunnewell, a New Jersey businesswoman, circulated on the Internet over the past two months.
“She’s got a lot going on and not being in here on a daily basis has hurt,” said Lewis. “There’s been nobody here from an ownership standpoint.
“There just hasn’t been the hands on that there is in a lot of other cases. That’s been part of the problem, so we’ve been more engaged in that process.”
Lewis said the league has weathered unclear ownership issues in several markets in the past.
“It’s nice to have no doubts. Over the course of our seasons, on several teams in the offseason there’ve been doubts as to what’s going to happen,” he said. “In this franchise there’s been that situation before, too. Our goal is to make sure those doubts are out of everybody’s minds as quickly as possible.”
The Blaze have yet to renew their Coliseum lease for the 2013-14 season, but Lewis doesn’t expect that to be a “major hurdle” going forward.
“The parties that need to talk about the lease are talking,” he said. “I’m not aware of any deadline, but if there is one I don’t think there’s going to be anything that’s gone terribly awry.”
The Blaze conclude their second season in the CHL today and will finish in ninth place. Lewis firmly believes the Blaze will see a third season.
“Our goal here right now is to get this going forward as quickly as possible. We’re a little bit behind where we want to be,” he said. “We have work we have to do, obviously, to make sure we’re as solid as we want.”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Regular Season Champs, McMillin #1 Star

Allen Americans Win Bud Poile Governors' Cup - photo by

Congrats are in order for the all the players and staff for winning the regular season championship with a tough 3-2 victory over the Tulsa Oilers this afternoon. It came down to the final period of the final game which I think is fitting for this team. I describe them as a team that will bend but not break. So many times this season the team would be questioned about how they were playing even though they were in first place. Every time there was a game that if they lost they would relinquish first place they won the game. I know it is the Presidents' Cup that we are after but we should all take a little time to enjoy this great achievement which the Americans have accomplished twice in four years.

- Brian McMillin had the game winning goal on a deflection of a Trevor Hendrikx shot on a third period power play. Brian was named the #1 star of the game for the second time this weekend as he was also the #1 star in the victory over Wichita on Friday.

- There were only two power plays in the game but they were both key. Allen scored the game winning goal on their only power play early in the third period and the Americans were able to stop Tulsa on their only power play with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

- Four years in existence and the team has never finished lower than second in the regular season. I think we are a little spoiled. Here are the regular season results:
 2009-2010 - 87 points - 2nd place
 2010-2011 - 97 points - 1st place
 2011-2012 - 87 points - 2nd place
 2012-2013 - 87 points - 1st place

- Congrats to all of our category leaders: Anthony Maiani with 55 points, Tyler Ludwig 40 assists, Jamie Schaafsma 24 goals & +15.

- A special tip of the hat to Jamie Schaafsma and Jason Deitsch who are the only players to play in all 66 games.

- Congrats to Aaron Dell & Steve Silverthorn who allowed the fewest goals in the league (176)

- The Americans were the only team in the league with a better road record  (20-8-5) than home record (19-10-4). Their 20 road wins were four more than any other team.

- The 1571 penalty minutes this year not only led the league by over 440 minutes, it is an all time record for the Americans.
2009-2010 - 1229
2110-2011 - 1184
2011-2012 - 1336
2012-2013 - 1571

- Here are the match ups for the first round of playoffs. Don't pay any attention to the seedings as anything can happen in these series. Some of the lower seeds (Arizona & Quad City) are playing the best hockey right now.
Allen (1) hosts Denver (8)
Wichita (2) hosts Arizona (7)
Fort Worth (3) hosts Quad City (6)
Rapid City (4) hosts Missouri (5)

- I tried to find out the dates for our home games against Denver. I was unable to getting anything official so we won't get that answer until Monday morning. I did hear a rumor that if we played Denver there are some issues that have to be dealt with that might not allow us to have Friday & Saturday as the first two home dates. Not sure if it is travel related or arena scheduling issues but all should be resolved tomorrow. Heard from someone at the game that Coach Martinson said the first home game will be Thursday. Thanks @KnockoutGoon for sharing that info.

- Hard to believe the Stars have acquired prospect Joe Morrow and a 5th round pick from Pittsburgh for Brenden Morrow and a 3rd round pick. Not a big surprise but it is hard to see him go. Joe Morrow was the 23rd player taken in the 2011 NHL draft. Who will ever forget Brenden and some of his teammates practicing with the Americans during the NHL lockout. Here is a picture of Brenden that Richard Henry posted on Facebook.

Brenden Morrow practicing with the Americans, Stars goalie Richard Bachman in the background

Martinson Comments, Justin Kirsch Signed

Will Everything Come Together For The Americans Against Tulsa This Afternoon - Photo by

The way the later part of this season has gone it is not surprising with a chance to clinch first place, playing at home in front of one of the biggest crowds of the season (5369), best goaltender in the league starting we end up getting beat 4-0 by the Missouri Mavericks. Special teams which should have worked in Allen's favor were once again the deciding factor as the Americans were 0-4 against the worst penalty kill unit  in the league. And the Americans number one rated penalty kill unit gave up two goals on six attempts. We have been in this position several times this year where we could lose the points lead and every other time we have but forth a great effort when needed and won the game. Obviously this afternoon in Tulsa a great effort is needed. One game for the regular season championship!!

Here are some of Coach Martinson's comments following the game:

- Sebastian Thinel and his line killed us as they had all four goals. Every time we were soft on the puck they put it in our net.

- We took some bad penalties and you can't come back killing five on threes.

- Our top guys need to win this for us. You can't get soft this time of year. We need to get guys in front of the goalie instead of standing off to the side.

- Garrett Clarke was a healthy scratch tonight. It is the first time in a long time we have had that situation.

- We don't have our top guys on their "A" game. Friday night in Wichita Deitsch, McMillin & McKenzie were fabulous. They are not our most talented players but they were our top line.They worked the hardest.  The biggest thing in the playoffs is your top guys need to carry you. It is great to get production from the third line but we need to get our top players to be our top players.

- I think we have the best roster in the CHL and would not trade our group for any other going into the playoffs. But it is not the best roster that wins, it is whoever plays the hardest, the group that will go to the tough spots on the ice, screen the goalie and not stand off to the side that will win most games. It is good in CHL playoffs that the series are best of seven.

- We practice every day taking shots from the point and tipping the puck but right now we are not getting the deflections. This is an area we need to improve in the playoffs.

- Missouri was more desperate than us as we both had something to play for but they wanted it more than us.

- The amateur player we have signed is Justin Kirsch (see info below). He is one of the top scorers on his junior team and has a NHL shot. He can't play until the playoffs. Justin in 20 years old, 6' 2" and weighs 184 pounds. He shoots left and plays left wing. He has 23 goals and 19 assists in 65 games for Moose Jaw.

The Moose Jaw Warriors are happy to announce that Justin Kirsch has signed a contract with the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League.
Kirsch spent the last two years with the Warriors, playing in 112 games, scoring 40 goals and finishing with 90 points.  The Chilliwack, BC product broke into the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen in 2009-2010 and was traded to Moose Jaw early in the 2011-2012 season where he played a key role in the team’s 2012 East Division Championship.
During his five year career, Kirsch played in 222 games, scoring 70 goals and finishing with 148 points and 64 penalty minutes.  He’s scheduled to leave for Allen over the weekend.

- It looks like Mike Berube might be ready for the playoffs so the Americans  will not sign another defenseman at this point.

- The playoff roster is due to the league office by 3:00 PM on Monday. Unless there is a serious injury in the game with Tulsa we will have to leave one player from the current squad off the playoff roster. It will most likely be one of the young guys.

Other Thoughts:

- Heard last night that there is a possibility Ryley Grantham may get called up by the Minnesota Wild (NHL) in the near future.

- You have to admire the play of Sebastien Thinel who had the first two goals last night, assisted on the third and was on the ice for all four goals scored. He not only leads the CHL in scoring with 95 points, he also leads the league in +/- with a +31. He has my vote for league MVP which will be announced tomorrow.

- I want to end this post with some information I saw on the site. One of the posters on the forum "MavsFanJoe" has done an excellent job of keeping everyone up to date on magic numbers over the last six weeks and it now comes down to the final day. I want to thank MavsFanJoe for all of the time and effort he put into this and also share with you his magic numbers for the last day of the season. It gives you all of the specifics and unknowns as we go into today's final games:

Re: Magic Numbers

Postby MavsFanJoe » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:53 am
The champagne stayed on ice and uncorked last night at the Allen Events Center. The Wichita Thunder defeated the Tulsa Oilers 5-2 at the BOK. The delay in celebrating the winning of the Bud Polie Governor's Cup was assisted by the streaking Missouri Mavericks dealing a 4-0 shutout of the Americans. Allen needs a regulation victory tonight against the Oilers in what should be a very emotional game for the Oilers as this will be Captain Tyler Fleck's farewell performance. Or, they become huge Maverick fans rooting for a Missouri victory over the Thunder.

The Rapid City Rush kept their tenuous grip on 4th place by battling to a 2-1 shoot out win over the Denver Cutthroats. This regular season finale for the Rush kept them a single point in front of the Missouri Mavericks. The game-in-hand for the Mavericks now comes into play, as the Mavericks needs at least an OTL to gain a points tie with the Rush. The Mavericks will then move into the final home-ice playoff spot as they own a 5 non-shoot out win advantage over the Rush. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that the Rush and Mavericks will meet each other in the first round of the playoffs. But who will have the home-ice advantage?

The Fort Worth Brahmas closed out their regular season with a loss to the Arizona SunDogs 3-nil. But, comfortably in 3rd, the Brahmas now get ready to face the 6th place Quad City Mallards at home in the first round of the Ray Miron Cup Playoffs. This match-up was solidified with the Flock defeating the Bloomington Blaze 4-2 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Quad City's hopes of overtaking the Missouri Mavericks for 5th place were squashed by the aforementioned 4-0 victory by the Mavs over Allen. Arizona, by virtue of their 3-0 blanking of the Bulls, solidified their 7th place position. Their opponent in the first round is still undecided, but will be either the Thunder or the Americans.

The same can be said by the Denver Cutthroats. Their SO loss to the Rush kept them in the 8th and final playoff spot. Today's season-ending game between Missouri and Wichita will decide to which city they will travel for their opening round.

So, here's what we do know for sure: The Fort Worth Brahmas will host the Quad City Mallards on Friday, March 30? The Americans and Wichita will host either Arizona or Denver. The Rush and the Mavs will meet, but where.

All will become crystal clear by tonight (keep the Captain Obvious comments to yourself),

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Americans Storm The Thunder & Other Thoughts

With Two Goals And An Assist Brian McMillin Was Named #1 Star Of The Game - photo by

Brian McMillin led the way last night as the Allen Americans beat the Wichita Thunder 6-2. I saw the game described as a statement game, the best two points of the year, the most important game of the year, and the most impressive win of the year.  When you beat the team with the best home record (24-5-2) in the league after they just beat you in your building, you are playing in a close to sold out arena (7212), before the fans voted the most annoying in the league, you are playing for first place, and you silence the crowd you have accomplished something. But with all that said, the win won't mean anything unless the team comes back tonight with another great effort.

- How about the 3M boys from Minnesota (McMillin, McKenzie, & Montgomery) who all had a great game last night. They are used to cranking it up this time of year from their college days. And how about on the same night Brian McMillin is the number one star of the game his unranked  Colorado College Tigers (CC) who finished 8th in the 12 team league,  score an upset for the second game in a row (University of North Dakota Thursday and University of Minnesota Friday). CC will meet the University of Wisconsin tonight for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title which is the last WCHA title as the league, which was started in 1951, is breaking up after this year.

- The Americans have out shot their opponents in the last three games by a total of 60 shots (122-62). Just so happens Todd Robinson arrived three games ago.

- Speaking of Robinson he has seven points (1 goal & 6 assists) in the three games he has played for Allen.

- Happy birthday to Chris Doyle who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday. Next up is Trevor Hendrikx who turns 28 on Friday (3/29).

- The battle for 6th, 7th, and 8th in the league continues between Quad City (70 points), Arizona (69 points) and Denver (69 points) as all three won last night. Quad City has the advantage as they are up by one point and have a game in hand over the other two. These three team are going to be a handful in the playoffs for the teams at the top. Quad City has the best record in the league in March and is 8-2 in their last ten games while Arizona is 6-2-2 and Denver is 4-4-2.

- I am sure most of you are aware of this but in case you are not you can see many of the game video highlights  by clicking on the "game live" under the CHL scoreboard. In addition to the goals from last night you can see how close Brian McMillin came to getting a hat trick as his shot barely missed the open net after Wichita pulled their goalie.

- It will be a tough turnaround for tonight's game as the team had a long ride home last night. If it is any consolation Missouri had about three hours further to travel than the Americans after beating Tulsa 5-1 at home last night.

- Speaking of tough turn arounds, Tommy Daniels gets the "above and beyond the call of duty" award as he was driving Todd Robinson's car back to Allen after the game last night so Todd could get some sleep on the bus on the way home. Todd went back to Evansville to retrieve his car and belongings after the Tuesday game in Allen and met the team in Wichita. Short night for Tommy. Hope all went well.

- Allen is 3-2 against Missouri this year with the Mavericks winning the first two games (November & December) and the Americans winning the last three (February & March).

- Look for special teams to make the difference tonight as Allen has the best penalty kill in the league while Missouri has the worst.

- I noticed Kevin Curtis, the referee who was injured (concussion) during a game at the Allen Event Center on March 1st returned last night as he worked the Missouri vs Tulsa game. Good to see Kevin back on the ice.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Aaron Dell Wins CHL Outstanding Goalie Award

Aaron Dell Wins Outstanding Goalie Award - photo by
Allen’s Aaron Dell Wins Scott Brower Award

GLENDALE, AZ (March 22, 2013) – The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Aaron Dell of the Allen Americans has been named the recipient of the 2012-13 Central Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Goaltender award (Scott Brower Award).

The award is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League’s most outstanding goaltender, in memory of Scott Brower, former CHL goaltender and team staff member.’  Voting was done by CHL head coaches, communications departments and selected media members in each market. 

In what turned out to be a very close race, Dell earned 22 of the 44 votes on the ballots retuned narrowly edging out Fort Worth’s Kristofer Westblom who finished with 17 votes.  Earlier this week, Dell was named a member of the CHL All-Rookie Team and All-CHL Team and was the runner-up to Mike Hellyer (QDC) for CHL Rookie of the Year.  The other nominees for the top goaltender award were Rapid City’s Tim Boron, Denver’s Kieran Millan and Wichita’s Torrie Jung.

Dell, 23, has had an outstanding season that has had him at or near the top in league wins, goals against average and save percentage all season long.  Currently, the Airdire, Alberta native is 20-10-6 with a league-best 2.26 goals against average and a .919 save percentage (second in the league).  The rookie’s three shutouts are second most in the league and the youngster has carried quite a workload with the second highest minutes in the CHL (2175:25).

The former University of North Dakota star began his pro career with wins in 12 of his first 16 decisions allowing three goals or fewer in 15 of those 16 contests.  Dell shares his collegiate lineage with the person this award is named after, Scott Brower, who attended and stared at North Dakota from 1984-1988. 

The CHL Joe Burton Scoring Championship will be determined at the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday and the CHL Most Valuable Player recipient will be announced on Monday, March 25.

CHL Most Outstanding Goaltender (winners since 2001)
2012-13 – Aaron Dell (Allen)
2011-12 – Mark Guggenberger (Texas)
2010-11 – Robby Nolan (Missouri)
2009-10 – Joel Martin (Odessa)
2008-09 – Kevin Beech (Mississippi)
2007-08 – John DeCaro (Bossier-Shreveport)
2006-07 – John DeCaro (Bossier-Shreveport)
2005-06 – Ken Carroll (Bossier-Shreveport)
2004-05 – Tyler Weiman (Colorado)
2003-04 – Scott Reid (San Angelo)
2002-03 – Matt Barnes (Austin)
2001-02 – Mike Gorman (Odessa)

2012-13 CHL Awards that have already been announced are:
CHL Athletic Trainer of the Year – Vince Fedorowich, Arizona Sundogs
CHL Gunner Garrett Equipment Manager of the Year – Romeo Vivit, Rapid City Rush
CHL All-Rookie Team – Aaron Dell (ALN), Greger Hanson (WIC), Mike Hellyer (QDC), Matt McCready (ARZ), Sy Nutkevitch (FTW) and Daniel Spivak (FTW) 
All-CHL Team – Aaron Dell (ALN), A.J. Gale (DEN), Mickey Lang (QDC), Tyler Ludwig (ALN), Sebastien Thinel (MIZ) and Kevin Young (WIC)
CHL Man of the Year – Travis Wight, Wichita Thunder
CHL Rookie of the Year – Mike Hellyer, Quad City Mallards 
CHL Coach of the Year – Dan Wildfong, Fort Worth Brahmas
CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman  - Kevin Young, Wichita Thunder

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Notes From Practice & Pineault Fundraiser

Just returned from practice and not much to report. The team was headed for lunch (I heard something about Five Pie Pizza) and then hitting the road for the close to six hour trip to Wichita.

- Jim Mckenzie was a full participant in practice so I assume he is good to go for Friday night.

- Anthony Maiani is not ready to go so Saturday would be best case scenario for him and as coach Martinson said at the press conference on Tuesday we may not see Anthony until playoffs.

- Todd Robinson was not at practice as he is back in Evansville picking up some of his belongings. He will meet the team in Wichita.

- Talked briefly to Adam Pineault after practice and he asked me to let eveyone know about a fundraiser he is putting together for 21 year old Martine Durelle, who is battling the same kind of cancer and treatment Monique Pineault has dealt with.  Adam and Monique know all to well how hard it can be worrying about treatments as well as all of the financial burdens. They are just putting the details together put there will be an auction and/or raffle during the first two playoff games. If anyone reading this can help Adam and Monique out by donating any items ( game used jerseys, gift certificates, services etc.) to this effort please let me know. It would go to a great cause.
Martine Durelle

- For those of you in the area I would like to invite you to our fan club meeting next Tuesday, March 26th from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. The meeting will take place in the ballroom at Heritage Ranch and our special guest will be legendary coach, Bill McDonald, Special Advisor to the Americans, who will be talking about the Americans, the upcoming playoffs, and all things hockey. Plenty of time for questions and discussion. It will be both fun and informative. We will also have a drawing at the end of the meeting for playoff tickets. We will be giving away eight pair of tickets to the first round of the playoffs. Heritage Ranch is located about five miles east of the Allen Event Center on Stacy Road.

11 Americans Statistical Leaders

Jamie Schaafsma Leads The Team In Four Categories - photo by

I plan on attending practice today and will post any news I pick up but thought I would post our team leaders in various statistical categories as we head into the last weekend of regular season. In case you didn't notice Fort Worth lost to Arizona 6-2 last night. While the Brahmas loss doesn't clinch second place for Allen it would take the Americans losing their last three games and Ft. Worth winning their last two games (in Arizona) for the Americans to finish third.

Here we go:

Record: 37-17-9 (1st)
Goals For: 201 (5th)
Goals Against: 168 (1st)
Penalty Minutes 1535 (1st by over 400 minutes)
Power Play: 20.55% (3rd)
PPSSL*: 14.12% (10th)   *power play since Skinner left
Penalty Kill: 85.80% (1st)
Short Handed Goals Against: 8 (tied 3rd)
Short Handed Goals For: 7 (tied 3rd)
Attendance: 4119 (4th)

Goals: Jamie Schaafsma: 24 - (tied 14th in league)
Assists: Tyler Ludwig: 40 - (tied 7th)
Points: Anthony Maiani: 55 - (15th)
Plus/Minus: Maiani & Bootland: +14 - (tied 10th)
PIM: Garrett Clarke: 221 - (3rd)
Game Winning Goals: Jamie Schaafsma: (tied 3rd)
Shots: Jamie Schaafsma: 185 - (16th)
Shooting Percentage: Scott Howes 28% - (2nd)
3 Stars Leader: Jamie Schaafsma 46 points -  (6th)
Goals Against Average: Aaron Dell 2.26 - (1st)
Save Percentage: Aaron Dell 91.9% - (2nd)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dell Misses Rookie of Year by One Vote

Aaron Dell Misses Rookie Of The Year Honors By One Vote - Photo by

Mike Hellyer Named CHL Rookie of the Year

Quad City’s Mike Hellyer Named CHL Rookie of the Year

GLENDALE, AZ (March 20, 2013) – The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Quad City Mallards forward Mike Hellyer
has been selected the recipient of the 2012-13 Central Hockey League Rookie of the Year award following balloting among CHL head coaches, communications departments and selected media members in CHL markets. 

The Rookie of the Year award is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League player adjudged to be the most proficient in his first year of professional competition.’

In the closest vote in the history of the award, Hellyer won by just one vote receiving 15 of the 44 votes cast, while Allen goaltender Aaron Dell received 14 votes.  The other finalists were Greger Hanson (WIC), Kenton Miller (MIZ) and Sy Nutkevitch (FTW).  

The Brandon, Manitoba native leads all rookies in scoring with 60 points (23-37=60) and is tied for second among all first year players with a +13 plus/minus rating.  Earlier this week, the 5-9, 170-pound rookie was named a forward on the CHL All-Rookie Team.

Martinson Post Game Comments & Is The Party Over?

Turn Out The Lights, Is The Party Over? - photo
Of course the party is not over, it has just begun but it was difficult getting rejected by the best looking team at the CHL party last night. The Americans wasted a great comeback to lose to Whichta 4-3 with the game winner coming with just over a minute left in the game. There were a lot of similarities with the loss to Ft. Worth on Sunday. A very important game in the race for first place, playing at home, out shooting the opponent (43-19) and loosing the game.

We have been at this point several times before this year where it appeared we might be heading for second place and have always risen to the occasion . First place is still totally in control of the Americans. Is the path more difficult, yes but this team has shown time and again it can get the job done under adversity.

Here are some of Coach Martinson's post game comments:

- I was disappointed in the start of the game as we gave up a couple of soft plays and you can't give Wichita an inch. Every time we were soft they put the puck in the net.

- I changed goalies even though it wasn't really our goalies fault and then we had some guys go really hard and get us back in the game. Wichita was ripe for the picking but our veterans did not step up. We need our veterans guys to step up and that hasn't happened the last few games.

- We went brain dead on the power play as we got away from some of the things we had been working on.

- I thought Baldwin played great tonight and I think he is going to help us. He is good at blocking shots and moving guys out.
- Robinson has made our power play a lot better. When we got the puck to him things happened and when we got away from that it didn't. I think some of our guys are more worried about how much power play time they are getting rather doing everything they can to help win the game.

- McKenzie may play this weekend but don't look for Maiani to play until the first round of the playoffs.

- Kerbashian is suspended for three games. A bad time of the year to spear somebody. He won't be back until the weekend.

- We miss the speed of McKenzie, Maiani, & Kerbashian in a game like tonight.

- I have one amateur signed who will be here this weekend but he can't play until the playoffs. I am waiting to see what else happens before I sign another amateur.

- Doesn't look like the Europeans players we have signed will be coming.

- We will be adding another defenseman but I don't know yet if it will be a pro or an amateur.

- The playoff roster (which must be submitted by March 26th) is made up of 19 players plus one additional player can be on the injured reserve (IR) for a total of 20 pro players. The person who starts the playoffs on IR (most likely Berube) will not be able to play in the first round. In addition to the 20 pro players you can have two amateur players. You can also have a third goalie on the playoff roster as back up.

One of the more interesting comments Coach Martinson  made from my perspective was in response to a question from the audience regarding whether the players we are bring in late in the season will be here next year. This is not a quote and I am reading between the lines but the response was something like we are not thinking about signing anyone until all the stuff going on in the league sorts itself out. I took this to mean there is still the possibility of something going on between the CHL or CHL teams and the ECHL. We can only hope.

Finally, best of luck to equipment manager Kacee Coberly and his wife Roxanne who will be headed to the hospital today for the birth of their second child, a son, named Noah. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baldwin Loaned to Allen- Stats & Info

New Allen Defensemen Corbin Baldwin
The Houston Aeros have sent defenseman Corbin Baldwin to the Americans on loan. Corbin has been playing with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. He was at practice today and should be in the line up tonight.

He signed an AHL contract with Houston last August and the press release (dated August 12,2012) is below which gives some of his background.

Corbin Baldwin Signs WIth Houston Aeros of the AHL

August 12, 2012
Turning Point Sports Management client Corbin Baldwin who has played the last four years with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League has signed a one way American Hockey League contract with the Houston Aeros. The Aeros are the top minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League. Baldwin, 21, had just completed his overage season with the Chiefs, serving as an Assistant Captain, and collecting 6 goals and 27 assists for 33 points. Baldwin is an exceptional shot blocker, has a great defensive stick and is tough, amassing 138 penalty minutes in his final season in the WHL.
Turning Point Sports Management
Baldwin attended the Minnesota Wild Development Camp in early July, and was able to earn the one year AHL deal based on his performance at that camp. The contract also includes a signing bonus. “I’m excited to get the opportunity to show what I can do as a professional,” said Baldwin when reached at his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, “and I want to thank the Spokane Chiefs and coach Don Nachbaur for all that they have done in helping me get to this point in my career.” Baldwin will attend training camp with the Minnesota Wild barring a work stoppage in the NHL, and if that event occurs, will report to the Houston Aeros camp on September 27 to commence his professional career.
“Corbin has tremendous work ethic, is a prototypical defensive defenseman, and has the drive and determination and ability to make it to the highest level,” said Turning Point Executive Director Carlos Sosa. “Corbin also has something you cannot teach – exceptional size at 6’5”, and is quite mobile for a big man.” Turning Point wishes Corbin the best as he turns the page to the next chapter in his hockey journey.

Here are his stats:

Corbin Baldwin

Born -- Winnipeg, MAN
[22 yrs. ago]
Height 6.05 -- Weight 215 -- Shoots L
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2008-09 Spokane Chiefs WHL 42 0 4 4 64 3 2 0 0 0 0
2009-10 Spokane Chiefs WHL 66 3 6 9 77 14 7 0 1 1 8
2010-11 Spokane Chiefs WHL 71 2 18 20 110 5 17 0 4 4 9
2011-12 Spokane Chiefs WHL 69 6 27 33 128 35 13 2 0 2 14
2012-13 Orlando Solar Bears* ECHL 38 0 5 5 49 -5

2012-13 Houston Aeros* AHL 4 0 1 1 7 0