Seeing Red: Allen Americans Retool For New Season

The Allen Americans are gearing up for their third season in the Allen Event Center. After going to the Berry Conference finals and losing to the ultimate champions the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, the Americans set out to retool their lineup for the new season. They are not content with just getting to the postseason - they want that President's Trophy. Their offseason moves show their commitment to making that happen and proving that Allen is amongst the top programs in the Central Hockey League.

Central Hockey League (CHL) Upheaval

The big story in the offseason was the change to the CHL league landscape. After watching a few teams move to the ECHL and NAHL leagues, the CHL was also hit with a few franchises that collapsed altogether. The champions, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, shuttered their arena and ceased operations shortly after the end of the season. There were major concerns that the CHL would not exist in any capacity this year. The good news is that the league is still operating and is having a full season, albeit with fewer teams than in the past. The big question mark for many fans is what will happen next season - will more franchises leave to join the ECHL or the NAHL? Will more franchises have to shutter their doors due to economic reasons? Only time will tell.

NHL Affiliation Added

The Allen Americans also reach an affiliation agreement with the Lake Erie Monsters/Colorado Avalanche clubs for the upcoming season. This is in addition to their existing affiliation with the Dallas Stars. The Allen Americans remain one of only three teams in the CHL to have an affiliation with an NHL club.

After the jump, a look at the roster changes that occurred during the offseason: who's staying, who's coming, and who's going.

Notable Returning Members:

With all of the uncertainty in the CHL, the Allen Americans maintained focus on the upcoming season by looking at the one aspect they can control: their on-ice personnel. They made some splashes early by locking up a few of last year's team members. Among the notable returning members:

  • F Colton Yellow Horn:  Yellow Horn is a name that many fans associate with Allen Americans hockey. A speedy forward, Yellow Horn has a knack for finding the back of the net - and often. He is also a fan favorite, and well recognized in the community of Allen.
  • F Bruce Graham:   Graham will be playing in Allen for his third season, making him the most tenured member of the team. The big forward is another fan favorite, centering their top line most nights.
  • F Brian McMillan, a young forward with a lot of potential that joined the Americans about half way through last season, and D Mike Berube are also returning this season.
  • Notable Departures:

    It isn't an offseason without some departures, and the Americans did lose several fan favorites this summer. They lost two of their more dynamic play makers as well as their entire goaltending tandem from last season. A look at some of the players that will not be back wearing the red this season:

  • F Nino Musitelli:  The speedy scoring threat in Musitelli was sent to the Dayton Gems for future considerations. Another fan favorite and active community member, Musitelli will be greatly missed. Really, I'm just jealous that he gets to take part in the Angry Birds night and I don't.
  • F Judd Blackwater: The other half to the "Black and Yellow" line, Blackwater signed with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.
  • G Chris Whitley and G Scott Campbell:  There will be a completely new duo manning the pipes for the Americans this season. Whitley lead the team to the playoffs in their first two seasons. The Americans traded Whitley right before free agency to Wichita in exchange for three players. He then went to sign with the Dundee Stars in the EIHL (Scotland). Campbell served as a backup after coming to the Americans during the season last year, and remains unsigned as of now.
  • Notable Additions:

    But their is always the excitement of new players added to the roster as well. The Americans have made a ton of signings this offseason, and next week we will have a more comprehensive look at the team as a whole along with training camp updates. Until then, a few of the notable additions the team made in the offseason include:

  • F Nick Layton: Layton spent time this summer with the Dallas Stars in Traverse City, where the Stars management told him they wanted him to work on his leadership and work ethic. He also saw time at the Texas Stars' training camp as well before being assigned back to the Americans this week.
  • F Spencer Edwards: Edwards played last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. He was awarded the Canadian Hockey League's Humanitarian Award Winner, and figures to be really actice in the Allen community this season.
  • F Jason Deitsch: Deitsch was the captain of the cross-town rivals Texas Brahamas last season. This signing should make those Brahamas games even more exciting than they already were, with the ex-captain facing his old team for the first time on October 14th.
  • G Rejean Beauchemin: Beauchemin was a 6th round picke in 2003 for the Philadelphia Flyers. He has won 2 gold medals with Team Canada in World Juniors - one with the U18 team and one with the U20 team.
  • G James Reid:  Reid was a 2010-2011 WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team member last season.
  • D Andrew Randazzo: Randazzo was awarded the "Kevin Lowe Trophy" for Best Defensive-Defenseman in the QMJHL in 2010-2011. He was a part of the QMJHL Championship winning Drummondville team in 2008-2009.
  • Training camp begins Monday, October 10, with all sessions beginning at 10 AM at the Allen Event Center. All sessions are open to the public. The Allen Americans will host their first preseason game on Wednesday, October 12 against the Tulsa Oilers. Their home opener for the regular season is Friday, October 21st when the puck drops at 7:05 PM.

    Next week, we'll get an update on training camp as well as a look at potential lines for the Americans for this season. Until then, keep livin' in the red.

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