The Allen Americans tracking towards the playoffs
With the Wichita Thunder coming to town tonight, there has been quite a lot of chatter out there since the Allen Americans Saturday night loss to the Mavericks. It appears to be the same analogy as in business. I have been self-employed since I was 17 years old, which is almost 40 years. I have been through many successes and many failures and you learn very quickly who is genuinely loyal and with you. The most unfortunate dilemma is that when you’re on top and successful, everyone is so proud to say “look what we all did together” and when you’re down and have a setback or failure, those same people are the quickest to say “look what you did to yourself” while conveniently leaving themselves out of the equation. Sound familiar? It should, it’s the same in sports and the Allen Americans players do not deserve the label of having no will to win.
I may not be a genius at the game of hockey, but I do know enough about sports and detecting the will to win and I have been very close to the Allen Americans players over the last couple of months. When I take into account all their remarks behind the scenes, I can assure you of one thing, they DO have the will to win.
Constructive criticism is one thing, but making generalized negative remarks about a team and writing them off for one bad loss is not only illogical, but it actually reminds me of something my father used to preach to me. He would say “Rick, don’t judge and criticize that other guy unless you have walked in his shoes.” “Don’t talk out your rear end.” This concept breeds true here as well.
Let’s look at the Allen Americans last 3 weeks:
They have traveled over 4000 miles on the road stuffed in a bus. This is not a $2.5 million Prevost luxury home on wheels, and as opposed to the NBA and NFL players, wherein they fly with first class accommodations and play, the Allen Americans have to load and unload their own gear, which they unloaded and loaded a total of 10 times during their last road trip. I challenge anyone to ride crammed in a bus for hours and hours, then have to jump out and unload the bus, then have to practice, then have to play a game and do it all over again the next day, day after day.
Given all the aforementioned, the Americans went 4-1-1 on the road and in the last 2-game home series with the Mavericks exited 1-1.
So, this group of guys that you criticize for not having the will to win, because on one disappointing loss, shifted the tide on their longest road trip in team history, and I assure you they were fatigued when that two weeks was over. And oh yea, this group of guys that you criticize for not trying hard enough and being selfish for trying to make a play are on the verge of the playoffs. What more could you ask from a team that has had a slew of personnel changes and injuries. Some teams are already eliminated.
I have been around sports and business all my life and I do feel that I am a good judge of character and again, I am appalled when I hear that the Allen Americans have no will to win or no character
Let’s also look at another key factor that has effected the players, not only individually, but as a whole:
Riley Gill – Injured
Archambault – Called up
Lessard – Gone
Arseneau – Called up
Schoenborne – Called up
Makowski – Called up
Williams – Called up
Brodeur – Called up, then back
Hall – Injured
MacAurther – Injured
Mcauley – Called up
Aubin – Gone
Eberle – Traded
Acquired the following:
And many more changes not mentioned here…
Given, there are changes on teams and movements that take place, especially on the ECHL level but one cannot negate the fact that when talent, as mentioned above, comes and goes, it is quite a task for a coach to orchestrate the changes and a player to adapt and adjust to the changes as well. Fans and critics must understand that players mesh with other players and when a major change takes place, like it frequently does in the ECHL and especially in the Americans world over the last few weeks, it is very difficult for an individual player to make those adjustments.
I for one believe that the Allen Americans management, coaches and players have adapted pretty well to all these changes.
I was speaking to a Mavericks player in the back when they were loading for their trip home and I said “great win, you guys kicked our butts tonight” He replied “Thanks, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Your guys fought hard” I will take his comment to heart before any others, because he was on the ice.
As for the Americans players, I have corresponded with many behind the scenes since Saturday night and their resilience amazes me. All I am hearing is positive feedback, and yes, the will to win. I have been around many teams of every level for several decades and have never witnessed such a team effort with willing to spend time with fans and I’ll say it again, expressing the “will to win”.
So, while you sit in your recliners and armchairs and criticize these guys who bust their asses with travel, practice, training, playing, loading, unloading, trying to rest on a bus, leaving their families behind, participating in a massive amount of community service and activities, while you’re claiming they have no will to win, I challenge you to do what they do for a week. You would probably be in the hospital with an IV in your arm. They have accomplished all this and are still on the verge of the playoffs.
Let’s prove these naysayers wrong guys! GO AMERICANS!
Americans Next Home Game
Saturday, March 28th vs Wichita Thunder
Venue: Allen Event Center 7:05 pm
Watch or Listen Live
ECHL TV – http://echl.neulion.com/echl/home
Mobile App –http://mixlr.com/allen-americans-hockey/
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