Since the relocating of the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas in 1993, Texas has been slowly but surely forming into a hockey mecca of sorts. The Winter Classic hosted at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas was one of the largest of all time. Most recently, the IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship was hosted in Frisco, Texas and the city received rave reviews for the way they hosted the tournament.
Teams ranging from NA3HL all the way to the NHL have made their home in Texas, including the current Minnesota Wild ECHL affiliate Allen Americans. I have been pumping the tires of minor league hockey for years. I mean, who would turn down Dollar Beer Night while the home team wears a Ninja Turtle themed jersey? Oh and all for a fraction of the cost of an NHL game. Not knocking the NHL, I just have bills to pay and for the price and the product, you can not go wrong with a minor league hockey game.
The Americans have clinched a Kelly Cup Playoff birth once again and the team looks to raise their third Kelly Cup starting on June 9th. A large reason for the Americans success this season, defenseman Les Lancaster.
Lancaster hails for Ypsilanti, Michigan and in 69 games this season has amassed 60 points as a pure defenseman. (25 G/35 A) To put this into some sort of ECHL perspective, the last time a pure blueliner had more than 25 goals in a single season was in the 1999-2000 season. Chris Valicevic tallied 27 and would go on to be honored in the ECHL Hall of Fame. Valicevic was also named ECHL Defenseman of the Year four times, but who’s counting?
Lancaster has firmly planted his name in the record books for the Americans as he stands alone as the franchise leader in goals and points in a single season by a defenseman. The Americans still have three regular season games remaining so look for Les to add to his historic run. While the Stanley Cup may not be coming to Dallas, it is safe to say that there are still plenty of chances for championship hockey to be played in Texas. Thanks to Les Lancaster and the Allen Americans.