Just when you thought hockey was done for the year in this town, don’t look now but the Allen Americans of the CHL just capped off another championship for DFW. That’s right, the Allen Americans in their 5th year in existence, finished their season on the eve of Mother’s Day with a 5-2 victory over the Denver Cutthroats to capture the CHL’s coveted Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup. What is better than winning a title? Winning two titles of course…and the Allen Americans have done just that, and in back to back fashion. I know you are probably rifling through your mind trying to remember the last back to back professional championships in DFW. And yes, you are correct! The last back to back champions were the Dallas Cowboys in the 1992 & 1993 seasons, capped off with wins over the Buffalo Bills in each.
The Americans, led by head coach Steve Martinson and assistant head coach (and former Dallas Star) Richard Matvichuk, came into this season with a huge target on their backs as defending CHL champs. They battled all the ups and downs a season can bring…injuries, call-ups, long road trips, etc., but they got hot when it counted. Their road to the championship led them to Brampton, ON, in the first round as they disposed of the Beast. The second round brought on the Quad City Mallards. Ironically, the Dallas Stars were facing the Anaheim Ducks at the same time, so both metroplex hockey playoff teams were in a game of duck hunt. The Americans finished off the Mallards and then had to face the now highest seeded squad remaining, the Denver Cutthroats, in the Finals.
Denver, in its second year as a franchise, was hoping to capitalize on their early success like the Americans organization had done in its infancy. The Americans fell in the opening game of the finals in Denver, but managed to split on the Cutthroats ice, and come back home for games 3, 4 and 5 to wrestle momentum away from the higher seeded team. The boys in red did just that, as they went into Game 5 with the chance to finish off a 4-game winning streak and take the Cup without having to go back on the road. Unlike last season, this year’s clincher was becoming a formality, as the Americans took a 4-1 lead heading into the 3rd and final period of the season. The rest, as they say, is history. There was no heart-in-the throat moment in overtime, just a comfortable 5-2 count on the scoreboard as the near full house was afforded the luxury of counting the clock down from 10 as their Americans piled into the corner in the glory of a 2nd Cup in as many years.
Tommy Daniels, Voice of the Allen Americans and Director of Media Relations, was ecstatic in the broadcast booth watching his team reign victorious again. Daniels said, “This is incredible. Just incredible. I don’t even remember what I said on the air for the game-ending call, I was so excited.” Players, coaches, staff and fans alike joined together on the ice after the team skated the Cup. It was truly a community moment. This back to back accomplishment for the Americans was the first of its kind in the CHL since 2002 and 2003, when the Memphis River Kings pulled off the repeat feat.
The Allen Americans brought their first franchise title home last season by taking out the Wichita Thunder in seven games, and winning Game 7 in dramatic overtime fashion with a blast from just inside the blue line by CHL veteran Todd Robinson. Allen had more to celebrate now than just high school football championships. They now had a professional champion in their town. After this season’s success, they now have two.
Let’s do a headcount of professional championships in DFW now. The Cowboys lead the way with five, followed by the Dallas Sidekicks with four titles scattered from 1987-2001, then the recently-crowned Allen Americans with two now, and the parade begins with the Dallas Mavericks (2011), the Dallas Stars (1999), Dallas Texans of the AFL (1962), the Fort Worth/Texas Brahmas (formerly of the CHL) (2008) and the Fort Worth Fire (formerly of the CHL) (1997), all with one title each. That leaves the Texas Rangers and FC Dallas remaining without a title. Although, minor league baseball in DFW has been well-represented in championships, with the single Texas League title for the Frisco Rough Riders in 2004, and the many titles in the rich history of the Fort Worth Cats.
Winning makes the fans show up, that is to be certain. And as the smoke clears on the finales of basketball and hockey in this area, the Allen Americans arise victorious and proud. They have definitely now made their mark as one of DFW’s successful franchises. The motto of the Americans this season as they defended their title was the old Texas battle cry “Come and Take It” and that theme drove them into the history books. Each and every player and fan truly are proud to be an American. Is there magic for a third? They have an off-season to enjoy this one and then prepare for another campaign. Only time will tell.