Chad Costello has been one of the most successful ECHL players the League has seen in its history. He’s played 309 regular season games over seven ECHL seasons (2007-08, 2011-17) and 66 games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. He hoisted the Kelly Cup twice (2015, 2016) with the Allen Americans. He earned the CCM Hockey ECHL Most Valuable Player Award three times (2011-12, 2015-16, 2016-17), the only player in league history to capture multiple MVP awards. He led the League in scoring for three consecutive seasons (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17), one of just eight players in league history to record multiple 100-point seasons and one of just four to do so in consecutive seasons. Just recently, it became public that he signed a trial contract with the Iserlohn Roosters of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) for the 2017-18 Season. In this exclusive piece for ECHL.com, Costello opens up on why he’s moving on.
This piece isn’t just about me. It’s about my wife, Ashley, and our almost 7 year old Cayne, and our 2 year old Camden, and our sweet baby girl Avery, who is 1. And it’s about both of our families back in Iowa. And it’s about all of the fans who became friends, and then became family in Allen the last three seasons. It’s not just about me.
My time in the ECHL has been a privilege. The League and the teams I’ve played for have meant so much to me and to my family. The personal accolades are nice, but having won the Kelly Cup twice with my teammates on the Allen Americans is something I’ll never forget. I’ve met some of my best friends playing in this League. Without the ECHL, I don’t think I’d still be playing professional hockey, so this League will always be important to me. I want the ECHL to succeed, and I’m confident it’s headed in the right direction with all of the young talent it has.
The Allen community has been unbelievable to be a part of the last three years. It doesn’t even feel like a “second home” anymore, just home. We’ve stayed here year round for three straight years – with Cayne in school it never made sense for us to leave- and I’m so thankful that we did. To the Allen fans - you guys are awesome. You’re not just fans for two hours during a hockey game – you’re fans for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You’ve taken my family and I in and made us feel like we were at home from the get go. You’ve always been there anytime my wife, or kids, or I needed something. You’re so much more than fans – you’re friends and family.
The ECHL has been a challenge. Every game is tough. There are a lot of hard buildings in this league. There are a lot of really good players, and really good teams and really good coaches. To win two Kelly Cup championships and multiple scoring titles – well, nothing about it was easy.
But it’s time for a new challenge.
A few weeks ago, I signed a trial contract with the Iserlohn Roosters of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) for the 2017-18 Season. I’ve had international offers in years past and had other offers for this upcoming season as well, but the DEL seems like the right fit for me. The league is really competitive – and this seems like the perfect time for my family. My kids are young enough that they aren’t just babies, but not old enough where it will affect them too much. This wasn’t a decision my wife and I took lightly – but now is the time.
A former ECHL player, Jack Combs, plays for the Roosters as well. The Combs family has been a great friend of our family for many years. I’m excited at the opportunity to play with Jack again. He led the DEL in goals last year, so I’m comforted knowing that he did so well there. I’m hopeful I can have as much success with my transition.
Hockey is weird. When you go to a new team, it’s awkward for about a week, but then you have twenty new buddies. So any transition is easy for us players. But I know the hardest part of the move will be for Ashley and the kids. We’ve already got Cayne signed up for school – he’ll be at a German speaking school but with an English speaking teacher. He can already say hello and count to ten in German – I think he knows more than Ashley and I do! We’re excited to see how the Germans live and what their culture is like - we’ll do our best to fit ourselves in the community there.
We’ve started to say our goodbyes in Allen and pack up our house before the big move in a few weeks. We’ll head back to Iowa for about two weeks home with both of our families before we fly to Germany at the end of July. I can’t thank the fans of the ECHL, and the teams I’ve played for, enough for all their support over the last few years. Like I said, so many of you have become so much more than just fans, and my family and I will never forget that. To Jaime Garcia our Athletic Trainer, Tim Abbott our Equipment Manager, the best Bus Driver Monty Williams, and our Broadcaster Tommy Daniels – thank you! You all are some of the best in the business and by being so exceptional at your jobs, you allowed all of us players to perform to our best as well. To my Allen Americans teammates and Coach Steve Martinson – the past three years have been unbelievable – I’ll remember them forever. I wish the League continued success and who knows….you all might see me again in the future sometime.