Steelheads Make Successful Adjustment

By Mark Simon
Special to
March 5, 2004

There were some new things to get used to for the veteran players on the Idaho Steelheads as the team made the transition from the WCHL to the ECHL.

An increased reliance on affiliations for one. In Idaho’s case, the affiliations with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and AHL’s Utah Grizzlies meant that those who were used to seeing significant playing time, might see their roles decrease.

In the end, things worked out fine for the Steelheads and the likes of goaltender Blair Allison. The Steelheads got goalie Dan Ellis as part of their affiliation arrangement, and Allison thought he would be shifting to the backup role. But now that Ellis got recalled after going 13-8-1 with the Steelheads, and even made an appearance in the NHL, Allison is back in his old role as the team’s puck stopper.

“It was different,” Allison said. “Coach (John) Oliver made it apparent to me that if I came back, I was going to be a backup. I’m 32 and getting older, but decided I wanted to play another year. I just wasn’t ready to quit. I think I’m having more fun playing now then I did when I was younger.”

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