There are a few hockey players in DFW playing professional hockey right now, but no one has had more experience playing closer to home and having more affiliates to the area than Austin Smith.
Also, unlike the other regional professional player he is the only Texan to play in a top European Professional League. Austin was on loan to the SM-Liiga’s (Finland’s Top Pro League) by the Dallas Stars in December of 2013. The decision was made in Austin’s best interest to getting more ice time in Europe, more playing time with the AHL’s Texas Stars and possibly a chance to play with the Dallas Stars, which didn’t happen. After getting off to a strong start during his time in Finland, Assat signed him to a contract through the end of the 2013-2014, he stayed with Assat through the first two months of the SM-Liiga Season. Austin played the first ten games of the SM-Liiga season with Assat Pori where he registered three points (2 goals 1 assist.) The bigger story became about a possible dispute with one of the coaches which led to no discussion between the two in the final days of his contract, before mutually deciding to terminate the contract on October 21st.
We have seen a much different tone as of lately from Smith, in both style of play, including a few different roles. Assat wanted him to play more of a two way role. “Personally, I have been put into a role I was not expecting coming into the season,” said Austin However, stating the case for possible teams that may want to sign him shows that he can be very versatile. “I have made the most of my minutes playing on the third line contributing good two way play,” said Austin about his early season play.
After signing his NHL entry level contract in March of 2012, he was sent to Austin, Texas to begin his pro career with the Texas Stars at the end of the 2011-2012 season. Austin had a stretch of a year and a half of going back-and-fourth between both the Texas Stars (AHL) & the East Coast Hockey League’s Idaho Steelheads.
Smith mentioned in a Q & A that he had a difficult time settling in the Dallas Stars org. “I never felt comfortable or confident when I was in the Dallas organization,” said Austin. “My first experience in pro hockey did not go as well as planned.” He felt a valuable lesson was learned during that experience to never take anything for granted. Even if your current team won’t likely resign you, it’s important to keep a strong mindset going to impress possible future teams that may want to. That’s what this past year was all about for Austin “Last season I pushed very hard to get somewhere else so I can get a fresh start,” regarding his goals from last season.
Austin Smith is looking to reinvent himself once again in his home town; he hopes that some home town support can inspire him to help lead the offense in Allen with the Allen Americans. This will be his 4th professional team in 3 different leagues since he turned pro in 2012, (which is very common from the business aspect in hockey.) Allen head coach Steve Martinson is excited about having the Coppell resident with the Americans. He only needed to say one thing to the Allen Americans head of Public Relations, Tommy Daniels. “Austin is a proven scorer,” said head coach & general manager Steve Martinson.
Tanner Wilson/Jen Anderson