Thurs. 11/18/21 -- Updated 11:15 pm
Omaha Lancers' **** Storm
Omaha Lancers (USHL) players walked out this morning in support of head coach Chadd Cassidy, who was fired, and his staff, who resigned in support. The contentiousness reportedly sprang from a season of ongoing budget cuts imposed by team president David DeLuca.
DeLuca, who prior to coming to the Lancers was a captain in the Las Vegas Fire Department, had turned down Cassidy's request to sign a contract to purchase video scouting software. In addition, the hockey stick budget was cut in half, as was the budget for road and postgame meals. Management reportedly hired a billet parent to work -- for free -- as the equipment manager. In all of this, the Lancers may have run afoul of league standards as well as USA Hockey standards for a Tier I organization. It's a weird situation.
Reortedly, Cassidy was initially let go on Nov. 9, after a meeting with DeLuca. But that left the team short of the league mandated minimum of coaches for that weekend's games. So they actually asked Cassidy to come back and coach for those games. Cassidy agreed, for the players' sake. And the Lancers swept the weekend series. Cassidy finishes his tenure with the Lancers with an 8-4-2 record.
Cassidy, 48, has been a head coach at the National Sports Academy, USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, the Rochester Americans (AHL), and, for the last six seasons, he's been back in his hometown of Lake Placid, NY coaching the Northwood School prep team. Cassidy, who rejuvenated the Northwood program in his time there, is regarded highly by his peers in the hockey community. This reporter has never heard a bad word spoken about him. He's a good coach and a good person -- and he won't be jobless for long.
This afternoon, the Lancers announced that Indiana Jr. Fuel U18 head coach Gary Graham would be taking over. However, as of now he has no team, as the players are boycotting and the hockey staff has resigned.
Here are a few articles that provide further details:
Sports Illustrated/Hockey News
Late Thursday Night Update:
Shortly after 10:00 pm the USHL issued a news release on the Omaha Lancers situation. The key points:
-- The USHL has been in contact with the Lancers and has "determined it is in the best interests of the players to postpone this weekend's games."
-- USHL reps will be visiting Omaha on Friday to meet with the team.
-- The USHL will begin an investigaton. Omaha ownership says it will cooperate.
-- The Lancers' games this weekend vs. Waterloo, Lincoln, and Des Moines have all been declared a No Contest.
A Thanksgiving to be Thankful For
We're going to pass on the big picture -- yes, last year was a hard one for the entire planet -- and instead simply state how truly thankful we are for our readers who stuck with us, and the prep coaches who, among their school duties, still find the time to submit schedules, rosters, and box scores so we can all be kept up to date. That's it. Have a great day, everyone!
Latest on Lancers
Full USHL Press Release Issued at 7:45 pm Sunday
"On Sunday morning, United States Hockey League (USHL) President and Commissioner Bill Robertson and Josh Mervis, a representative appointed by the USHL to oversee operations of the Omaha Lancers, met virtually with Lancers players to introduce Mervis and Omaha Lancers Head Coach Gary Graham to the team.
"As a result of the meeting, the team will be resuming hockey operations on Monday, November 22. The Lancers will return to the ice for practice in preparation for scheduled game action next weekend (November 27 and 28). Robertson will be traveling to Omaha on Monday to meet with players and staff."
That's it, in full. Pretty terse, no? Doesn't say anything about Team President and former Las Vegas Fire Department Captain Dave DeLuca, who the team put on administrative leave Saturday. It also says nothing about former head coach Chadd Cassidy and his staff, who resigned en masse in protest of Cassidy's firing and the harsh bottom line-only approach DeLuca was said to have imposed on the team.
Sat. 11/20/21 -- updated 10:35 pm.
USHL Updates Omaha Lancers' Mess
At 9:46 pm tonight, the USHL issued this news release, presented here in its entirety.
"On Friday, November 19, representatives from the United States Hockey (USHL) and USA Hockey met with Omaha Lancers players. The meeting took place away from Ralston Arena. Players shared their perspectives as a team, in smaller groups and individually. Representatives provided contact information and followed up with players with an update last night and earlier this evening. There is an additional meeting scheduled virtually for Sunday morning.
"Separately on Friday, the third party investigation into the Lancers organization was launched. The investigator in charge, who is a SafeSport Coordinator, has begun interviews which will include players, former coaches, front office staff and ownership. Omaha ownership and management have pledged their support and cooperation with the investigation. The League is committed to working with the Lancers players to rebuild trust within the organization and to allow the findings of the investigation to determine the proper course of action.
"On Saturday, the Lancers placed President Dave Deluca on administrative leave.
"The USHL has selected Josh Mervis to oversee operations of the Lancers during the course of the investigation. Mervis has been involved in the USHL for nearly 20 years as an Owner, Head Coach, General Manager and Club Vice President. Mervis is currently a non-active, minority partner of the Lancers and serves as the Chair of the USHL Competition Committee."
USHR Instant Prediction: DeLuca's "administrative leave" becomes permanent. And Chadd Cassidy and his staff return. Players too, of course.
Updated Central Scouting Players to Watch List
NHL Central Scouting released an updated version of its Players to Watch list to NHL teams this morning.
Here it is:
Tues. 11/9/21-- Updated: Wed.11/10/21
Mass District Championships Rosters, Brackets
Mass District Championships are this coming weekend, Fri.-Sun. Nov. 12-14, at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.
Winners advance directly to Nationals March 30-April 4, 2022.
Tournament Program (full rosters, all schedules)
Mass 15O Tier I Bracket
Mass 16U Tier I Bracket
Mass 16U Tier II Bracket
Mass 18U Tier I Bracket
Mass 18U Tier II Bracket
Connecticut State Championships Schedule
Connecticut will determine winners for 15s, 16U, and 18U divisions the weekend of Fri. Nov. 12th through Sun. Nov. 14 at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.
Winners will advance and play in the New England District finals in March. Those winners will go on to Nationals March 30th-April 4th.
Please note that this is a tentative schedule. It's possible the super-early Sunday games for the 15s will be moved to a later time.
Game 1 -No. 1 Mid-Fairfield vs. No. 4 Chiefs Sat. Nov. 13th 9:30 am Rink 8
Game 2 - No. 2 Yale vs. No. 3 Northwestern Conn Sat. Nov. 13th 10:40 am Rink 5
Game 3 - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser Sun. Nov. 14th 7:20 am Rink 5
Game 4 - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner Sun. Nov. 14th 7:20 am Rink 8
Game 1 – No. 4 Elite vs. No. 5 Chiefs Fri. Nov. 12th 8:40 pm Rink 5
Game 2 – No. 2 Yale vs. No. 3 Northwestern CT Sat. Nov. 13th 11:30 am Rink 8
Game 3 – No. 1 Mid-Fairfield vs. Winner of Game 1 Sat. Nov. 13th 1:30 pm Rink 8
Game 4 – Game 2 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser Sun. Nov. 14th 10:20 am Rink 8
Game 5 - Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner Sun. Nov. 14th 11:50 am Rink 5
Game 1 – No. 4 Hartford Wolfpack vs. No. 5 Chiefs Fri. Nov. 12th 8:20 pm Rink 8
Game 2 – No. 2 Yale vs. No. 3 Elite Sat. Nov. 13th 3:30 pm Rink 8
Game 3 – No. 1 Mid-Fairfield vs. Winner of Game 1 Sat. Nov. 13th 6:00 pm Rink 8
Game 4 – Game 2 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser Sun. Nov. 14th 11:30 am Rink 6
Game 5 - Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner Sun. Nov. 14th 12:20 pm Rink 8