Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stars to unveil new website tomorrow (9/1)

9/1 Update:  The new site is up!  Check it out by clicking on the link below.  It looks great!!

I've been holding on to this information for awhile now, but I thought I'd let the fans know that the Lincoln Stars will unveil their new, updated website tomorrow (Wednesday, September 1st). 

Click here to view the official Lincoln Stars website.

I'm really interested to see what the new website will look like.  I'm guessing that they will incorporate a new team slogan into the new website also.  The Stars website really needed an overhaul, so this news was good to hear.  Keep checking the official Stars website the next few days to see the changes they made.  Go Stars!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pictures from the former State Fairgrounds

I mentioned this the other day on the B³ twitter page, but this past weekend I drove down to the area around the IceBox to take some pictures.  I had not been down to the former state fairgrounds since the last Stars home game, so I was little surprised at what I saw.  The University of Nebraska has razed a number of buildings around the IceBox, transforming the area to what you might see in a war-zone.  Included in the pictures is a shot of the north stage of the IceBox which is under construction.  Click the "Read more" link below to see all of the pictures.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You Know You're a Lincoln Stars Fan When....

All right, Stars fans. Let's get it started. Give it your best comedy routine, or be painfully truthful. Either works! I'll try and get it started.....


Please leave your comments below!  Thanks!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

North stage renovations are underway at IceBox

Thanks to blog reader "Crazy Carl" for taking this picture and letting me use it on the blog.  The north stage of the IceBox is currently undergoing renovations to transform the bleacher seating into a three-tiered "spectator zone."  I believe this new area will have its own bar and concessions stand also.  It will be interesting to see what this finally looks like once the construction is complete.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stars to hire Andy Schneider as new assistant coach

I received some good information today that the Lincoln Stars are set to announce the hiring of Andy Schneider as the new assistant coach.  Andy Schneider should be a name familiar to many Stars fans.  The rugged defenseman played three seasons for the Stars (1998-2001), accumulating 57 points and 244 penalty minutes in 109 regular season games.  Andy was part of two Anderson cup-winning teams during his time in Lincoln.  After his three seasons in Lincoln, Schneider moved on to the University of North Dakota, where he played four seasons for the Fighting Sioux.  In his sophmore season at UND, Schneider scored 41 points in 43 games as a defenseman.  In 2001, Schneider was a fifth round NHL draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  After his time at UND, Schneider moved on to play professional hockey in the AHL, the ECHL, and overseas.

If my sources are correct, this is a great hire for Lincoln.  Schneider, a native of Grand Forks, ND, is someone who is very familar to both the Stars organization and new head coach Chad Johnson.  From what I remember of Schneider during his time with the Stars, he was a big, mobile, tough as nails defenseman who could also put the puck in the net.  I'm sure he'll be a valuable assest to the Stars coaching lineup.

Nothing has been officially announced by the Stars, but I believe that will happen very soon.  I will update this article as I get more information.

Update:  Less than an hour after my initial article, the Stars made it official.  Here is the quote from the official Lincoln Stars website
Lincoln Stars Head Coach Chad Johnson moved quickly in hiring a replacement for the assistant coach's position recently vacated by the departure of Nick Fouts. Grand Forks native Andy Schneider has been named as the newest addition to the Stars coaching staff. Schneider played for the Stars during three seasons (1998-2001), and served as captain during the 2000 and 2001 Anderson Cup Championship years. Known as a punishing defenseman with scoring ability, Andy moved on to the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, where he scored 41 points during his sophomore season, and served as captain for two seasons (2003-2005). A fifth-round selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Andy went on to play 150 games in the AHL, and finished his playing career last season in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's highest professional league. 
"I'm really looking forward to getting back to Lincoln and to the Stars organization," said Schneider. "I have a lot of great memories from playing here, so when Chad called and discussed the coaching position, it was a pretty easy decision for me. I'm excited to be starting my coaching career in Lincoln, and can't wait to meet the guys and get things started."

"Andy's playing career speaks for itself," said Johnson. "He's played at a very high level, and was a step away from the NHL. But the thing that was most intriguing and attractive to us was that he's been a leader everywhere he's been. Starting here in Lincoln, and continuing through his collegiate career at UND, he's been voted captain by his teammates, which says a lot about his character and team approach to the game. He's also played for several highly-respected coaches, and we're counting on him to pass on his experiences and winning attitude to our players."

Monday, August 16, 2010

USHL Alumni Voices Article: Colby Cohen

USHL Images and AP photo

I just noticed this article posted on the official USHL website.  It's a very interesting interview with former Stars defenseman, Colby Cohen.  Colby had some really great quotes about playing in Lincoln.  Click here to read the whole article.  Here are the highlights from the article regarding Colby's time with the Stars

Your professional career is officially underway.  How do you feel the USHL prepared you for the pro game?
For starters, the USHL travel schedule is a lot like the AHL travel schedule.  You're riding on a bus, and you play back-to-back games.  Obviously with the NHL, you travel by plane, and hopefully that will be my new mode of transportation.  But in the USHL, you learn to adjust on the fly to different things and different towns.  And I can't stress enough what (Lincoln Stars) Coach Jimmy McGroarty and Corey Courtney (equipment manager) did for my career.  You will never meet two people who care more about the players, and do more for the players than those guys.  I'd also really like to thank the management, Jim Pflug (President) and Steve Zoucha (V.P./Director of Operations)…they were the ones who made it all possible.
You were born in Villanova, PA.  How did you make the adjustment, moving to Lincoln, NE?

It was a great move for me.  Having lived in Ann Arbor, I was kind of familiar with the Midwest, but Lincoln was just a totally different town – a really cool place with really fun hockey.  And I formed some great relationships there, with Coach Jimmy McGroarty and with the equipment manager, Corey Courtney, who I speak with on a regular basis.  Just last night I had dinner with Chad Langlais, a teammate of mine in Lincoln (2005-07).  If I hadn't gone to Lincoln, I could never have made those relationships.

Let's say I never played hockey at the USHL level.  Could you describe what it was like to play for the Stars?

I can't speak for other places around the USHL, but the setup at Lincoln is unbelievable.  I almost begged Jimmy Hayes to go play there (Lincoln 2007-08, Boston College 2008-10).  I was literally on the phone with him every day telling him, "You're crazy if you don't go to Lincoln, you have to go to Lincoln."  It was the best experience I've ever had.  By far the best place to play before college – hands down.

How would you describe the atmosphere at the Ice Box in Lincoln?
I will never play in a better place.  I've played in front of bigger crowds, but as far as energy level, it's unbelievable. 
What did the time in the USHL mean to you in terms of your hockey development?
That place totally revamped my career.  Hockey got to a point where I wasn't playing very well and I wasn't having as much fun.  At that point, I came to Lincoln – where the crowd, the atmosphere, and the people…everyone is like, "We want you to be here."  I'm 100% positive that I wouldn't be where I am today had I not gone to Lincoln.  There's no doubt about it – it saved my career.

Great quotes from Colby!  Awesome to hear from a former player who has so many great things to say about his time in Lincoln.  

Note:  Make sure you scroll down to check out another new blog article, "How did you become a Lincoln Stars Fan?"  Tell your story on how you became a Stars fan!

How did you become a Lincoln Stars fan?

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson
We're exactly one month away from the Lincoln Stars first exhibition game which will be played on Thursday, September 16th against the Tri-City Storm in Kearney.  There really hasn't been a lot to report on as of late (other than the departure of Nick Fouts), so I wanted to introduce a new article every week for the next 3 or 4 weeks to keep things lively around here.  These articles will be more reader-interactive, and I hope they'll produce a lot of comments.  I'm sure you get tired of reading my ramblings, so now it's your turn to be heard. :)

So first off, I want to ask all of the Stars fans out there...how did you become a Stars fan?  I'd really like to hear from all of our blog readers.  I know we have a lot of lurkers out there, and I'm really hoping to hear from them, along with all of our "regulars."  Take a few minutes, and leave a comment about how you first became hooked on the Lincoln Stars.  One of the great things about running this blog is that I've had the opportunity to meet and become friends with so many Stars fans.  Each person I have had the pleasure to meet has a unique story of how they became a Stars fanatic.  It's great to hear their stories.  That's what I want to see here.

So please, take a few minutes and leave a comment below.  Be as detailed as you wish.  Tell us all how it started.  Were you introduced to the Stars by a friend?  Were you a hockey fan before you started coming to Stars games?  At what point did you know that you you hooked?  How long have you been coming to the Stars games?  Have you introduced other friends/family to the Stars?

I look forward to reading your stories!  Go Stars!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stars assistant coach Nick Fouts to leave team

This is definitely not the kind of news I wanted to report.

According to the official Lincoln Stars website, Stars assistant coach Nick Fouts is leaving the team and moving back to his hometown of Lake Stevens, Washington.  Here's the quote from the Stars website:

Lincoln Stars Assistant Coach Nick Fouts will be leaving the team and returning home to Lake Stevens, Washington. Fouts played three seasons for the Stars from 1998-2001, won two Anderson Cup Championships, and was captain during the Stars' 2001 Anderson Cup Championship season. After four years of collegiate hockey at New England College, Fouts played professionally for three seasons before accepting the Star's offer to become assistant coach for the team.

"Throughout his playing and coaching career, Nick has exemplified what being a Lincoln Star is all about, and we've always been proud to have him representing our organization," said Stars President Jim Pflug. "He's been offered a great opportunity to work in the family business, and although we'll miss him a great deal, we can't argue with his decision to go back home. We wish him the best, and hope we'll see him back in Lincoln soon. He knows the door is always open."

Stars' Head Coach Chad Johnson has had a long history with Fouts, having recruited him to Lincoln in 1997. "I've always appreciated him as a player, as well as away from the ice as I've gotten to know him over the years. He's been a fan favorite in Lincoln for a long time, and Jimmy and I would have liked for him to stay on. But after visiting with him about his decision, I know he's leaving for the right reasons, and we wish him well," said Johnson.

I don't know the specifics of why Fouts is moving back to WA, but I certainly wish him the best.  Fouts will always be my favorite Stars player of all-time.  My first personalized Stars jersey was a #2 Fouts that I still wear to games.  Being a Washington native myself, Fouts was someone I always held in high regard. During his time as a defenseman for the Stars, Fouts was fearless.  He may not have been the biggest defenseman on the ice, but he played like he was 6'4", 225 pounds.  He had a huge heart and was a natural team leader.  This is a huge loss to the Stars organization.

According to a good source, Stars head coach Chad Johnson hopes to have another assistant coach hired within the next week or two.

I'd love to hear from the fans out there regarding their favorite memories of Fouts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Schedule change

Just noticed this posted on the official Lincoln Stars website:
Stars Re-Schedule Home Game vs. Sioux City
Due a conflict with UNL Men's Basketball, the Stars have re-scheduled their game on Tuesday, January 18th vs. Sioux City Musketeers to Wednesday, January 19th.  Click here for an updated schedule.

Good news.  The less games that Stars fans have to battle the UNL basketball crowds, and the ensuing parking nightmare, the better.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

LJS Article: UNL to charge for parking at fairgrounds

Thanks to the blog reader who brought this to my attention.  I appreciate it.

Yes, I'm breaking out the thumbs down picture. :)

This article was posted today on the Lincoln Journal Star website.  This isn't ground-breaking news for the majority of us, but it's a very, very interesting read for Stars fans, and Nebraska basketball fans nonetheless.  More than ever, I think this parking fee change is going to be a disaster.  I expect long lines, causing traffic jams like we've never seen, and irate fans.  Click here to read the entire article.  Here's a quote from the article:

"UNL Parking and Transit Services and Nebraska Athletics will manage all event-parking operations, including parking and traffic management inside lots and at campus entrances. Prepaid donor and booster and general ticket-holder parking will be available."

As we see above, Nebraska Athletics will share the responsibility of "event-parking operations."  These are the same clowns who made parking for Stars fans last season a nightmare.  I'm not going to ramble on and get myself in trouble over this, but I have no faith at all that this is going to run like a well-oiled machine.  It's going to be a big fat mess.  Please, please prove me wrong UNL.

When you are done reading the article and shaking your head in disbelief, make sure you click on the "comments" link to read the sparkling, joyous feedback from hockey and basketball fans.  UNL certainly isn't making any fans with this move.  Edit:  The LJS has since moved the article from the "Local" section to the "Husker Extra" section, therefore losing all of the 13 comments that were written previously.  Did anyboy out there happen to save those comments?  There were some good ones left by hockey fans.

Oh, by the way....if you're a horse racing fan, no parking fee for you.  So if you're blowing your social security check at the track, feel good that you're not getting bent over by UNL.

End of rant.