Tuesday, August 30, 2011

B³ Grab Bag

It's been pretty quiet around here as of late, but there really hasn't been a lot going on in regards to the Stars.  August is traditionally the slowest month around here, so I use it to take my vacation from the blog.  As we get into September, the blog will get a lot more active, and I'll come out of hibernation. :)  

Here in a few weeks, the majority of the players will report to Lincoln (the high school aged players are already here) to begin practicing as a team.  The compressors at the IceBox will be turned on the second week of September, and it appears that ice will be ready around 9/15, which is when the Stars play their first preseason game against the Tri-City Storm, in Kearney.  The Stars will also play on the road on Sunday, 9/18 against the Omaha Lancers at the Tranquility IcePlex in Omaha.  I'll preview those two upcoming preseason games here on the blog in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I'm going to post a  few stories related to the Stars that I've been holding onto.  As always, if you have anything you'd like to share on the blog, please leave a comment, or send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.

I've been slacking with this news, but congrats to Lincoln Stars affiliate players Vinni Lettieri and Alex Schoenborn for being a part of the 2011 U.S. Under-17 Select Team that recently won the 2011 Under-17 Select Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, MI.  In four games, Lettieri scored four points (3g, 1a), while Schoenborn scored 3 points (all assists).  Click here to read more.  Both players are former draft picks of the Stars, but it still could be a year or two before we see them in Lincoln due to their age ('95's).  According to this article, Lettieri will finish out his last two years of high school before deciding if he will play junior hockey. This is just my opinion, but I believe we'll see Alex Schoenborn in a Stars uniform much sooner than we see Lettieri wearing the black and blue.  Regardless, a belated congratulations to both players for representing Team USA and winning gold.

Former Lincoln Stars forward Nick Fohr was recently chosen to be an assistant coach for the Team USA U-17 NTDP team that competes in the USHL.  Click here to read more.  Congrats to Nick!

MinnesotaHockeyHub.com is putting together a list of the Top 100 Minnesota high school hockey players of all-time.  Formers Lincoln Stars, and current St. Louis Blues forward David Backes made the list at #96.  Click here to read the article.

Ran across a couple of articles related to Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner.  It appears Lukas might not be back with Lincoln this next season, as he is in Canada trying to earn a spot on the Cornwall Colts of the CJHL.  Click herehere and here to read more.

Current Stars associate head coach Jimmy McGroarty recently participated in the Duchenne Challenge Cup Benefit Hockey Game, which was held this past Sunday in Omaha.  I highlighted the benefit game in this article.  A blog reader was kind enough to snap a couple of pictures of both Coach McGroarty and former Stars forward Ryan Potulny on the ice.  Click here and here to see those pictures.  From the sounds of it, the game was packed with spectators, and a lot of money was raised towards Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

Recognize this former Stars fan favorite?  Hit play below to watch the video.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Duchenne Challenge Cup Benefit Game

This Sunday at 2:00pm at the Moylan Tranquility IcePlex in Omaha, NE, the Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame will be hosting a benefit ice hockey game game called the "Duchenne Challenge Cup" which benefits Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.  Click here, here and here to read more.

The game will feature current NHL players, and former players from the UNO Mavericks, Omaha Lancers, and Lincoln Stars.  Tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 day of game.  All proceeds go to the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy group.  There will also be a silent auction held.  I'm going to include more info below taken from a flyer I received today.

I heard today that 12 current, or former NHL players will be participating in this game.  A little birdy also told me that Stars associate head coach Jimmy McGroarty will also be playing in this benefit game.

As mentioned below, former Lincoln Stars assistant coach Rob Facca has a son who has been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.  I really hope a lot of the blog readers out there are able to attend this benefit game and donate towards this great cause.

Save the Date:  August 28, 2011 * 2 p.m.
Moylan Tranquility Ice Plex 122nd and West Maple Streets
The Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame Foundation Presents 
The Duchenne Challenge Cup
For the Benefit of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy to fight Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Disease
Featuring current and former NHL players, and former UNO Mavericks, Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars

Tickets: $10 in advance at Moylan and $15 at the door
Earn a roster spot in the game with a donation of $1000

Players from these NHL teams have committed to play in the game:
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Minnesota Wild
New York Rangers
Colorado Avalanche
Philadelphia Flyers
Dallas Stars

For information about playing in the game, contact David Brisson, Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame at 402-598-9198

Silent auction featuring game jerseys, sticks and other hockey collectibles

The Cause:
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood. The disease results in progressive loss of strength, which can lead to serious medical problems, particularly issues relating to the heart and lungs. Recently, the son of former player and coach Rob Facca, an original UNO Maverick, was diagnosed with the disease. The Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame has pledged to help fight the disease by raising money for research and public awareness.

Please help us by participating in this timely and worthwhile event.  All proceeds will be donated to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.  Donations are tax deductible.

Duchenne Challenge Cup Benefit Hockey Game * Sunday, August 28
Tickets On Sale August 1 at Moylan Tranquility Ice Plex

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview of former Stars forward Andrew Schmit

Former Stars power-forward Andrew Schmit was recently highlighted on the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks hockey youtube account. Andrew mentions Lincoln briefly. Click the play button below to watch the video.

By the way, everyone here at the B³ would like to wish Andrew a Happy Birthday today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stars forward Luke Johnson commits to UND

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

According to this article, future Lincoln Stars forward Luke Johnson has committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of North Dakota after his junior hockey career.  Luke, the son of former Stars head coach Steve Johnson, and nephew to current Stars coach Chad Johnson, will start at UND for the 2013-14 season.

Here's an excerpt from the article linked above, by Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald:

Luke was born in Grand Forks but moved away at a young age as his father coached in the United States Hockey League. He moved back to the town as a seventh-grader.

As an eighth-grader, he finished fourth in scoring on a state champion Red River team with 26 points in 27 games. As a freshman, he tallied 46 points in 27 games for the state champion Knights.

Last season, Johnson had 42 points in 25 games for Central. He will play his junior and senior years with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL — a team coached by his uncle, Chad.

“It should be pretty exciting,” Luke said. “Growing up there, it was a lot of fun being around the team and everything. It should be a lot of fun going back there.”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Story about two former Stars from USHL.com

Courtesy of USHL Images
Thanks to the person who informed me about this article posted today on the official USHL website.  Former Stars Colby Cohen and Carter Camper, who played for Lincoln in the 2006-07 season, are highlighted in an article by the USHL, posted on their website today.  Both players talk a little about their time in Lincoln, as well as their time in Providence playing for the Boston Bruins' AHL farm team.

Click here to read the article.

Here are a few prime quotes from the article in which Colby and Carter talk about their time playing for the Stars in Lincoln:

Let’s start with Cohen.  After one season with the Syracuse Stars of the OJHL and another with the U.S. National Team Development Program (which was then in the NAHL), the seventeen-year-old offensive-defenseman felt it was time for a change.
“Hockey got to a point where I wasn't playing very well and I wasn't having as much fun,” Cohen told USHL.com back in August, 2010 (Click to see article).  “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.”
Like Cohen, Carter Camper moved on from the NAHL to join the Lincoln Stars in the fall of 2006.  And although the fellow Bruins prospect insists, “You have to see it for yourself,” he was happy to reminisce about his USHL days:
“Lincoln exceeded my expectations.  I can remember standing out at the goal line and just being amazed – it’s the best production I’ve seen.  When I was drafted by Lincoln in the USHL Futures Draft, I heard how awesome it was to play there from my older brother’s friends and other players who had played there.  I came from the North American Hockey League where we were lucky to have a hundred people at our games, and at Lincoln we had five to six thousand people.”
“To be honest with you, Lincoln was probably better than 80-90 percent of the places I was able to play in college over my four years.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lincoln Stars announce preseason schedule

Along with the news of AM 1480 being the home of Lincoln Stars hockey once against next season , the organization today released some information about two preseason games the team will play in September, before the USHL Fall Classic. 

Click here to read the official release from the Stars.  Here's an excerpt:

The Lincoln Stars have announced their preseason schedule which includes two games leading up to the USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City:

Thursday, September 15th:  Stars vs. the Tri City Storm at the Viaero Event Center in Kearney.  Tickets go on sale Friday, August 26th, and can be purchased by calling the Storm ticket office at (308) 338-8011.  Tickets will be $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for youth (12 & under), students, seniors and military.  Game time is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Sunday, September 18th:  Stars vs. the Omaha Lancers at Moylan Ice Plex in Omaha (12550 West Maple Road).  No advance tickets will be sold.  All tickets for the game will be $7.00.  All tickets will be general admission and seating is limited to 1,000 patrons.  Tickets will only be sold the day of the game and no advance ticket orders will be accepted.  Cash payment is required for all purchases.  Ticket sales will begin at 2:00pm with doors to the arena opening at 3:00pm.  Game time is scheduled for 4:05pm.

Exact same preseason schedule as last year.  Two games, both on the road, both against in-state rivals:  Tri-City, and Omaha.  I guess we should be happy that the Stars will be playing two preseason games relatively close to Lincoln in September before the USHL Fall Classic, but it would be nice one of these years to have a home preseason game at the IceBox.  I'd have to go back and do some research, but I believe it's been about three to four years since the Stars have hosted a preseason game at the IceBox. 

Last week on 104.1 The Blaze, Chad Johnson mentioned that all of the players will report on September 11th to begin practice, and that by September 16th, ice should be down at the IceBox.  Looking at the schedule above, it appears that the Stars could be playing a preseason game against Tri-City before they get a chance to practice as a team on the ice at the IceBox.

I could be incorrect, but it seems like the Stars are later than any other team in the USHL in terms of beginning practice, and putting ice down in their home rink.  In my daily rounds on the internet at different USHL message boards and blogs, I've run across info that most if not all USHL teams are beginning practice earlier than September 11th.

Maybe it's just me, but does anyone else think that the late start to both practice and ice being put down be contributed to the lackluster regular season starts the Stars are notorious for?

Stars Will Stay on ESPN 1480

The Lincoln Stars will remain on ESPN 1480 this season, the Stars and Three Eagles Communications announced on the Stars' website on Tuesday. The Stars will play the entire 2011-12 USHL schedule and the playoffs on ESPN 1480, the radio home for the Stars last season.

From LincolnStars.com...with the exact same lead paragraph and quote as the 2010 radio broadcast news release:
"The Lincoln Stars and Three Eagles Communications have announced an agreement that will keep the Stars’ radio broadcasts on ESPN 1480 for the entire 2011-12 schedule, including playoffs. The game broadcasts will also be available via online streaming through the ESPN 1480 web site (www.espn1480.com).

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with Three Eagles Communications and ESPN 1480 for the upcoming season. We see this as a great opportunity to continue the Stars’ game broadcasts on a station with such an established presence in the sports broadcasting market,” said Stars President Jim Pflug.

Mike Melbye will return for his seventh season as the Stars’ radio voice for the 2011-12 season."
Yeti may have a different opinion, but I will chime in and say that I personally have mixed feelings about this. I am always supportive of continuity, and the Stars did that by staying on the same station this season. However, I live in Omaha and it is hard to get to games, and 1480's signal is terrible once you cross the Platte. I haven't found the live stream to give consistent results yet either...it always seems to cut out and need to be reloaded in the middle of the action. And 1480 bumps the Stars off when the NFL playoffs come around, so the live stream is the only option for a few games every year.

But enough griping from me. I'm just happy the Stars are even on the air for every game. I know a lot of USHL teams don't send radio broadcasters to Lincoln for games, so I always felt fortunate that the Stars have such great radio coverage whether home or away.