Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stars' preseason roster is up

Posted this morning on the Lincoln Stars website is the roster of players the team will open the preseason with.  Click here to see the list of players.  I'll also post the entire list below.

There are a total of 26 27players listed here.  Before the regular season begins on Friday, September 28th, the Stars will have to cut down to 23 players.  Jersey numbers each player will wear next are listed on the far left.  Their birth years are listed to the right.

#33:  G - Michael Bitzer ('93)
#35:  G - Jackson Teichroeb ('92 - overager/import) 

#3:  D - Charlie Donlin ('93)
#4:  D - Daniel Willett ('96)
#5:  D - Vinny Muto ('93)
#6:  D - Paul LaDue ('92 - overager)
#7:  D - Zack Pittman ('95)
#21:  D - Zach Frye ('94) 
#23:  D - Mike McKee ('93 - import)

#25:  D - Justin Woods ('94)

#8:  F - Tommy Schutt ('93)
#9:  F - Vinni Lettieri ('95)
#10:  F - Will Suter ('92 - overager)
#11:  F - Zach Aston-Reese ('94)
#12:  F - Michael Bunn ('94)
#13:  F - Ross Olsson ('94)
#14:  F - David Parrottino ('94)
#15:  F - Brent Wold ('93 - import) 
#16:  F - Dominik Shine ('93)
#17:  F - Max Coatta ('94)
#18:  F - Max Humitz ('95)
#19:  F - Brad Hawkinson ('94)
#20:  F - Jimmy Devito ('94)
#26:  F - Jake Wood ('93 - import)
#27:  F - Luke Johnson ('94)
#39:  F - Eric Scheid ('92 - overager)
F - Garrett Brossart ('94)

Edit:  After my article was posted, the Stars have included forward Garrett Brossart to the preseason roster.  Brossart is a 2012 USHL Entry Draft pick of the Lincoln Stars.  He's a native of Fargo, ND.

Let's compare the list above to the 25 player protected roster (and affiliate list) released by the Lincoln Stars on 7/2/12.  Click here to see that list.  Previously protected in July but not above are defenseman Austin Yano, forwards Bob Kinne and Michael Neville.  Kinne will be playing for the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL next season, while Neville was traded to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders for "future considerations."  Click here to read more about Kinne and Neville moving on.

The only player not originally protected by Lincoln back in July but now listed above is forward Jimmy DeVito, who was acquired by the Stars from the Chicago Steel.  Click here to read more about that.

Max Coatta, Daniel Willett, and Max Humitz were previously listed on the affiliate list, but all three now appear on the preseason roster.  Willett and Humitz are already in town attending high school, so those two are going to be permanent roster additions.  From my understanding, players attending high school cannot be cut.  I've heard some rumors that Coatta will start the regular season with Lincoln, and then go back to Minnetonka High School to finish out his senior season there.  After his high school season has completed, Coatta will return to Lincoln to finish out the regular season and playoffs.  Basically, the same thing Vinnie Lettieri did last season.

Biggest surprise for me is the exclusion of defenseman Austin Yano.  Honestly, I'm shocked he isn't on the list.  I don't know the story as to why he's not included, but he was one of the better defensemen I saw at Lincoln's camp.  A bit undersized, but Yano had terrific skating skills and seemed to me to be the ultimate powerplay QB.  Really disappointed to not see him listed here.  Edit:  I've been told that Yano was a victim of the USHL's import rule.  Only four imports (players born outside of the USA) can be rostered by each USHL team.  Teichroeb, McKee, Wold, and Wood will be Lincoln's four imports next season.

Kevin Roy's former number (#15) will be worn this season by another Canadian, forward Brent Wold who is from Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba.  No pressure there, eh?

Forward Michael Bunn, from Wake Forest, NC, will probably start the season on the injured reserve list.  He's recovering from ACL surgery after injuring it during Lincoln's tryout camp this past June in Minneapolis.

Largest player:  6'4", 230 pounds of pure mayhem, defenseman Mike McKee.
Smallest player:  5'6", 150 pound rookie defenseman Daniell Willett.  As the only player born in 1996, Willett is also the youngest player on the roster.  Like a friend pointed out to me, I'd love to see McKee and Willett paired together on the blueline.  That would be interesting to see.  Almost a foot in height difference, and almost a 100 pound weight difference.

There are 8 defensemen listed above, and I anticipate the Stars making one cut there before the regular season starts.  Historically, the Stars will roster 7 defensemen during the regular season.

Okay, now I'd like to hear from you folks.  Thoughts on this roster?  Comments are wide open.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twitter Stars

Back when I started this blog in February of 2009, I signed up on Twitter so that I could reach out to more hockey fans with the articles BT and I were writing.  At the time, I wasn't really sure what Twitter was all about, but three and a half years later I can say I'm a HUGE believer in it.  

I think it's a valuable social media tool, and I'll admit without any hesitation that I'm now a Twitter addict.  I usually have it always running either on my phone or my PC.  It's a great way to keep informed about what's going on in the hockey world, not just the USHL.  It's also fun to follow your favorite athletes, teams, comedians, actors/actresses, musicians, etc.  Just about anyone you can think of in the public eye has a Twitter account these days.

Anyway, I've started following a number of current, former, and future Stars on Twitter and I thought I'd share a list I created with all of the ones I'm aware of.  Some of the players below tweet more often than others, but it's an interesting glimpse inside their daily lives.  I'm sure all of the players listed below would appreciate some new Twitter followers, so follow them if you have an account.  If you don't have a Twitter account, what are you waiting for?

Current Players:
Tommy Schutt:!/tschutt08
Mike McKee:!/mikemckee23
Zach Aston-Reese:
Will Suter:
Eric Scheid:
Vinni Lettieri:
Jimmy DeVito:
Jackson Teichroeb:
Vinny Muto:
Jake Wood:
Ross Olsson:
Michael Bitzer:
Michael Bunn:
Austin Yano:
Zack Pittman: (Over 22k tweets!  Wow!  He loves to Tweet!)
Daniel Willett:
Brent Wold:

Affiliate List Players:
Jared Brown:!/jabrown11
Kory Kaunisto:!/kooshdawg
Colby Cohen:!/colbycohen36
Bryan Hogan:
David Backes:!/dbackes42
Mick Berge:
Ben Gordon:
Erik Condra:
Mike Davies:
Carl Sneep:
Ted Suihkonen:
Dan Riedel:

I put a similar list together last year about this same time, and the current list above is probably three times as big.  More and more players are using Twitter as a social media tool, which is really cool to see.  A lot of USHL coaches are on Twitter now, but unfortunately Chad Johnson and Jimmy McGroarty are not.

If I missed any former, current, or future Stars....please let me know so I can add them to the list.  I'm sure I'm missing quite a few former Stars.  Leave a comment below, or send me an email at  Thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Duchenne Challenge Cup Benefit Game

This Sunday (8/26/12) 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 herehere 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 $15.  All proceeds go to the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy group.  There will also be a silent auction held.  Last year, the Duchenne Challenge Cup raised over $30,000.

Players from eight NHL teams — Colorado, Chicago, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Montreal and Washington — are scheduled to participate in this game.  Lincoln Stars associate head coach Jimmy McGroarty will also be playing in this benefit game.

8/24/12 Edit: The list of professional players slated for action include former Omaha Lancer and UNO standout Dan Ellis, former Mavs Scott Parse and Jeff Hoggan and former Lancer and Omaha native Jed Ortmeyer.   Also playing will be former Omaha Knight Warren Peters, Erik Gustafsson from the Philadelphia Flyers and Ryan Potulny from the Washington Capitals and a former Lincoln Star.

As mentioned below, former Lincoln Stars assistant coach Rob Facca (currently an assistant coach at Western Michigan University) 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 26, 2012 * 2 p.m. (doors open at Noon)
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: $15 
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
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Philadelphia Flyers
Montreal Canadians
Washington Capitals

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.

Here's a quick video about Rob Facca and his cause:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Roster News

Just a quick article on a couple of roster moves I was made aware of this evening.

Per Paul Teeple, Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL, Stars forward Bob Kinne will play for the Bobcats in this upcoming 2012-13 season.  Click here to view the article.  Kinne scored 8 points (6g, 2a) in 39 games played for Lincoln last season.  Bob has committed to play for Bemidji State University starting the fall of 2013.

Kinne, who was born in 1992, was most likely a victim of the USHL overager rule.  Each USHL team can roster up to four overagers next season.  In the 2012-13 USHL season, any player born in 1992 is considered an "overager."

Bob had a great tryout camp this past June, but apparently the Stars are moving in another direction.  Best of luck to Kinne with the Bismarck Bobcats.

Also, I was told tonight the Stars have traded first-year, import forward Michael Neville ('93) to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  According to the Stars' Twitter account, Neville was traded for "future considerations."  I assume "future considerations" means a USHL entry or futures draft pick.

Neville, who was born in Canada, came out of nowhere as an undrafted free-agent during Lincoln's tryout camp this past June in Minneapolis.  In my opinion, he was one of the top forwards at camp....even compared to the returning vets.  He was good with or without the puck.  Fearless forechecker.  I was really excited to see him in a Stars jersey this season.

Each USHL team can roster four imports (players born outside of the USA), and I was under the assumption that Lincoln was set going into next season.  However, I've been told that a player born outside of the USA who has played at least three seasons of organized hockey in the USA is no long considered an "import" in the eyes of the USHL.  I believe Mike McKee and Jake Wood (both from Canada) fall into this category.  I'm not 100% certain about this 3-year rule, just what I was told at tryout camp.

So that left Neville, Jackson Teichroeb, Austin Yano, and Brent Wold as the four imports heading into next season.  At least that's what I thought.  I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out.

8/23 Edit:  Per Cody Nickolet of the "WHL From Above" blog, defenseman Jack Walker ('96) has signed a contract with the WHL's Victoria Royals.  Walker was a 2012 USHL Futures Draft pick of the Lincoln Stars, and participated in their tryout camp this past June in Minneapolis.  Stars lose another young player to major juniors, which is not good.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lincoln Stars to participate in preseason Clyde Iron Cup

The Lincoln Stars will be one of four USHL teams who will participate in the "Clyde Iron Cup" on September 14th and 15th at the at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center in Duluth, Minn.  Click here to read the official announcement from the USHL.

Friday, September 14th:
Tri-City Storm vs. Lincoln Stars @ 3:00pm
Sioux City Musketeers vs. Green Bay Gamblers @ 8:00pm

The winners of those two games will play for the "championship" the next day (Saturday, September 15th) at 2:00pm. The consolation game between the two losing teams will take place that same day (9/15) at 11:30am.  All times mentioned above are CST.

I believe the Stars will first start practicing together as a team on Monday September 10th, so it appears that they'll have but a few days of practice before participating in this tournament against two other USHL teams.

I am not aware if this preseason tournament will be broadcast on or even covered by the USHL Pointstreak site.  As more news about this event is posted online, I will include it here in this article.

8/20/12 Edit:  Here's the link from the Lincoln Stars website.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kevin Roy switches college committment to Northeastern University

Kevin Roy - Courtesy of BA Photos
Pretty big news today as numerous reports online (including the U.S. Hockey Report website) indicate that Kevin Roy, and his older brother Derick (who is a goaltender) have committed to play college hockey for Northeastern University, starting the fall of 2012.  The USHR site is reporting this as official (USHR is a pay-per-view website).

It is expected that Northeastern University ice hockey head coach Jim Madigan will make an official announcement early next week.

Just a few weeks ago, Kevin did what many hockey pundits thought might happen....he decommitted from Brown University.  Rumors have been flying for months that Kevin might walk away from his verbal commitment to Brown after having such an amazing 2011-12 USHL season with the Lincoln Stars.  Kevin originally committed to the ivy-league school a few years ago, before beginning his season with the Stars.

Northeastern assistant coach Jerry Keefe, who used to be an assistant at Brown, originally recruited Kevin and his brother Derick while at Brown.  Not knowing specifics, I can only assume Jerry Keefe had a big role in convincing Kevin and his brother that Northeastern would be the place to play.

Kevin will join his 2011-12 teammates Dax Lauwers, and Colton Saucerman at Northeastern.  Former Stars currently on the Northeastern roster are defenseman Ben Oskroba and forward Garrett Vermeersch.  Current Stars forward Zach Aston-Reese has committed to Northeastern for the fall of 2013.  Former Stars forward Brodie Reid and defenseman Jake Newton also played for the Northeastern Huskies before moving on to play professionally.  I need to invest in a Northeastern Huskies hockey jersey!

As a person said on Twitter this afternoon, the Lincoln Stars should change their name to the Lincoln Jr. Huskies. It's a Lincoln-Boston pipeline! :)

Congrats to Kevin!  I was told way back in May that this might happen, so I'm wasn't as surprised as others when this news broke.  I'm really looking forward to catching some Northeastern Huskies games on TV next season and rooting on all the former Stars on the team.

Stars' radio broadcasts moved to KNTK 93.7 FM "The Ticket"

Just announced by the Lincoln Stars is a change many of us will want to take note of.

Click here to view the official announcement released today by Jim Pflug, President of the Lincoln Stars.  Here's an excerpt from announcement linked above:

The Lincoln Stars and Home Field Communications, L.L.C. have announced a three-year agreement that will move the Stars’ radio broadcasts to KNTK 93.7FM, beginning with the 2012-13 schedule.  

“We’re excited to be joining ‘The Ticket’ for the upcoming season,” said Stars President Jim Pflug.  “KNTK has excelled since coming into the Lincoln market a year ago, and as the only FM sports talk station in the market, offers us another effective way to promote Stars hockey among Lincoln’s sports fans.  We feel our fans from across the Lincoln area will appreciate the strength of their broadcast signal, and internet streaming at will also be available.”

Mike Melbye will return for his 8th season as the Stars’ radio voice for the 2012-13 season, and will also host a weekly Stars radio show on “The Ticket”, featuring Stars coaches, players, and other guests in an hour-long program airing Wednesdays from 6-7pm, beginning in late September.

First thought is that I'm happy the radio broadcast is now on FM, as opposed to 1480 AM (KLMS).  I think.  93.7 FM is a station I do not listen to very often at all, so I'm unable to give a qualified opinion on their signal clarity, and strength.  However, I would assume the reception has to be better than what we have been used to with 1480 AM.  I know the AM signal was not that strong in certain parts of Lincoln, and sometimes not listenable once outside of the city limits.

Hoping also that the agreement with 93.7 FM will mean more games will be broadcast over regular radio, and not just online.  Many times on 1480 AM, Stars games would be broadcast online only because of football, or basketball games having priority on regular radio.

The weekly, hour-long Stars radio show hosted by announcer Mike Melbye is something I'm really excited about.  I'm guessing that Melbye's radio show will be held inside the 93.7 FM studio, but I can hope that instead it's held at a local bar/eating establishment so fans can attend, and maybe ask questions.  It's nice to have a local sports news outlet giving the Stars some steady publicity, unlike our local Lincoln Journal Star newspaper whose coverage of the Stars the past few seasons has been a joke. /soapbox

Thoughts?  Please leave a comment below!

You know you're a Lincoln Stars fan when....Part Two!

So it's obviously pretty slow around here.  We're about 56 days from opening night at the IceBox, and the temps here in Nebraska have steadily been in the upper 90's and 100's.  It's hard to think about hockey when we're dealing with the dog days of summer and the 2012-13 season seems like it's so far away.

To combat our hockey withdrawals, I thought I might resurrect one of our most popular articles here on the B³.  About two years ago, BT and I posted the first "You know you're a Lincoln Stars fan when...." article.  To this day, it's one of the most viewed articles we've ever posted here, out of a total of 740 articles the last 3+ years.

Click here to see that original article from September of 2010.  Once you open up that article, scroll down to view all of the comments left by our readers.  I'm going to highlight some of my favorites below.

But before I get to that, I'd like to hear from more of you!  I know we have a LOT more readers now than we did in 2010, so I hope to see some more great feedback.  What crazy, funny things define you as a Lincoln Stars fan?

My favorites from the article linked above:

"When your vacation days at work are spent on tryouts, the Fall Classic and road trips to Green Bay and Indiana." - BellTolls

"When the concession ladies know your beer of choice." - BellTolls

"Your closet is overtaken by Stars gear - jerseys, sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, caps..." - Starstruck

"Your friends/family preface all invitations with 'if you don’t have a game that night' (may or may not include an accompanying eye roll)." - Starstruck

"You have hockey themed rooms in your house from all of the memorabilia you've collected over the years." - StarsHcky

"The greatest friends you've made are all people you've met during hockey." - Nighthawk

"You have a deep hatred for the Omaha Lancers and still cringe (and maybe cry a little) when you think of Game 5 between Omaha and Lincoln of the 2007-2008 season." - Nighthawk

"'Come On Ride The Train' isn't the same without a home win and seeing hockey sticks in the air." - Team Jacob (Newton)

"You walk into the Icebox and feel 'at home.'" - StarsFans7177

"You find yourself not liking summer as much as you used to because that's the off season." - StarsFans7177

"When you have license plate on 2 vehicles are dedicated to the Stars." - JStars

"Bought season tickets after attending only 2 games." - HeyHeyWhaddaSay

"Own more STARS gear than HUSKER gear (even though I'm a huge HUSKER fan)." - HeyHeyWhaddaSay

"When you get in a car accident on the way to Sioux Falls and get dropped off at the game by the tow truck." - Starshockey7

Just a few of my favorites!  Now I'd like to hear from you!  Comments are wide open.  You do not need to register to leave a comment below.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Johnson and Olsson named to USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game

Quick article after some breaking news this afternoon.

Returning Stars forward Luke Johnson ('94), along with incoming forward Ross Olson ('94) were today named to the roster for the 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which will be held on Saturday, September 29th at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.

Also on the roster are Lincoln Stars draft selections Sean Malone ('95-Forward), and Mike McCarron ('95-Forward).  Click here to view the full roster from the prospects game.  Click here to read the announcement made by the USHL.

From the official 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game website:  "The All-American Prospects Game will include 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft."

The Stars will open the 2012-13 regular season with their home opener at the IceBox on Friday, September 28th against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Considering that this prospects game in Buffalo, NY is being played the very next night, I assume Luke and Ross will not be in the lineup for the Stars on opening night.  Bummer for us, and bummer for them.

I suppose both Luke and Ross could suit up for the home opener Friday night, then fly out early Saturday morning to play in the prospects game that evening, but that seems to be stretching it.

Anyway....congrats to Luke, Ross, Sean, and Mike!