Hearing that the Lincoln Stars (USHL) have been sold. No word on who/the group has purchased the team.Andrew is someone I follow on Twitter, and I wouldn't post his tweet if I didn't believe him. He's pretty well connected, so I trust his information.
— Andrew Weiss (@WeissFC) November 13, 2013
On my end, I've heard rumors of the Stars being sold for a few months now. I have hesitated to post those rumors here on the blog, or on Twitter, until I could confirm them. With Andrew's tweet, and what I've heard since then, I feel confident in saying that a transaction is pending for the sale of the Lincoln Stars.
What does that mean for you, the fan? First of all, I wouldn't worry that the new owners will move the team to a different city/state. The Stars' lease at the IceBox runs through 2031, so I really don't think they are going anywhere. Lincoln has led the USHL in attendance for the last seven straight seasons, so it would be silly to not take advantage of that rabid fan base.
As for the rest, we'll have to wait and see how much change the new owners will want to make.
I don't want to speculate as to why the current owners would want to sell the team. I do know that UNL owns the land the IceBox is on, and all of the surrounding land around it. The university is slowly turning the old state fairgrounds area into what will be called "Innovation Campus." Their lease runs through 2031, but could UNL push them out? Could the university cut the Stars a big check to break their lease at the IceBox so they could tear it down and build a modern building?
Also, it is my opinion that "Husker Hockey" will happen in the next 5 years. There is too much money at stake with regard to the B1G Network to ignore the possibilities of a Division 1 hockey team in Lincoln. The new Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln has the capabilities of installing ice. The equipment is already there and in place. I fully expect UNL to field a mens and womens division one hockey team sometime in the next 5 years.
When Husker Hockey comes to town, there's no doubt in my mind that attendance at Lincoln Stars games will suffer. How much will it suffer? It's hard to say. I believe the Stars could still pull in 2,000 to 2,500 a night even with another hockey team in town. What the Stars have in their favor is the atmosphere of the IceBox, cheaper ticket prices, and alcohol....three things that Pinnacle Bank Arena (or any future rink) will likely not have.
Stars fans are a hardcore committed group of folks. We will follow the team regardless of how good/bad they are every season. Heck, look at me. I devote a ton of time and effort to keep this blog updated with fresh information. And I do it for my love of the game, and the team. The IceBox is our church, and Lincoln Stars hockey is our religion. I don't see a mass exodus of hockey fans away from the IceBox even when Husker Hockey comes to fruition.
So it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. As always, I will keep you all updated with the latest news. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your comments regarding this topic.
Edit: Thursday morning, the Lincoln Journal Star made it official. Pending league approval, the Lincoln Stars will be sold. Click here to read more.