|Photo courtesy of Ali Pearson|
Stars GM/President of Hockey Operations Jon Hull today announced that Chris Hartsburg has been named head coach of the Lincoln Stars. Click here to read the official press release.
Hartsburg becomes the fourth head coach of the Lincoln Stars in their 18-year history in the USHL.
Hartsburg is 33 years old, and was born in Edina, MN. Chris played one year of juniors with the Omaha Lancers (gasp!) in 1997-98 before moving on to play college hockey for Colorado College from 1998-2002. Hartsburg was selected in the 7th round of the 1999 NHL draft by the New Jersey Devils.
After college, Hartsburg played 6 years of minor pro hockey (two in the AHL, four in the CHL) before hanging up the skates at the end of the 2007-08 season due to multiple injuries.
Once his playing days were cut short, Hartsburg immediately entered into the coaching ranks, first with the CHL team (Colorado Eagles) he last played hockey for. After the one year as an assistant coach with the Colorado Eagles, Hartsburg was hired as an assistant with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
After two seasons with the Oil Kings, Hartsburg moved on to the Everett Silvertips (WHL), also as an assistant coach. While with the Silvertips, Hartburg coached along side current Sioux City Musketeers head coach Jay Varady, who was also an assistant with Everett.
His most recent position was with the Erie Otters (OHL) as an assistant coach. In his one year with the Erie Otters, the team improved from its 2012-13 record of 19-40-4, to a record of 52-14-2 in 2013-14. According to this article, Hartsburg focused on defense and the penalty kill as an assistant coach with the Otters.
Click here to watch a video interview of Chris Hartsburg that was taken at the beginning of the 2013-14 season when he was with the Erie Otters.
Chris' father Craig Hartsburg is a former NHL defenseman and currently is an assistant coach with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets.
The contract Chris Hartsburg signed with the Lincoln Stars is for 3 years, per GM Jon Hull. On a side note, Jon Hull also told me that assistant coach Mick Berge will be retained, which is great news. I thought the players really responded well to Berge at the end of last season.
I've asked around to people I trust in the hockey world, and I've received nothing but positive feedback regarding Chris Hartsburg. He's a young guy, but he has a lot of experience both as a player and a coach that should help. I can tell you that he is very well respected by those I talked to in the hockey community.
I like that he has experience at many levels within hockey. He has playing experience at the USHL, college, and professional level, along with coaching experience at the professional and major junior level. I'm willing to bet Hartsburg has developed a lengthy list of contacts he will use as head coach of the Lincoln Stars to benefit the team. He's a young guy who should be very hungry to make a name for himself in the USHL.
I don't know much about the style of hockey that Hartsburg likes to play, but I can only assume he shares the same thoughts of GM Jon Hull, otherwise he wouldn't have been hired.
Thoughts on this new hire, Stars Nation? Please leave a comment below.