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USHL Question for Serious Followers

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01-16-2007, 10:26 AM
  #1
Guy Flaming
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USHL Question for Serious Followers

Say you had a radio show and you wanted to do a feature on the single biggest team the league has... who would it be? I'm not talking about the best team this year but the flagship franchise of say, the last 25 years or so. The one that has produced the most notable NHL players, the one with the most history or tradition or notable events in its past.

Who would be that franchise and why?

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01-16-2007, 03:19 PM
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derbyfan
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I'm in Canada and don't get to see USHL games, but I have followed the league over the past few years and have done research on its teams.

My personal opinion (FWIW) would be the Omaha Lancers. In 18 years they've won 11 championships. For many years they had unbelievable fan support (well in excess of 5,000 per game, back when they were stil "Tier 2").
They've been around 18 years, which I believe makes them the second-oldest franchise in the league behind Waterloo.
In terms of pro players, I think just over the past few years have they started to produce some true impact NHL'ers, but the list ain't bad.
Paul Stastny, Matt Carle, Ryan Malone and Keith Ballard are a few that come to mind.

From what I gather, head coach Mike Hastings is one of the most well-respected coaches in America. He's been coaching them since the early 90's, and seems to attract many top-flight college prospects.
In addition, Mario Lemieux and Luc Robitaille are part of an ownership group that bought into the Lancers a couple of years ago. That certainly doesn't hurt their image, and in my mind makes them the highest-profile of all the USHL teams.

Anyway, I'm sure people who watch the league on a consistent basis will be able to give you some better feedback. Just thought I'd chime in.

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01-16-2007, 07:10 PM
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Agreed, it has to be Omaha... year after year they seem to find the top talent.

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01-18-2007, 09:22 AM
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Omaha certainly is the cream, especially since the USHL went Tier I. I am not sure of the continuity but, Waterloo, Souix City, and Des Moines date quite a ways back to the early days of the USHL. I remember those teams along with Dubuque, St. Paul and the old Madison Capitals - man, did those Capitol's teams stink towards the end.

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01-18-2007, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdmiralPred View Post
Omaha certainly is the cream, especially since the USHL went Tier I. I am not sure of the continuity but, Waterloo, Souix City, and Des Moines date quite a ways back to the early days of the USHL. I remember those teams along with Dubuque, St. Paul and the old Madison Capitals - man, did those Capitol's teams stink towards the end.
My bad. I checked the timeline on the USHL website and you are correct - Waterloo, Sioux City and Des Moines all came before Omaha.

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01-19-2007, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdmiralPred View Post
Omaha certainly is the cream, especially since the USHL went Tier I. I am not sure of the continuity but, Waterloo, Souix City, and Des Moines date quite a ways back to the early days of the USHL. I remember those teams along with Dubuque, St. Paul and the old Madison Capitals - man, did those Capitol's teams stink towards the end.
Rafalski came from one of those bad Wisconsin teams. I am from Waterloo but would have to give the edge to Des Moines or Omaha as they've had more on the ice success.

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01-20-2007, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by amjay13 View Post
Rafalski came from one of those bad Wisconsin teams. I am from Waterloo but would have to give the edge to Des Moines or Omaha as they've had more on the ice success.
Maybe in the past, but you've had just as much on-ice success over the past few years, and you could do alot worse than P.K. O'Handley.
Good hockey man.

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01-20-2007, 01:04 PM
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Maybe in the past, but you've had just as much on-ice success over the past few years, and you could do alot worse than P.K. O'Handley.
Good hockey man.
Agreed, my dad use to ref in the USHL so I was going to games in Waterloo and around the league from about 1984 through 2003 when I moved out here. I'd attend about 90% of the Waterloo homes games plus a few road games every year. The Hawks weren't very good during those years with the exception of the season or two when Jason Blake was in town. Figures once I move away they turn the corner and actually win a title the season I leave. I still keep track of the league and actually watch a few games a year online via the USHL website. You are correct about P.K. O'Handley, best thing ever to happen to that franchise. Have you seen the new playoff format this season? I personally think it's a joke.

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01-23-2007, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by amjay13 View Post
Agreed, my dad use to ref in the USHL so I was going to games in Waterloo and around the league from about 1984 through 2003 when I moved out here. I'd attend about 90% of the Waterloo homes games plus a few road games every year. The Hawks weren't very good during those years with the exception of the season or two when Jason Blake was in town. Figures once I move away they turn the corner and actually win a title the season I leave. I still keep track of the league and actually watch a few games a year online via the USHL website. You are correct about P.K. O'Handley, best thing ever to happen to that franchise. Have you seen the new playoff format this season? I personally think it's a joke.
A bit strange, best of seven in the opening round only to play a round robin in round two and a single elimination "Final Four" hosted by the team with the best overall regular season record.

And yes, while good players can, and do, come from anywhere (in understand Rafalski, and a few other prominent NCAA players, came through the old Capitals) those Caps teams, going into the 90s, weren't that good on the whole. Less than 40 wins over about 200 games spanning their last four seasons.

But, on topic. You could make a case for any of the four teams mentioned based on longevity, championships, personnel or any combination of the three.

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03-19-2007, 09:03 PM
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Omaha or Des Moines. When I lived and played in Minnesota, the USHL was thought to be kind of a joke league. It was definitely frowned upon as a second chance wash out league where if you got lucky you might make it back up again. When I came to Des Moines and saw what the good USHL teams were about it changed my whole perception. I guess we were wrong about the talent that the top USHL teams can draw.

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03-21-2007, 08:22 AM
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Lincoln is an up and coming team. They have by far, the best fan support in the league right now. I'm biased of course, I have season tix to the Stars. I've been to a lot of road games, and the fans of other teams say how crazy the Lincoln fans are...how supportive they are. In the 10+ years they've been in the USHL, they've had only one season below .500. Steve Johnson has been the Head Coach for the Stars since the very beginning. The Stars just passed the 400 franchise wins mark too.

Granted they don't have the history of teams like Omaha, Des Moines, and Sioux City....but they're a solid, popular franchise.

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04-03-2007, 05:21 PM
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BTW... USHL fans, league President Gino Gasparini will be on the show this coming Monday (April 9th). If you want to submit some questions that we might run by him, please feel free to do so.

pipeup@thepipelineshow.com

Cheers!

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04-05-2007, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derbyfan View Post
I'm in Canada and don't get to see USHL games, but I have followed the league over the past few years and have done research on its teams.

My personal opinion (FWIW) would be the Omaha Lancers. In 18 years they've won 11 championships. For many years they had unbelievable fan support (well in excess of 5,000 per game, back when they were stil "Tier 2").
They've been around 18 years, which I believe makes them the second-oldest franchise in the league behind Waterloo.
In terms of pro players, I think just over the past few years have they started to produce some true impact NHL'ers, but the list ain't bad.
Paul Stastny, Matt Carle, Ryan Malone and Keith Ballard are a few that come to mind.

From what I gather, head coach Mike Hastings is one of the most well-respected coaches in America. He's been coaching them since the early 90's, and seems to attract many top-flight college prospects.
In addition, Mario Lemieux and Luc Robitaille are part of an ownership group that bought into the Lancers a couple of years ago. That certainly doesn't hurt their image, and in my mind makes them the highest-profile of all the USHL teams.

Anyway, I'm sure people who watch the league on a consistent basis will be able to give you some better feedback. Just thought I'd chime in.
Very much true that they do have arguably the most valuable and most dominant franchise in the USHL. But their fan attendance has gone way down from the 5,000 mark. Just look at the attendance chart for the USHL on the below link

http://ushl.com/statistics/index.cfm...e%20Attendance

As you can see, they're now just under the 3,000 mark for some reason. I don't know why, since they're still a very dominant program.

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04-05-2007, 04:18 PM
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Yeti
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Originally Posted by ThrashersBoi View Post
Very much true that they do have arguably the most valuable and most dominant franchise in the USHL. But their fan attendance has gone way down from the 5,000 mark. Just look at the attendance chart for the USHL on the below link

http://ushl.com/statistics/index.cfm...e%20Attendance

As you can see, they're now just under the 3,000 mark for some reason. I don't know why, since they're still a very dominant program.
It's pretty easy to explain, actually. Omaha used to only have the Lancers in terms of hockey teams in town. They were the hot ticket...they ONLY ticket for hockey.

Now there are three hockey teams in Omaha. The Ak-sar-ben Omaha Knights (AHL farm team to the Calgary Flames), the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (they play in the CCHA), and the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. So as you can see, the competition is rough now. Better, more skilled hockey is being played by those other two teams. The Lancers attendance is suffering because of that.

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04-06-2007, 08:22 AM
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derbyfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrashersBoi View Post
Very much true that they do have arguably the most valuable and most dominant franchise in the USHL. But their fan attendance has gone way down from the 5,000 mark. Just look at the attendance chart for the USHL on the below link

http://ushl.com/statistics/index.cfm...e%20Attendance

As you can see, they're now just under the 3,000 mark for some reason. I don't know why, since they're still a very dominant program.
I was actually talking past tense when referring to their attendance, it definitely has slipped over the last few years.

Although it had alreay started to dip, I wonder if the name change to "River City" and the move across the river to Council Bluffs affected things a bit.
The old Coliseum was apparently one hell of a place to watch a game, and it looks like the fans haven't responded as well to the new digs.
They've changed the name back to Omaha again, but it looks like some of the magic that was there before was lost over the last few years.

Also, the addtion of the Knights and UNO hockey haven't helped the situation.

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05-30-2007, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amjay13 View Post
Rafalski came from one of those bad Wisconsin teams. I am from Waterloo but would have to give the edge to Des Moines or Omaha as they've had more on the ice success.
With Erik Cole, Peter Sejna and Scott Clemmensen all in the NHL right now, Des Moines hasn't done too horrible at graduating players. Hopefully Okposo and Lewis will be joining those names soon as well. But I think the edge goes to the Lancers.

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