The Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) are in disarray as boiling tensions — that started with mass budget cuts and amplified by the recent firing of successful coach Chadd Cassidy, have consumed the team.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, tensions began building earlier this season as the Lancers, owned by Anthony DiCesare, made major budget cuts that included the team’s video software, player equipment and even postgame meals for players.
Former assistant coach Tate Maris told the Omaha World-Herald that the Lancers cut the budget in half for buying hockey sticks, team meals were inadequate and a contract to use video scouting software was not renewed.
As a result, Lancers players walked out Thursday morning and are refusing to play this weekend’s games at Waterloo and Lincoln. The entire remaining staff resigned, including acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart.
The USHL released an official statement Thursday evening:
“I’m proud of our guys and how they handled this,” Maris said to The Athletic. “These are kids who had to make a very very tough decision that in the end, I think will impact their careers positively, and I’m very proud with how they handled it. It’s been a tough day, but I feel very good that a stand is being made and that the kids are taking their hockey career and future into their own hands, which takes guts to do.”
Finances have been a consistent issue dating for two years, several sources tell The Athletic, including the players’ parents being asked to cover certain team expenditures over the last two seasons.
The USHL is the top junior league in the nation and a pathway to college hockey for many of its players.
By Jon Sorensen