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Omaha Lancers president on administrative leave; team to resume operations

Omaha Lancers president on administrative leave; team to resume operations

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The Omaha Lancers will resume team operations Monday — with the intent of playing next weekend’s home games — after players met virtually with United States Hockey League Commissioner Bill Robertson on Sunday morning.

The decision, announced Sunday evening in a press release by the USHL, comes in the wake of the Lancers putting President Dave DeLuca on administrative leave.

Representatives from the USHL and USA Hockey met with Lancers players Friday after allegations of irregularities within the organization. Players unanimously voted to boycott three games this weekend shortly before the league launched its investigation into management’s treatment of players.

Coaches and support staff have also resigned in response to the treatment of former coach Chadd Cassidy and budget cuts that did not seem to conform to USHL standards.

A former coach said the budget to buy hockey sticks had been cut in half, team meals were inadequate and a contract for video scouting software was not renewed.

The meeting with players took place away from Ralston Arena, where the team plays its home games. The USHL press release said players shared their perspectives as a team, in smaller groups and individually.

Separately, a third-party investigation into the Lancers organization has been launched. That investigation will include players, former coaches, front office staff and ownership.

The press release said Omaha ownership and management pledged their support and cooperation with the investigation. The release added that the league was committed to working with Lancers players to rebuild trust within the organization and to allow the findings of the investigation to determine the proper course of action.

The USHL has selected Josh Mervis to oversee operations of the Lancers during the investigation. Mervis has been involved in the USHL for almost 20 years as an owner, head coach, general manager and club vice president.

Mervis is currently a non-active, minority partner of the Lancers and serves as the chair of the USHL competition committee.

An ownership group led by Anthony DiCesare brought in DeLuca, a former Las Vegas fire captain, to run the business office in 2017. DeLuca became president in 2018.

Cassidy had led the team to an 8-4-2 record. In an email to Lancers host parents last week, DeLuca said Cassidy had “stepped down” as head coach.

The Lancers announced Thursday that Gary Graham of the Indiana Jr. Fuel U18 team had accepted the head coaching job on an interim basis.


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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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