The United States Hockey League today announced that the USHL Board of Directors has approved the transfer of majority ownership for the Omaha Lancers to Crossbar Down, LLC, a group owned and controlled by Anthony “Koots” DiCesare.
The transaction follows the August announcement that Omaha Lancers President and Managing Partner Ben Robert had accepted a new role as President and CEO of Quebecor Media’s Sports and Entertainment Group. With the time and commitment necessary for his new role, Robert worked closely with the USHL to complete a transaction for new majority ownership of the Lancers, but will retain a minority interest in the organization.
“The Lancers organization is regarded as one of the League’s top performers in terms of both hockey and business operations, which is a credit to the previous ownership group,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bob Fallen. “We applaud the arrival of the new ownership group to Omaha led by Mr. DiCesare who brings strong business background, substantial financial resources, and passion for junior hockey.”
DiCesare was a two-sport athlete at Harvard University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. After a successful investment career, he studied numerous acquisition options in the sports realm and chose to invest in the USHL – a strong indication of confidence in the League.
“I look forward to the challenge of building on the rich tradition of the Omaha Lancers,” said DiCesare. “Ben Robert, his partners, and the exceptional staff, along with Mayor Don Groesser and the city of Ralston, have created a first-class operation and environment for Omaha Lancers fans. Our focus is to build off that success and continue to make the Lancers a top organization in the USHL.”
Robert had been part of the ownership for the Omaha Lancers since 2004 and led the organization to high levels of success over the past decade. He helped bring the organization back to Omaha in 2009 after it spent seven years across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and he helped solidify the team’s place in the Omaha community when it became the prime tenant at the brand new Ralston Arena beginning with the 2012-13 season.
“I am very happy to transfer management of the team to Koots, and I know he will prove equal to the task of leading this great organization,” said Robert. “I will always wear the team’s logo close to my heart as a token of this wonderful journey with the Omaha Lancers, and I am very happy to remain a Lancer. Both the fans and the community have made a positive and lasting impact on my life that I will always cherish. The experience of being this team’s Managing Partner was valuable and will serve me well in my future endeavors with Quebecor Sports and Entertainment Group.”
During Robert’s time with the Lancers, the team twice won the Anderson Cup (2007-08, 2004-05) and captured its seventh Clark Cup title (2008), the most in USHL history. Additionally, more than 100 Lancers over that timeframe have earned NCAA Division 1 hockey opportunities and at least one player from the team has been selected in the NHL Draft for 10 consecutive years.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15. A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (/ushlhockey), twitter (@USHL), and YouTube (/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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