The United States Hockey League announced that Lincoln Stars head coach Chris Hartsburg and Dubuque Fighting Saints head coach Jason Lammers will be the head coaches for Team West and Team East respectively at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Hartsburg is in his second season as head coach with the Lincoln Stars. Prior to coaching, Hartsburg played in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers (1997-98) and was drafted by the New Jersey Devils after playing for Colorado College. Hartsburg has been a large part of Lincoln’s turnaround season that has the Stars atop the Western Conference with a 19-13-0-0 record. Hartsburg’s Stars offense ranks in the top-five of the USHL in scoring. 19 players on Lincoln’s roster this season are currently committed to play college hockey. Hartsburg will join four Lincoln Stars players in the game.
“I feel like we have some elite players on our team, but you don’t get to deal a lot of one-on-one with other players around the league,” Hartsburg said. “It will be fun for me to see how these players play in certain situations. It’s a good opportunity to showcase their skill level at this event.”
Lammers is in his first season as head coach with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Prior to coaching in Dubuque, Lammers was as an assistant coach in the NCAA for 13 seasons, including four seasons with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Lammers has the Fighting Saints in first place in the Eastern Conference after winning 10 consecutive games. Dubuque’s offense leads the USHL in scoring, and their defense has allowed the third fewest goals this season. 17 players on Dubuque’s roster this season are currently committed to play college hockey. Lammers will join two Dubuque Fighting Saints players in the game.
“It is an honor to represent the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the Top Prospects Game,“ Lammers said. “This opportunity is the result of the focused work from both the players and staff.”
In addition to announcing the head coaches for the game, the USHL announced the assistant coaches, support staff, officials and media staff for the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Omaha Lancers head coach Brian Kaufman and Green Bay Gamblers head coach Pat Mikesch will serve as assistant coaches for Team West and Team East respectively. Kaufman played for the Billings Bulls (NAHL) and Miami University (NCAA) prior to his coaching career. He is in his third season as head coach of the Lancers. Mikesch played for the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) and Michigan Tech (NCAA) prior to a nine-year pro career. He is in his second season as head coach of the Gamblers.
Bill Nervig of the Omaha Lancers, Corey Courtney of the Lincoln Stars and Dan Bouska of the Tri-City Storm were named as the support staff. Officials for the game include referees Korey Chipperfield and Andrew Bruggeman, in addition to linesmen Riley Bowles and Brian McAvoy. Media coverage for the event will include Rob Lippolis of the Omaha Lancers, Jim Olander of the Sioux Falls Stampede, Matthew McGreevy of the Lincoln Stars and David Fine of the Tri-City Storm. Photographers for the event will be Robb Brouillette of the Omaha Lancers and Brandon Anderson of the Lincoln Stars. In addition to USHL and team staff, the Chicago-based film company Banner Collective will capture the event in its entirety.
2016 marks the fourth time the USHL will be hosting the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game, and it follows a record-setting 2015 NHL Draft that saw 37 players from the 2014-15 season selected by NHL teams. The 2016 NHL Draft will be held June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY at the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Fans can purchase tickets to the game HERE, and any media requests should be sent to HERE.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 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.