Baer and his family purchased the Lancers in 1987 and almost immediately turned them into the premier franchise in the USHL. He moved the team to venerable Ak-sar-ben Coliseum and almost instantly began to establish attendance records. Later, he purchased the Twin Cities Vulcans and moved them to Kearney, Neb. to become the Tri-City Storm, and introduced hockey to central Nebraska. During his time of ownership, his teams captured four Anderson Cups, six Clark Cups and one national championship. He sold the Lancers in 2004 and did the same with the Storm two years later.
Barzee has played an integral role in the USHL for over 40 years. First as a player, then as a coach and an owner, Barzee was vital in the league's transition from professional to amateur. After a successful playing career, Barzee coached and later owned the Waterloo Black Hawks and then founded the Dubuque Fighting Saints, who would become a USHL powerhouse in the 1980's. Later, Barzee would serve on the USA Hockey Board of Directors and today is employed by NHL Central Scouting, a role that allows him to further champion the cause of the players of the USHL.
Perhaps nobody further personifies the USHL than Scott Brand. Brand is entering his 25th season in the USHL. Starting as an on-ice official in 1984, Brand would become one of the finest referees the league has ever known. He would serve as the USHL referee in chief on two occasions from 1990-94. In 1992, he left the ice to become the general manager and president of the Waterloo Black Hawks. He would take the same position in Dubuque in 1996. Since 1998, he has served as the USHL's director of hockey operations and was instrumental in the creation of the USA Hockey Junior Officials Development Program.
Carlson purchased the Sioux City Musketeers and owned the team during their most successful era of the mid-1980's when the Sioux City Auditorium was arguably the toughest USHL building in which to play. Carlson helped convert the Musketeers from a league doormat to a contender to a national champion, a level they reached with 1986's record-setting team. Carlson would sell the team in 2000, but not before he made his mark on the USHL and the American junior hockey landscape.
The USHL couldn't operate without the people who do the job behind the scenes, and almost from the beginning, John Cowley has been there. A Waterloo native who currently resides in Sioux City, Cowley served for many years as the official statistician for the USHL. Today Cowley is employed by USA Hockey, serving as its junior hockey registrar. Cowley has the task of monitoring the protected lists of all junior leagues, in all classifications, in the United States. In addition, he offers administrative support to various teams that represent the United States at international hockey events.
Ferguson played in the USHL when it was a pro league and would go on to coach in the junior circuit for 18 seasons, fashioning a 517-314-42 record. Behind the bench of Sioux City (1981-90) and Des Moines (1990-95, 2001-05), he would coach more games than any other USHL coach (873) and set the benchmark for wins by a USHL coach (517), a mark that was broken in 2007-08. Ferguson was a driving force behind the creation of the USHL's pre-season tournament. Originally known as the Corn Bowl, it was first held in Sioux City in the late 1980's before moving to Des Moines and becoming the Buc Bowl in 1990. Today, the USHL Fall Classic as it is known, is one of the most heavily scouted hockey events in North America.
Ed and Billie Hanes are the two people most would credit with reviving the North Iowa Huskies in the 1980's. Jumping aboard a struggling franchise, the Hanes' provided funding and leadership the team sorely needed, and they were rewarded when the Huskies won the 1989 national championship. Along the way, the Hanes' did everything from selling tickets to sharpening skates to mending uniforms to raising money in the community, the norm for USHL ownership at the time. Ed served on the USHL Board of Governors and is widely considered a truly great friend to the USHL.
In 1983, the ownership group of the St. Paul Vulcans approached the Hubbard family looking for them to invest in the franchise and help save junior hockey in the Twin Cities. The Hubbards, led by Stanley, II who at one time played with the Vulcans, jumped in with both feet and helped bridge the USHL from the league it was in that era to the overwhelming success it is today. By changing the way the team traveled to hiring academic tutors, Hubbard's Vulcans did things that no other junior teams at the time did. Committed to the players and the community in which they played, Hubbard saw the need for junior hockey in Minnesota and did what had to not only have a team in Minnesota, but to also take it and the league to the next level, something he was able to accomplish prior to selling the team in 1999.
Perhaps no team owner has had a greater impact on the USHL than Johnson. Johnson entered the league in 1994 when he purchased the North Iowa Huskies. He would purchase the Waterloo Black Hawks in 1997, stabilizing the ownership of one of the league's charter franchises. He moved the Huskies to Cedar Rapids in 2000 and expanded the league to Topeka, Kan. in 2001. Johnson made an indelible mark on junior hockey when served as league president, leading the charge in the USHL's quest to become America's first Tier I junior league, something that became reality in 2002.
The Des Moines Buccaneers used to be part of a unique ownership situation, one where the team was part of a group that included the area's youth hockey and figure skating programs, all run in a non-profit system. The person at the head of the group for many years was Ellis Moose, III. Moose was in charge of the team going back to the 1980's until the ownership changed hands in 2003. He also spent a season as the chairman of the USHL Board of Governors.
Perhaps no person has been more involved with the USHL on more levels over a longer period of time, or done more for the advancement of the hockey player in the United States than Dave Tyler. Tyler started out as a player with Waterloo back in its pro days before moving onto a coaching role. Eventually, he would become the president of the league, a role he would hold until 1995. Tyler was an active member of USA Hockey, organizing various international teams, including the United States' entrant in the Viking Cup. He served as the chairman of the USA Hockey Junior Council until his retirement in 2007.
Williamson became involved in junior hockey in 1975 when he and a group of investors purchased the USHL's Bloomington Jr. Stars. He became the team's coach and general manager that first season. He would go on to serve the USHL in three different capacities beginning in 1982. First, he was the league's referee in chief. Later he would become the league's treasurer and eventually have a term as league commissioner. During his tenure, he would also enjoy the role as the general manager of the USHL teams that annually traveled to Switzerland to take part in the Coupe Beard International Tournament. He would leave the USHL to become a scout in the NHL with St. Louis (1993-94) and the Ottawa Senators, who he began working for in 1999. Williamson was honored posthumously.
Ron Woodey is one of the pioneers of amateur hockey in the United States. As one of the founders of the USHL, Woodey was also a founding father of the St. Paul Vulcans. He was named USHL General Manager of the Year in 1983-84, the year he helped build a St. Paul team that won both the Anderson and Clark Cups. Woodey served as the USHL president from 1979-81 and was the league treasurer from 1985-90. He was vital to the merger of the USHL and the Midwest Junior Hockey League in 1979 and his legacy will live on in the USHL as his name is attached to the award that goes to the MVP of the USHL Prospects/All-Star Game, which has been awarded since 1990. Woodey was honored posthumously.
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