The United States Hockey league (USHL) has received the results of a third-party investigation that was launched into the Omaha Lancers after initial reports surfaced on November 18, 2021 regarding the Club. The investigation, which formally began November 20, 2021, was conducted by Scott Gray, a member of the USA Hockey SafeSport Taskforce and a Licensed Private Investigator. Gray interviewed approximately 20 individuals including current and former Lancers coaches, staff, players and ownership to review allegations and provided the USHL with a full report of his findings which included copies of e-mails and text messages provided by interviewees which support the findings.
Gray’s investigation finds multiple media reports surrounding the situation in Omaha to be unsubstantiated.
Investigation findings can be seen below:
• On Former Lancers Head Coach Chadd Cassidy: The investigative findings found that Lancers management had established a solid basis of cause to seek removal of Cassidy as Head Coach. Additionally, documented communication shows that a group of players approached team President Dave Deluca in October to ask for a new coach. The investigative findings concluded that Cassidy ultimately stepped down as Head Coach.
• On USHL Tier 1 Standards: Media reports of issues with meals, equipment and video technology were exaggerated. The investigative findings illustrated that meals and equipment were provided to players in compliance with USHL Tier 1 standards. Additionally, the narrative that the Lancers were taking advantage of volunteer labor for their equipment manager position was dispelled in the investigative findings.
• On Player Boycott: Former Assistant Coach Sean Walsh introduced to players the idea of not playing hockey during the weekend of November 18. Players indicated that they were told by Walsh that if they chose to boycott, he would send out press releases to various news publications. Players also reported that they felt pressured by Walsh to agree to the boycott.
• On Pittsburgh Bus Trip: Media reports suggesting that the overtime driving of the bus from Pittsburgh to Omaha was attributable to the Lancers trying to cut costs was false. Upon learning their regular bus company was unavailable for that trip, the Lancers contacted another vendor which subcontracted the chartered bus service. While on the return trip from Pittsburgh to Omaha, Lancers personnel inquired about when the driver change would occur. They were informed that no second driver was scheduled which was the decision of the charter company and not the Lancers. An inquiry was made to the charter company and subsequently a complaint was filed.
“We are satisfied that this matter has been fully and thoroughly investigated to its fullest extent through a neutral third-party,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bill Robertson. “Many initial reports from the media have been proven to be unsubstantiated and we are pleased to have the full knowledge of Gray’s investigation to assist in next and final steps in resolving issues raised in the investigative findings.”
This matter was referred to the USHL Executive Committee for a disciplinary hearing which occurred on Wednesday, December 15 to fully resolve this matter and bring it to a close. As part of the resolution, the USHL is working with the Lancers and affected teams to reschedule games that were missed November 18, 19 and 20. The full investigative report has been shared with USA Hockey.