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Lincoln Stars Name Chris Hartsburg As Head Coach

05/05/2014, 7:00am CDT
By bwerger

Former USHL player returns to the League as a head coach

Lincoln Stars President of Hockey Operations/General Manager Jon Hull announced today that the organization has hired Chris Hartsburg as the fourth Head Coach in the team’s storied history.

“Chris brings a commitment to winning and development, a tireless work ethic, and a quiet intensity that is what we want behind the bench.  I believe his passion and attention to detail will help shape our new culture in Lincoln,” shared Hull.

Hartsburg most recently served as assistant coach for the Eric Otters of the Ontario Hockey League

(OHL), a role in which he helped the Otters earn 52 wins during the 2013-14 season, improving from just 19 victories the season before.  Prior to joining the Otters, Hartsburg spent four years behind the bench for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Born in Edina, Minnesota, Hartsburg played in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers during the 1997-98 season and recorded 35 points (16g, 19a) in 54 regular season games.  He added four points (2g, 2a) in 12 playoff games to help the Lancers win the Clark Cup.

Following his USHL career, he went on to play four seasons at Colorado College (1998-2002) where he totaled 52 points (31g, 21a) over 148 career games at the school.  He played in three NCAA tournaments while at Colorado College and was an alternate captain while winning the Leadership Award during his senior season.

Hartsburg was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the seventh round (214th overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft after his freshman college hockey season.  He began his pro career with the American Hockey League’s Albany River Rats, playing two seasons (2002-04), before spending four years in the Central Hockey League with the Colorado Eagles. While in Colorado, he was part of league championship teams in 2005 and 2007.

Chris retired six games into the 2007-08 season and was added to the coaching staff for the Eagles handling game preparations and on-ice practices.  The following year, he became assistant coach of the Eagles, running defense and special teams.  He then moved on to the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League in a similar capacity, where he remained for four years until taking a role with the Erie Otters.

“I am humbled and excited by the amazing opportunity to become the head coach for the Lincoln Stars,” said Hartsburg.  “We have an exciting group of players, and everyone knows we have the best fan base in junior hockey.  I know it’s an ideal fit for me.”

Hartsburg has coached notable players such as Ryan Murray, who was drafted third overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets and a mainstay on their blue line at 20 years old, and Connor McDavid, who

was exempt status to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and will likely be a top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.  Additional players he has coached include Radko Gudas (Tampa Bay Lightning), Rasmussen Rissanen (Charlotte Checkers), and Adam Pelech (New York Islanders).

Hartsburg comes from a hockey family as his father, Craig Hartsburg, played in the NHL and has spent the last several seasons coaching in the NHL.  Chris was on his father’s staff when the elder Hartsburg was the head coach of the Everett Silvertips from 2009-11.

“Chris played a huge part in the success of the Erie Otters during the 2013-14 season which set numerous franchise records.  Chris’ leadership, teaching skills, and knowledge of the game will make him an excellent addition to the Lincoln Stars organization.  The Otters would like to thank Chris for his contributions to the organization and wish him all the best,” said Kris Knoblauch, head coach of the Erie Otters.

“Chris is one of the bright young minds in hockey who will instantly impact the Lincoln Stars organization with his passion, intensity, and dedication.  He has an unbelievable pedigree in the game as a player and coach.  He has worked for great mentors and fantastic organizations, and his experience will be a strong addition to the USHL,” said Sioux City Musketeers head coach Jay Varady, who worked alongside Hartsburg with the Everett Silvertips from 2009-11.


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14.  A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have 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 or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (, twitter (, and YouTube (  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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