The United States Hockey League is rich in tradition and history. Although the Eastern Division is tough, the Western Division is usually tougher. Last season saw all six Western Division teams make the eight-team field in the playoffs with the Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars playing for the Clark Cup title. Things are changing a bit though as the Des Moines Buccaneers have taken their legacy back to the East while the West welcomes two new editions to the league. The Tulsa Crude and Topeka Scarecrows make their USHL debuts this season. Tulsa, who previously played in Dubuque, Iowa as the Fighting Saints, will struggle the most out of the two. Lincoln and Omaha do not appear as invincible as in recent years, although that always changes when it comes gut check time. Tri-City in the second year may not fare as well as hoped by the faithful in Kearney, Nebraska. All in all, the Western Division usually is a fight to the finish and this season will be no different.
1. Sioux Falls Stampede
Stampede is an appropriate name for this team. Since they entered the league in the 1999-2000 season, Sioux Falls never dealt with the usual problems of an expansion team. If you thought they were not able to reload then you were wrong. The Stampede is my pick to win the Western Division and my preseason pick to win the league this year. A lot can change, but this team is stocked. Thomas Vanek is the key superstar to the team this year. His cast is full of many though and although he may win the league scoring title, he won’t be at the top of the lis Read more»