USHL – Lincoln Stars wheeling and dealing

By Richard Roeder

November was a busy month for the USHL Lincoln Stars, both on the ice and in the front office. The Stars started November by bringing in defenseman Kevin Seibel. Seibel had previously guarded the blueline for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. As a 20-year-old player in Canada’s Western Hockey league, he found himself without a team after the Giants let him go due to league age restrictions. His impact on the Stars was immediate, as he was rarely off the ice in his debut weekend.

However, the honeymoon did not last long. The same WHL Giants came calling at the end of the November, and Seibel returned to them the first week in December. During his stay in Lincoln, Seibel played 13 games, scoring three goals and adding six assists. He was named the USHL defensive player of the week on November 17. Seibel enjoyed his time in Lincoln and appreciated the opportunity to continue his hockey career, but in the end he felt he had unfinished business in the WHL. Kevin told the Lincoln Journal-Star prior to his leaving, “I’m doing so well here that I hate to leave. The fans are great, Steve’s (Stars head coach and GM Steve Johnson) a great coach and the hockey is almost as good as it is in the WHL. But this is something I just have to do.”

With the departure of Seibel, Lincoln has added forward Jared Bye. Bye suited up for both games this weekend. Jared last played for the Vancouver Salsa of the BCHL, and is an intimidating presence on the ice.

Lincoln then looked within the league for their next move. The Stars traded defenseman Andrew Guyer to Waterloo for winger Derek Whitmore. Guyer was a defenseman who wanted more ice time, and the Stars were also looking to add more scoring punch. It has been another good move thus far for the Stars, as Whitmore has been on fire since donning the Stars black and blue sweater. He has eight goals and six assists in his 12 games with the Stars, including a hat trick in Lincoln’s 4-2 win over the Green Bay Gamblers on 12/06. He also has had two-game winning goals since becoming a Star, and is the current USHL offensive player of the week.

With the month a little over half over, the Stars again looked north of the border for help. The Stars added center Matt Weir, formerly of the OHL’s London Knights. Weir made his debut on November 21st, and through seven games has potted five goals and added six assists. Paired with Whitmore and USHL Vet Adam Bartholomay (16 goals, 11 assists, tied for third in the USHL scoring race), he helps form one of the most formidable lines in the league. If that’s not enough, Weir was also named an assistant captain after just a few weeks with the Stars. He joins captain Davis Carlisle, and alternates Michael Nesdill and Tyler Magura.

The captains made their debut on December 5th in St. Louis, versus the Heartland Eagles, a 6-0 Lincoln win. Carlisle, a member of the 2003 Clark Cup champion Stars, didn’t have to look too far back for inspiration. “I learned a lot from the leaders of last years team. Potsy (Ryan Potulny), Irman (Danny Irmen), Snowy (John Snowden), and Backes (David Backes) all were great leaders. Each had something to contribute as far as leading a hockey team, and I will try to bring some of that to this years team.” When asked what he wanted to bring to the table as captain, Carlisle continued on, “Show up every night. If you don’t do that in this league, you’re not going to get it done. You’ve got to work hard to be successful, and all the guys already know it. But the best way to really get it across is to lead by example.”