The first outdoor hockey game pitting teams from the United States Hockey League will highlight the Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice doubleheader on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
The anticipated contest, which could establish a USHL single game attendance record, will feature the Omaha Lancers against the Lincoln Stars at 1:30 p.m. ET. That game will be followed by a college hockey matchup between the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of North Dakota, scheduled 45 minutes after the conclusion of the USHL contest.
The USHL single-game attendance record is 14,892 fans -- set by the Indiana Ice on Feb. 12, 2005, during their annual “Pack the House” night played at the Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. The TD Ameritrade Park seats 24,000.
The Lancers and Stars are separated by less than 60 miles and have met over 100 times during the regular season. The teams have combined for nine USHL Clark Cup titles (Omaha with seven, Lincoln with two). The Lancers currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference with 25 wins and 50 points; the Stars are fifth with 23 wins and 49 points. The top four teams in the conference earn a playoff berth.
"With all the USHL coaches and players past and present on the ice at TD Ameritrade Park, this is going to be part hockey game, part family reunion," USHL commissioner Skip Prince said. "We thank Mutual of Omaha for their support of this event, and look forward to seeing four extraordinary hockey programs come together before a sellout outdoor crowd to celebrate not just USHL and NCAA Division I hockey, but the city of Omaha as a true hockey hub."
Stars forward Luke Johnson, rated No. 78 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters, will certainly have plenty to look forward to in both games.
Not only is Johnson committed to North Dakota next fall, but his father, Steve, is an assistant coach at Nebraska-Omaha. Additionally, Johnson's uncle, Chad, is in his third season as coach and general manager for the Stars.