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David Wilkie returning as head coach, GM of the Omaha Lancers

The move is the fifth coaching change in the past year for an organization rife with controversy since Wilkie stepped down as head coach and GM last summer.

Omaha Lancers USHL Logo 2019.jpg
Omaha Lancers logo

OMAHA, Neb. — After a year filled with new faces, it'll be a familiar one behind the bench for the Omaha Lancers next season. David Wilkie, who was previously the team's head coach and GM from 2017 to 2021, will be returning as head coach, general manager and CEO for the 2022-23 season, the Lancers announced Saturday.

The move is the fifth coaching change in the past year for an organization rife with controversy since Wilkie stepped down as head coach and GM last summer.

The Lancers announced a new ownership group led by Mike Picozzi, Donato Ardellini and Jamie Storr in January. Storr, a 10-year NHL veteran, will also serve as president of hockey operations.

Investigation was led by Scott Gray, a member of USA Hockey SafeSport Taskforce

Wilkie replaces Rob Rassey, who was named general manager in February and soon after took over as head coach. Rassey was announced as the head coach of the Sioux Falls Stampede on Thursday . Wilkie led the Lancers to a 123-78-24 record during his previous four seasons with the team.

“First, I would like to thank Mike Picozzi and Danny Ardellini for supporting me and presenting this opportunity,” Wilkie said in a press release. “The Omaha Lancers’ organization and its history are very important to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of it again. This is a proud USHL franchise that should be a leader on and off the ice. We are all excited to work to get the franchise back to where it should be.”

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It's been a tumultuous past season for the USHL club:

  • After Wilkie's departure in 2021, Chadd Cassidy was hired as head coach and general manager that July. Come fall of 2021, the Lancers made budget cuts and fired Cassidy that November. He was brought back to coach a series and was ultimately relieved of his duties once more.
  • Sean Walsh was then named acting head coach, but then resigned. The team's players went on to boycott on Nov. 18, 2021.
  • Following the boycott, Gary Graham was named interim head coach, with Josh Mervis handling team operations.
  • In January 2022, the organization announced a new ownership group led by Mike Picozzi.
  • In February, Rob Rassey took over as general manager and, subsequently, head coach.

Other recent coaching changes in the USHL:

  • Kirk MacDonald was named the sixth head coach in the Dubuque Fighting Saints organization on June 13, 2022. MacDonald previously spent four seasons as the head coach of the Reading Royals in the ECHL.
  • Mike Leone was announced as head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers. Leone previously was the assistant coach for the NTDP U17s from 2019-2022.
  • Nick Oliver was named head coach of the Fargo Force. He previously worked as an assistant coach at St. Cloud State University.
Fifteen years ago Roseau native Nick Oliver and Grafton’s Chad Demers paved the way in the first ever season for the Fargo Force. Now these former teammates are reunited again in a way they never thought would happen.

  • Corey Leivermann was named head coach of the Madison Capitols earlier this week. Leivermann was the associate head coach for the Capitols since June of 2020.
  • Rob Rassey was named head coach of the Sioux Falls Stampede. He previously was the head coach and general manager of the Omaha Lancers.
Related Topics: USHLOMAHA LANCERS
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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