- Nebraska–Omaha Mavericks men's ice hockey
Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks University University of Nebraska-Omaha Conference WCHA Head coach Dean Blais 3rd year, 41–32–8 Arena CenturyLink Center Omaha
Location Omaha, Nebraska Colors Crimson and White and Black NCAA Tournament Appearances 2006, 2011
The Nebraska–Omaha Mavericks men's ice hockey team(also called UNO Mavericks) is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college ice hockey program that represents University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks are a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). They play home games at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. The Maverick hockey program was started in 1997; the team has qualified for the NCAA tournament on two occasions, in 2006 and 2011. The Mavericks competed in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) between 1999 and 2010 before joining the WCHA for the 2010-11 season. The Mavericks will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference starting in the 2013-2014 season along with Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, and University of North Dakota.
- 1 History
- 2 Season-by-season results
- 3 Arenas
- 4 Coaches
- 5 Players
- 6 School records
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early history (1995–99)
In June 1995, the University of Nebraska-Omaha began talks with local hockey supporters on the feasibility of a varsity men's ice hockey program. Shortly thereafter, the school re-hired long-time Athletic Director Don Leahy. Leahy returned to the school after a ten-year absence to start the hockey program. On May 1, 1996, after much anticipation, the university announced that they would add a varsity men's ice hockey team for the 1997-98 season. Although the school was a Division II team in all other sports, UNO joined Division I for ice hockey. Season tickets went on sale shortly thereafter. By May 16 of that year, the university capped season ticket sales at 6,389 just two weeks after the university announced the creation of the team. The Omaha City Council, encouraged by the support for the Mavericks, approved an ice sheet for the Omaha Civic Auditorium shortly thereafter.
On June 26, 1996, Leahy hired Mike Kemp to be the first Maverick hockey coach. Kemp had spent the previous fourteen years as an assistant and head recruiter for the University of Wisconsin, helping them to nine NCAA tournament appearances and a national championship in 1990. It was a return to Omaha for Kemp, who was the head coach for UNO's club hockey team in its brief existence in 1975 and 1976. Kemp hired former NHL first round draft choice David Quinn as his top assistant, and set about recruiting a team for the 1997 season. UNO played its first season as an Independent in 1997-98. On October 17, 1997, a sellout crowd at the Civic Auditorium saw the team for the first time in a 3–2 exhibition loss to the University of Manitoba. Despite a midseason ten game losing streak, the Mavericks finished with an encouraging 12–18–3 record. The Mavericks earned a surprising sweep over traditional powerhouse Denver and a 4–3 road victory over Maine, a night after losing 11–0. The team sold out all nineteen of their home games to finish second in the NCAA in attendance. Following UNO's first season, the Mavericks made the somewhat surprising decision to apply for membership to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Many expected the school to seek admission to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, as the conference was a better geographic fit and included UNO's Division II North Central Conference rivals Minnesota State, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State. However, the school was intrigued by matchups against big-name foes like Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, and was accepted into the CCHA on June 24, 1998. UNO would become a full member of the conference starting with the 1999–2000 season. The Mavericks struggled in their second season as an independent, starting the season 2–18–0 en route to an 11–24–0 record. UNO won only one of seven games against future CCHA opponents, a 6–1 victory over Bowling Green. Despite the poor record, the school once again sold out all of its home games, finishing third in the NCAA in home attendance.
CCHA years (1999–2009)
UNO surprised many in the 1999–2000 season, its first in the CCHA. The team finished with a 10–12–6 record in the conference, good for seventh in the conference and a berth in the CCHA tournament. The Mavericks took the best-of-three first round series at fourth-seeded Northern Michigan. In other first round action, eighth seeded Bowling Green upset Lake Superior State; the Falcons' victory meant that the Civic Auditorium would host a one-game playoff for the right to go to the CCHA Final Four. In front of a sellout raucous home crowd, the Mavericks won 3–1 in a game that became known in Maverick lore as simply "Tuesday Night." The Mavericks kept the Cinderella run alive at the Final Four, as they stunned top-seeded Michigan 7–4 in front of a pro-Michigan crowd at Joe Louis Arena. UNO entered the tournament final against Michigan State one game away from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in their first year as a CCHA member. After the teams entered the first intermission tied at 0–0, the Spartans scored three goals over a 5:29 span in the second period to break the game open en route to a 6–0 victory.
On the heels of their surprising run at the 2000 CCHA Tournament, the Mavericks began the season ranked #13 in the USCHO.com Poll and #14 in the USA Today poll, the first time the Mavericks had been nationally ranked in their short history. The Mavericks hosted the Maverick Stampede for the first time that year, a four-team season opening tournament that has been held in each year since 2000. The UNO topped Niagara in the tournament before falling to #4 ranked Boston College in the final. Perhaps as a result of heightened expectations, the Mavericks struggled early in the season, falling to a season worst 6–8–0 at the end of November. The team eventually put things together, finishing with the school's first winning record at 24–15–3. After falling out of both polls by midseason, the Mavericks were ranked #13 in the final USCHO.com and USA Today polls, although they again came up just short of the then-12 team NCAA Tournament. The 24 victories are still a Maverick record for a single season. Sophomore David Brisson tallied 22 goals and 47 points, shattering the team record in both categories that he had set a year earlier (17, 32). Following the season, future NHL'er Greg Zanon became the first Mav to be named an All-American, when the ACHA named him to their All-America Second Team.
The 2001–02 season was a mixture of success and disappointment for UNO. For the second consecutive year, UNO posted more than 20 wins, finishing 21–16–4. Zanon again was named second-team All-America; he was joined on the team by Jeff Hoggan, who topped Brisson's school record with 24 goals. However, the team again failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, a disappointment given that the team had been ranked as high as #5 in both major polls early in the season and returned its top four points scorers and future NHL goaltender Dan Ellis from the previous season's 24-win team.
The Mavericks were unable to build on the consecutive winning seasons in the following years. In 2002–03, the team was within striking distance of a third consecutive winning season before limping to a 13–22–5 record after going winless in their last eight games. The 2002–03 would be the last in which UNO was a full-time tenant of the Civic Auditorium after selling out all 131 games that they played in the arena. Following the season, they would move to the newly constructed 14,700-seat Qwest Center Omaha. The following season, 2003–04, was the Mavericks' worst to date, as a young UNO team finished last in the conference with an 8–26–5 record. Despite this, the Mavericks continued to draw fans; although the team was unable to sellout the new arena, they still finished fourth in the NCAA in attendance. The Mavericks rebounded the following season to finish 19–16–4. The team was led by a promising set of young players. Sophomore Scott Parse tallied a team-high 49 points, and freshman Bill Thomas added 45 more. Following the season, Thomas was named CCHA Freshman of the Year and Kemp was named CCHA Coach of the Year, the first two major awards in the program's history.
The 2005–06 season was UNO's most successful to date. The team used a ten-game unbeaten streak in January and February to finish 20–12–6 to earn their first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament. Parse set team records with 41 assists and 61 points and was UNO's first Hobey Baker Award finalist. Following the season, Parse became the first Maverick selected as a First-Team All-American and Conference Player of the Year. Thomas scored a team-record 27 goals, combining with Parse to form the most potent first line in UNO history. The two helped the Mavericks to 141 goals, the most in the CCHA. The team struggled defensively after last year's goaltender Chris Holt signed with the New York Rangers in the offseason. Walk-on freshman Jerad Kaufmann – the third-string goalie at the beginning of the season – eventually laid claim to the job. UNO's inexperience eventually got the best of the team, as they were dominated by Boston University in a 9–2 loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Terriers broke open a 1–1 game with a six-goal second period to end UNO's first NCAA Tournament appearance. Once again, the Mavericks could not build on their successes in the following seasons, as they finished in the middle of the pack each year in the conference. The squad finished two games over .500 in 2006–07, followed by finishing two games under .500 for the next two seasons. In 2008–09, the team started out 12–4–3 – the best start in school history – before collapsing down the stretch and winning only three of their last twenty-one games.
WCHA years (2010–present)
The disappointing 2008–09 season led many to speculate about the future of the program. On April 29, 2009, UNO hired former University of Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts as Athletic Director. Alberts immediately began overhauling the hockey program. Kemp had one-year remaining on his contract as coach and had little chance for an extension following the team's failure to build on the success of the 2006 NCAA Tournament team. Not willing to let go of the only coach the program had ever had, Alberts promoted Kemp to Associate Athletic Director and placed him in charge of the hockey program. Shortly thereafter, Alberts made a huge splash by hiring former North Dakota coaching great Dean Blais as head coach. With Blais on board, observers quickly began speculating that UNO would join the WCHA. With College Hockey America breaking up following the 2009–10 season, Bemidji State submitted an application to be the WCHA's eleventh member. The WCHA made it clear that they would only consider expansion in even numbers; rumors circulated that the conference coveted UNO. Within ten days of Blais's hiring, speculation was put to rest as the WCHA announced on June 23 that UNO (along with Bemidji State) would join the league for the 2010–11 season. The Mavericks once again finished in the middle of the conference in their final season in the CCHA, although they did finish with twenty wins for only the third time in school history, with a 20–16–6 record. The team struggled early in the season before finishing strong in Blais's first season with the team, finishing the regular season 10–3–1 over their last fourteen games before being stopped by Ferris State in the CCHA playoffs.
UNO joined the WCHA as a full-time member starting with the 2010–11 season. The Mavericks started the season on a positive note, as they stunned Minnesota with a two-game sweep at Mariucci Arena in their first ever conference battle. UNO continued its hot start through the beginning of November by winning seven of their first eight games. The team was ranked #6 and #7 in the two major polls, their highest ranking since 2001. The Mavericks ended the regular season 3rd in the WCHA with a conference record of 17-9-2 and advanced to their first ever WCHA Tournament before being upset with a two-game sweep in the first round by 10th seeded Bemidji State. Despite the loss the Mavericks qualified for the for the 2011 NCAA Tournament ranked 14th in the National Pairwise rankings. UNO received a 3rd seed in the West Regional, located in St. Louis, Missouri and played 2nd seeded Michigan in the first round. The first period ended with UNO up 2-0 but the Wolverines rallied in the second period and both teams went scoreless in the third, sending the game to overtime. The Mavericks' season came to an end 2:35 into overtime after a shot off a faceoff by and rebound goal by Wolverine sophomore, Kevin Lynch, followed by a ten minute review to confirm the goal.
The following table lists the team record for each UNO hockey season:
Records current as of the end of the 2009–10 season.
Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason Mike Kemp (Independent) (1997–1999) 1997–1998 Mike Kemp 12-18-3 – – – 1998–1999 Mike Kemp 11-24-0 – – – Mike Kemp: 23–42–3 – Mike Kemp (CCHA) (1999–2010) 1999-2000 Mike Kemp 16-19-7 10-12-6 7th Lost in CCHA Championship 2000-2001 Mike Kemp 24-15-3 15-10-3 4th Lost in CCHA Semifinal 2001-2002 Mike Kemp 21-16-4 13-11-4 5th Lost in CCHA 1st Round 2002-2003 Mike Kemp 13-22-5 9-17-2 10th Lost in CCHA 1st Round 2003-2004 Mike Kemp 8-26-5 5-19-4 12th Lost in CCHA 1st Round 2004-2005 Mike Kemp 19-16-4 13-11-4 4th Lost in CCHA Quarterfinal 2005-2006 Mike Kemp 20-12-6 12-10-6 5th Lost in NCAA First Round 2006-2007 Mike Kemp 18-16-8 13-11-4 5th Lost in CCHA 2nd Round 2007-2008 Mike Kemp 17-19-4 11-13-4 8th Lost in CCHA 2nd Round 2008-2009 Mike Kemp 15-17-8 8-13-7-3 8th Lost in CCHA 2nd Round Mike Kemp: 171–178–54 109–127–44–3 Dean Blais (CCHA) (2009–2010) 2009-2010 Dean Blais 20-16-6 13-12-3-2 5th Lost in CCHA 1st Round Dean Blais: 20–16–6 13–12–3–2 Dean Blais (WCHA) (2010–present) 2010-2011 Dean Blais 21-16-2 17-9-2 3rd Lost in NCAA First Round Dean Blais: 21-16-2 17-9-2 Total: 235–255–65 (.481)
National Champion Conference Regular Season Champion Conference Tournament Champion
Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion Conference Division Champion
UNO played at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in its first six years of existence (1997 through 2003). The school capped season ticket sales at just below 6,400 tickets within two weeks after the program's inception was announced in May 1996. The Mavericks eventually sold out the 8,314-seat arena 131 consecutive times between October 1997 and March 2003. Following the 2002–03 season, the team moved to the Qwest Center Omaha; in many years, the Mavericks play one series in February at the Civic Auditorium when the Qwest Center hosts the Nebraska State High School Wrestling tournament.
Since 2003–04 season, the Mavericks have played at the newly constructed 14,700-seat CenturyLink Center Omaha. The sleek, new modern arena immediately received rave reviews; one reporter dubbed the arena "the Omaha Civic Auditorium on steroids." Still, many fans were turned off by the new arena, complaining that the giant structure was not as intimate as the Civic Auditorium. Although UNO's hockey administration initially expected attendance to average about 11,000 fans, an average of only 8,184 fans filled the arena in the poor 2003–04 season. This number was still the fourth highest figure in the NCAA, but was actually down slightly from the average at the much smaller Civic Auditorium. Still, the modern arena became an important recruiting tool for the Maverick coaching staff. Some of the team's best recruiting classes came in the years immediately following the move to the new arena, eventually helping the team to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2006. In the years following the first season at the CenturyLink Center, attendance averaged between 5,500 and 6,900 per game, finishing in the top eleven in the NCAA each year, but never meeting initial attendance expectations.
The school currently has a lease at the CenturyLink Center through the 2012–13 season. Athletic Director Trev Alberts has been drumming up support for a new arena because of the unfavorable lease at the CenturyLink Center; the school lost $150,000 as part of the deal in 2008–09 after turning a $1,000,000 profit in its last year at the Civic Auditorium in 2002–03. Rumors have circulated that UNO plans to build an on-campus arena that seats between 7,000 and 8,000 fans. At the WCHA preseason media day in October 2010, coach Dean Blais told media members that the school hoped to break ground on an on-campus arena at some point in 2011.
The Mavericks were coached by Mike Kemp between the program's inception in 1997 and 2009. Prior to the 1997 season, Kemp served as an assistant coach for 14 years at Wisconsin. In his only previous head coaching stint, Kemp was the coach of the UNO club hockey team during its brief existence in 1975 and 1976. Kemp is credited with helping build the nascent program over his tenure, and eventually led the team to its only NCAA Tournament appearance to date in 2006. After the 2004–05 season, he was named CCHA Coach of the Year. He was named Associate Athletic Director for UNO following the 2009 season.
The Mavericks are currently coached by Dean Blais. Blais was hired in June 2009 to replace Mike Kemp on the UNO bench. Blais is best known as the former head coach at University of North Dakota from 1994 through 2004, where he won two national titles (1997 and 2000). Blais also served as assistant coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2004 to 2007, and later as head coach and GM of the Fargo Force (USHL) from 2007 to 2009. During his first season at UNO, Blais also served as head coach of the gold medal winning USA team at the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
All-time coaching records
As of the completion of 2009–10 season
Tenure Coach Years Record Pct. 2009–present Dean Blais 2 41–32–8 .556 1997–2009 Mike Kemp 12 194–223–57 .464 Totals 2 coaches 14 seasons 235–255–65 .482
As of August 5, 2011.
Goaltenders # State Player Catches Year Hometown Previous Team 30 John Faulkner L Junior (RS) Sarnia, Ontario Sarnia (WOJHL) 31 Ryan Massa L Freshman Littleton, Colorado Fargo (USHL) 35 Fredrik Bergman L Junior (RS) Vienna, Virginia Owatonna (NAHL) Defensemen # State Player Shoots Year Hometown Previous Team 2 Matt Smith L Senior Carmel, Indiana Indiana (USHL) 3 Andrei Sustr R Sophomore Plzen, Czech Republic Youngstown (USHL) 4 Tony Turgeon L Sophomore Grand Forks, North Dakota Waterloo (USHL) 5 Kyle Ensign L Senior New Richmond, Wisconsin Tri-City (USHL) 7 Michael Young L Sophomore Calgary, Alberta Flin Flon (SJHL) 8 Jaycob Megna L Freshman Northbrook, Illinois Muskegon (USHL) 24 Bryce Aneloski R Junior Pekin, Illinois Cedar Rapids (USHL) 28 Brian O'Rourke L Freshman St. Louis, Missouri Green Bay (USHL) Forwards # State Player Shoots Year Hometown Previous Team 9 James Polk L Senior New York, New York Penticton (BCHL) 10 Alex Simonson R Sophomore Grand Forks, North Dakota Chicago (USHL) 11 Jayson Megna R Freshman Northbrook, Illinois Cedar Rapids (USHL) 12 Brock Montpetit R Sophomore Somerset, Wisconsin Waterloo (USHL) 13 Zahn Raubenheimer R Sophomore Smoky Lake, Alberta Grand Prairie AJHL) 14 Dominic Zombo L Freshman Ballwin, Missouri Sioux Falls (USHL) 15 Jordan Willert L Senior Minot, North Dakota Tri-City (USHL) 16 Josh Archibald R Freshman Brainerd, Minnesota Brainerd (USHS-MN) 17 Terry Broadhurst L Junior Orland Park, Illinois Sioux Falls (USHL) 19 Ryan Walters L Sophomore Rosemount, Minnesota Des Moines (USHL) 21 Matt White L Sophomore Whittier, California Omaha (USHL) 22 Andrew Schmit R Freshman Grafton, Wisconsin Lincoln (USHL) 23 Johnnie Searfoss L Sophomore Colleyville, Texas Fargo (USHL) 25 Brent Gwidt L Junior Minocqua, Wisconsin Indiana (USHL) 26 Alex Hudson R Senior Corona, California Tri-City (USHL)
The following players have been named First or Second Team All-Americas by the American Hockey Coaches Association:
- Jeff Hoggan – 2002 Second Team
- Scott Parse – 2006 First Team and 2007 Second Team
- Greg Zanon – 2001 and 2002 Second Team
The following Maverick players won a major conference award:
- Jason Cupp – 2000–01 Ilitch Humanitarian Award
- Jerad Kaufmann – 2008–09 Ilitch Humanitarian Award
- Scott Parse – 2005–06 CCHA Player of the Year
- Bill Thomas – 2004–05 CCHA Rookie of the Year
- Greg Zanon – 2000–01 CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman
Nebraska–Omaha has had a number of alumni advance to professional hockey, including a number of past and present NHL players. In 2004, Dan Ellis became the first former Maverick to play in the NHL when he suited up as goalie and made 25 saves for the Dallas Stars in a 4–3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The following is a list of former Maverick players that have appeared in the NHL as of the 2009–10 season:
NHL team unless otherwise noted
- Dan Ellis – Nashville Predators
- Jeff Hoggan – St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes
- Chris Holt – New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues
- Bryce Lampman – New York Rangers, Khabarovsk Amur (KHL)
- Scott Parse – Los Angeles Kings
- Bill Thomas – Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, HC Lugano (Swiss-A)
- Greg Zanon – Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild
The three former Maverick AHCA All-Americans – Hoggan (2002 second team), Parse (2006 first team and 2007 second team), and Zanon (2001 and 2002 second teams) – have all gone on to play in the NHL. As of 2010, all are still active in the league.
The following are the UNO school records. Statistics are accurate as of the conclusion of the 2009–10 season. Italics indicates player is still active.
- Most goals in a career: Scott Parse, 79 (2003–07)
- Most assists in a career: Scott Parse, 118
- Most points in a career: Scott Parse, 197
- Most power-play goals in a career: Brandon Scero, 26 (2004–08)
- Most penalty minutes in a career: Jeff Hoggan, 294 (1998–02)
- Most points in a career, defenseman: Eddie Del Grosso, 109 (2006–10)
- Most goals in a career, defenseman: Greg Zanon, 30 (1999–03)
- Most assists in a career, defenseman: Eddie Del Grosso, 85
- Most wins in a career: Dan Ellis, 53 (2000–03)
- Most shutouts in a career: Dan Ellis, 7
- Highest save percentage in a career: Dan Ellis, .910
- Best goals against average in a career: John Faulkner, 2.60 (2009–10)
- Most goals in a season: Bill Thomas, 27 (2005–06)
- Most assists in a season: Scott Parse, 41. (2005–06)
- Most points in a season: Scott Parse, 61 (2005–06)
- Most power-play goals in a season: Mick Lawrence, 15 (2007–08)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Cody Blanshan, 103 (2002–03)
- Most wins in a season: Dan Ellis, 21 (2000–01)
- Highest save percentage in a season: Dan Ellis, .919 (2001–02)
- Best goals against average in a season: Jerad Kaufmann, 2.31 (2008–09)
- Most wins in a season: 24 (2000–01)
- Fewest wins in a season: 8 (2003–04)
- Most goals in a season: 153 (2006–07)
- Fewest goals allowed in a season: 102 (2001–02)
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