The United States Hockey League announced that the USHL Board of Directors has approved the transfer of ownership for the Lincoln Stars.
The Stars have been acquired by 823 Ventures, LLC which is owned by Ryan Schiff and Kirsten Schiff of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The current business staff and hockey operations staff for the Stars will remain in place.
“We are excited to have someone of Ryan’s experience, focus, and intelligence join the USHL family,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. “His commitment to the League, the Lincoln Stars, and the city of Lincoln, Nebraska promises to not only maintain but enhance the stature of one of the USHL’s flagship teams and community.”
Ryan Schiff serves as the Global Head of Foreign Exchange for ED&F Man Capital Markets, a global financial brokerage and financial services company. He has held similar positions with other financial institutions since 1999. Schiff played collegiate hockey at Miami University where he graduated with degrees in Business Administration and Marketing in 1989. Following a short career playing professionally in both the United States and Europe, he hung up the skates to begin his career as a foreign currency trader. Ryan and his wife, Kirsten, have three children.
“I'm very excited to be joining the Lincoln Stars organization and becoming actively involved in the team and the Lincoln community,” said Schiff. “Over the past few years, I've explored several leagues and teams throughout the U.S. and Canada, and quickly realized the important role that the USHL plays as a proven and growing contributor to the collegiate and professional ranks. However, the main reason I chose to pursue this opportunity was the Stars' loyal fan base that has become so well-known throughout the hockey community. They are such an asset to the League and the Lincoln sports landscape, and my goal is to maximize the entertainment value for them, while developing America's best young hockey talent on the ice and in the community.”
First joining the USHL in 1996, the Lincoln Stars have had one of the longest-tenured ownerships in League history led by Irv Dana and Anne Dana, co-founders of the organization, along with Lincoln natives Craig and Jane Pohlman, and Sean and Laura Reavis of Omaha. Other partners included Jud Martin, Bill Dana, Jim Pflug, and Bob Bleicher. Other co-founders of the Stars, Tom and Barb Tegt, and Kent and the late Nancy Reckewey, sold their respective interests in 2004.
“While the future of the Stars shines bright, we need to take a moment to recognize Irv Dana and an investor group that, together with a great community and fan base, turned a barn on the outskirts of the old Nebraska State Fairgrounds into one of the most exciting destinations in junior hockey,” said Prince. “I should point out that Irv also served quietly and effectively on the League’s Executive Committee for the entire time of my tenure at the USHL, and he has become both a trusted friend and advisor."
The Stars’ history in the USHL has been marked with success, including a Clark Cup championship during the team’s inaugural season of 1996-97. They would again win the playoff title in 2003 to go along with three regular season Anderson Cup titles in 1999-2000, 2000-01, and 2002-03. Numerous players have gone on to play in the NHL after their time with the Lincoln Stars, including St. Louis Blues captain David Backes, Matt Bartkowski of the Boston Bruins, Jared Boll of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Erik Condra of the Ottawa Senators, and Brandon Bollig of the Chicago Blackhawks, the first Stars alum to win the Stanley Cup in the NHL. Additionally, dozens of Stars have gone to play hockey at the NCAA Division I level.
Success off the ice has also defined the 18 seasons in the USHL for the Stars. They organization has led the League in attendance for each of the previous seven seasons and is again among the leaders in 2013-14. The organization and their fans have made the team’s home rink, “The Ice Box”, one of the most exciting game night atmospheres in all of hockey. Through the team’s original 35-year agreement with the Nebraska State Fair that was transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008, their lease at The Ice Box continues to at least 2031.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)