Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roster Changes for 2015-16 UNO Mavs

UNO has made significant changes to the roster in anticipation of the 2015-16 season.

Dean Blais announced the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. Five of the seven student-athletes and an additional walk-on will join four other incoming freshmen -- Ryan Galt, Mason Morelli, Fredrik Olofsson, and Steven Spinner -- on the Mavericks' roster this season.

Here's the profiles of the recruits:

Riley Alferd
Riley Alferd (Forward)
From Penticton of the BCHL. Height: 5-10; weight 170.
Hometown: Vancouver, Washington. Birthdate: 03/26/95
Alferd tied for second in scoring for Penticton of the BCHL in 2014-15 with 18 goals and 28 assists for 46 points in 58 games. He also had 42 penalty minutes. In 115 career games with Penticton, he had 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points and 80 penalty minutes while also getting 10 goals, four assists, and 14 penalty minutes in 33 playoff games. He will wear #9 for the Mavs.

Alex Blankenburg
Alex Blankenburg (Goaltender)
From Keystone of the NAHL. Height: 5-9; weight 167
Hometown: Washington, Michigan. Birthday: 09/05/94
One of the top goaltenders in the NAHL, Blankenburg played two seasons with Port Huron (Michigan) Fighting Falcons and the most recent season with the Keystone (Pennsylvania) Ice Miners. (The ownership of the team was the same; the team moved to Pennsylvania after the 2013-14 season.) Appearing in 35 games in the 2014-15 season, he had a record of 17-14, with three shootout losses. He had a 2.18 goals-against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage. In 86 career appearances in the NAHL, he had a 44-27-4-5 record, with a 2.23 GAA and a .929 save percentage (including three shutouts). Blankenburg will walk on to the team. Blankenburg will wear #1 for the Mavs.

Lukas Buchta
Lukas Buchta (Defense)
From Sioux Falls of the USHL. Height: 6-2; weight 180
Hometown: Frystak, Czech Republic. Birthdate: 12/5/94
Buchta finished second in scoring among defenseman for Sioux Falls of the USHL in 2014-15 with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 59 games. He also had 38 penalty minutes. He scored three game-winning goals to tie for third on the team. In 12 playoff games, he had two assists and eight penalty minutes. His previous USHL stint included 19 games with Omaha, where he had one assist and 10 penalty minutes. He will wear #6 for the Mavs.

Zach Court (Forward)
From the USHL. Height: 5-9; weight 169
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba. Birthdate: 01/04/97
Court is playing his first season in the USHL with Cedar Rapids and has picked up two goals and five assists and 10 penalty minutes in 16 games. He is a 2016-17 UNO commit.

Ryan Galt
Ryan Galt (Forward)
From the USHL. Height: 6-10; weight 168
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska. Birthdate: 08/15/95
Galt isn't the first Omaha native to commit to the Mavs, but he would be one of the few to follow through. Last season, playing for Bloomington in the USHL, he was second in team scoring with five goals and eight assists in 21 games. Before that, he played for two seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers with the USHL, recording 27 goals and 33 assists in 116 games. He will wear #21 for the Mavs.

Ryan Jones (Defense)
From Lincoln of the USHL. Height: 6-2; weight 184
Hometown: Crown Point, Indiana. Birthdate: 05/26/96
Jones made his USHL debut in 2014-15, playing in 60 games for the Lincoln Stars he scored four goals and added nine assists for 13 points while also earning 69 penalty minutes. Two of his goals and seven of his points came on the power play. Jones also had one game-winning goal. Jones is a 2016-17 commit.

Jordan Klehr
Jordan Klehr (Defense)
From Shattuck St. Mary's (prep). Height: 5-11; weight 196
Hometown: Lino Lakes, Minnesota. Birthdate: 03/18/97
In 54 games for Shattuck St. Mary's Midget Prep team in 2014-15, Klehr scored five goals and had 43 assists for 48 points. He also had 18 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the team in assists and led all defensemen in points. At the midget level, he totaled 11 goals and 62 assists for 73 points and 34 minutes in 107 games. He will wear #22 for the Mavs.

Mason Morelli
Mason Morelli (Forward)
From the USHL. Height: 6-0; weight 194
Hometown: Minot, North Dakota. Birthdate: 02/01/96
Morelli is in his second season with the Fargo Force of the USHL. He scored five goals and five assists in 19 games in the 2014-15 season. In the previous season, he had six goals and nine assists in 57 games. Morelli will wear #11 for the Mavs. It's unknown if he is related at all to #oldbull David Morelli (who wore #15 for the Mavs and hailed from British Columbia).

Kris Oldham (Goaltender)
From Omaha of the USHL. Height: 6-2; weight 203.
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska. Birthday: 06/25/97
Omaha Lancer fans are well acquainted with Oldham, who led the team in games played during the 2014-15 season, with a 21-6-4 record in 33 games, including one shutout. Oldham had a 2.49 goals-against average (GAA) with a .908 save percentage. He was in net for all three Lancers playoff losses, going 0-3 with a 2.73 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Oldham was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth round (153 overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He is a 2016-17 commit.

Fredrik Olofsson
Fredrik Olofsson (Forward)
From the USHL. Height: 6-2; weight 204
Hometown: Broomfield, Colorado. Birthdate: 05/27/96
Olofsson was one of the top scores for the Chicago Steel in the 2014-15 season, with 8 goals and 11 assists in 19 games. He split the previous season between Chicago and Green Bay. In 2013-14, he had 6 goals and 15 assists in 52 games (and 45 penalty minutes). Olofsson was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks (98th overall; fourth round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He will wear #28 for the Mavs.

Jalen Schulz
Jalen Schulz (Defense)
From Tri-City of the USHL. Height: 6-0; weight 175
Hometown: Cambridge, Minnesota. Birthdate: 04/28/95
Schulz completed his second season for the Tri-City Storm in 2014-15, scoring two goals and six assists for eight points in 56 games. He also recorded 111 penalty minutes. In addition, Schulz appeared in six playoff game, registering 10 penalty minutes. In 113 games, he had four goals and 13 assists for 17 points and 231 penalty minutes. He will wear #15 for the Mavs this year.

Evan Weninger
Evan Weninger (Goaltender)
From the SJHL. Height: 5-10; weight 170
Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Birthdate: 08/11/96
Weninger backstopped Kindersley of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in 2014-15, recording 27 wins, 10 losses, and 2 ties in 41 games. He had a 2.06 goals-against average (GAA) and a .942 save percentage, both career bests, including four shutouts. Weninger led the SJHL in save percentage, and ranked second in the league in GAA and third in wins. He had a record of 6-4 in the playoffs, with a 2.00 GAA and a .935 save percentage. Weninger represented Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge. He will wear #35 for the Mavs.

Coach Blais also announced that goaltender Brock Crossthwaite, forward Jono Davis, and defensemen Matt Youso and Brian Rideout have left the team.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Single Game UNO Hockey Tickets Go On Sale Tuesday, August 4

UPDATE: As of 9:42 p.m. 7/28/15: UNO has moved the date/time that single game tickets will go on sale to TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 at 10 a.m. (Reason for change was to ensure adequate staffing to meet anticipated demand.)

UPDATE: As of 10:30 a.m. 7/29/15, new information available. See ** below.

UPDATE: As of 3:11 p.m. 7/29/15, we have (unconfirmed) single game ticket prices. See *** below.

UPDATE: As of 10:06 a.m. 7/30/15: UNO has sent out their news release about single game season tickets. It's posted at the bottom. Only significant change is single game ticket prices are now confirmed ($27 lower bowl/$20 upper bowl). See ****

The club seats are sold out. So are the regular season ticket seats. So if you don't have either one of these -- or are not currently enrolled as a student at UNO -- your best bet to see a UNO home hockey game at Baxter Arena is to snatch up one of the 500 single game tickets available for each matchup. (Or get to know a season ticket holder who doesn't have an every-home-game-attendance-streak like me and Jon.)

Single game UNO Hockey tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Central time on Monday, Aug. 3. Tuesday, Aug. 4. They will be available (with extra fees) on Ticketmaster:


Not only is this the final home series of the regular season, but it's the first time the "Fighting No-Names" (who knows what they'll be called by February) will make their appearance at UNO's new arena.

I spoke with Brian in the UNO ticket office today, and he said they will be issuing a news release later this week outlining how tickets will be sold for that series. From what he said, it sounds like they will NOT be sold online, but only in person at the UNO ticket office (in Sapp Fieldhouse) and by phone (most likely at 402-554-MAVS).

If seeing this series (or one of the games) is on your "must-do" list, watch for an update on how ticket sales will be handled for these games/this series. And if you can't go, remember that tickets were being listed for as much as $149 for this series.... if they're going for that much, shouldn't going to the game be higher on your priority list??

And NO, I don't yet know what the ticket prices will be yet. Brian in the ticket office said that would be on the news release too ... which you can expect me to blog about in the next 72 hours (as soon as I see it, you'll see it!).

** Added 7/29/15:

NoDak series tickets will NOT be sold online (Ticketmaster is currently showing that they will go on sale 8/4 at 10 a.m. like the rest of the games but this is an ERROR). They will only be sold in person and over the phone (402-554-MAVS).

They moved the date to Tuesday 8/4 to ensure adequate staffing in the office and for the phones. Ticket sales will begin at 10 a.m. and the box office is open until 5 p.m. that day. School is NOT in session; however, parking enforcement will be in effect (although he said he'd talk to UNO Parking Enforcement officials to see if they can help with parking and traffic issues). That information will be in the news release, if addressed.

There are four ways to purchase tickets next Tuesday:
1. Online at the Ticketmaster link (EXCEPT for NoDak series):
* This will incur Ticketmaster fees

2. Through your MyMavs account (you will need your account number/login & PIN) -- these will incur a ticket delivery charge if you choose mail or email delivery, but not the FULL Ticketmaster charges you would normally have by buying "retail" Ticketmaster)

3. By phone by calling 402-554-MAVS (they are bringing in extra staff to answer the phones, but you may still have difficulty getting through). Tickets purchased by phone will not have Ticketmaster fees OR delivery fees if you choose to have the tickets emailed to you (as a PDF) or at Will Call. I'm not sure if they will charge extra to mail the tickets to you. (You could probably also pick them up at the Sapp Fieldhouse box office at a later time for free too, I would guess.) They will set up a MYMAVS account for you on the phone if you don't have one already. (If you do, you can give them your existing account number and they will put the tickets in the account for you to manage online.)

4. In person at the Sapp Fieldhouse box office from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday, or anytime during normal ticket office business hours from Wednesday forward (until sold out). Tickets purchased in person will NOT have any Ticketmaster or delivery fees.

We're still anticipating a news release in the next 24-48 hours to provide information about single game ticket prices.

*** Added 3:10 p.m. 7/29/15:
Per #Cdewispelare on Twitter: Tickets (with fees) are $17.00 ($20.70) and $25.00 ($29.85) for upper and lower bowl respectively.

Note: Ticketmaster site has disclaimer: "Prices subject to change."
UPDATE: Official release shows ticket prices as $27 lower bowl/$20 upper bowl.

**** Added 10:06 a.m. 7/30/15:
Here is the UNO news release:

OMAHA, Neb. – Omaha Athletics announced on Thursday that single game tickets for the 2015-16 hockey season will go on sale on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 10 a.m.

Tickets for all games will be $27 for the lower bowl and $20 for the upper bowl.  Tickets may be purchased at the Sapp Fieldhouse ticket office, by phone at (402) 554-MAVS, through and through  Tickets for the series vs. North Dakota on Feb. 26-27 will be available only at the Sapp Fieldhouse and by phone.

Fans coming to the UNO campus to purchase tickets may park in the lower level of the east parking garage (Lot T) free of charge.

The upcoming season will be the Mavericks’ inaugural season in Baxter Arena, the 7,500-seat venue nearing completion at the intersection of 67th and Center Streets in mid-town Omaha.

The Mavericks will play their first game in their on-campus home on Friday, Oct. 23 when they host Air Force in the first of two games that weekend.  Both games begin at 7:07 p.m.

Other home series include Minnesota Duluth (Nov. 6-7), Ohio State (Nov. 27-28), Arizona State (Dec. 19-20), Denver (Jan. 8-9), Miami (Jan. 22-23), Western Michigan (Feb. 12-13) and St. Cloud State (Feb. 19-20).  They’ll also play an exhibition game against Trinity Western of Langley, British Columbia on Jan. 2.

The Mavericks were 20-13-6 last season and advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time in school history.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

First National Bank becomes the "Official Bank of UNO"

This isn't an "epic" blog post by any means, but the announcement by First National Bank that they are now "The Official Bank of UNO" is good news. It's great to see their support of UNO Hockey (and the university as a whole).

I'm hoping they offer a Maverick branded debit card like they do for the Huskers and the Bluejays (you pay $3/month, but part of that is donated to support UNO *and* you get special discounts at area retailers). We'll have to see!