RALSTON, NE - It’s been a long time coming for Lancers forward, Austen Long, as he announced his commitment to American International College (AIC).
“I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life,” Austen Long said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about AIC’s program and I hope I can help make an impact there. It’s been a crazy ride getting to this point and at times I thought I couldn’t do it but so many people were behind me helping.”
In his USHL career, Long appeared in 170 games from 2014 to 2019. He started his USHL journey while still attending high school in Blaine with the Tri-City Storm appearing in 2 games and recording 1 goal. In the 2015-16 season, Long spent 13 games with the Chicago Steel earning 8 points in those games and then returning back to Tri-City for 28 games. The exchange between Tri-City and Chicago continued as Austen went back to Chicago for the 2016-17 season playing in 39 games and going on to hoist up the Clark Cup as a Champion. The following season, Long was traded to the Lincoln Stars where he played in 39 games. After the 2017-18 season, the forward was acquired by Head Coach David Wilkie and the Omaha Lancers. Long played in 37 games last year for the Lancers and recorded 7 points on the season.
“Austen has buckled down, got his academics in order and did a great job as a teammate and mentor during his time with us,” Head Coach and General Manager David Wilkie said. “It has not been easy for him [Long], but he has just done the work and it is so great to see him get an opportunity in a Division 1 school at AIC.”
Long has spent this season working in the classroom and alongside the team this year on the ice.
“Coach Wilkie made me a promise that he was going to help me get to school as long as I did my part and he stuck to it working day in and day out keeping me on track,” Long said.
Long will close the USHL chapter of his life with a Clark Cup Championship, 48 points, 170 games played, and will be remembered as one of the most fun players to watch in the league.
“We are all unbelievably happy and proud of him [Long] earning this spot for himself and making the most of a second chance at things,” Wilkie said. “He will do great.”
"I want to thank all of the coaching staff as well, Coach Nies and Coach St. Clair," Long said "Coach Nies played a big roll on the school side helping me get some things done that we thought wasn’t going to be possible. Also, Colten St. Clair, who I just met this year has opened my eyes to a new mindset. Kirk Luedeke was another guy who was on my side this whole time always offering help and making sure I was getting things done and letting me know that if I needed help he was there to bang out a project with me or review something. My billets I live with this year Tom and Peggy Anderson, and my billets I lived with when I played Triple-A hockey here Debbie and Doug Finnicum, are honestly amazing people and I am so grateful to have been apart of their lives. They took time out of their busy schedules to help me with my school work, and make sure I was going to go to school. They worked non-stop helping me with assignments and projects and I owe those people a lot of credit. Lastly, I need to thank my parents and my little brother for giving me inspiration. My mom, who is no longer here with us, but I know she somewhere smiling away because this is something she really wanted for me. I had long chats with my dad and brother talking about how important going to school is. Also, if I just needed to chat about something they were there to pick me up and keep me going truly inspiring me to do this. There many more people I have to thank for being on my side be seriously I couldn’t have done it without these people. I’m ready to take on school and I am so excited and happy to be apart of such a great program. Go Yellow Jackets!!”
Long, a USHL veteran and fan-favorite in Omaha will be joining the Yellow Jackets this Spring Semester.