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Hockey Operations Staff

DAVID WILKIE- HEAD COACH & GENERAL MANAGER

The first former Lancer player to take over behind the bench, Head Coach and General Manager David Wilkie is in his third season with the Lancers. During the 2017-18 Season, Wilkie brought the Lancers to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time in 3 seasons and ended the year with a record of 39-16-2-3. 

Wilkie joins the Lancers after leading the Omaha AAA Hockey Club as the Director of Hockey Operations, U18 Head Coach and U16 Head Coach.  In seven seasons at Omaha AAA, he compiled an overall record of 570-192-32 as the program became a national powerhouse under his leadership.  In the last seven seasons, 92 players have advanced to the Junior A Tier 1 or Tier 2 ranks, 44 players received NCAA Division 1 commitments, and four players were selected in the NHL Draft.  Wilkie’s teams won a total of 34 major championships in 12 years of coaching in Omaha including four Central District championships, ten Midwest District championships and medaled six times at the USA Hockey National tournament.

During the 2007-08 season, Wilkie served as an Assistant Coach for the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The bench boss was also the second youngest Head Coach in ECHL history when he was tabbed to lead the Augusta Lynx in November of 2002.

Before stepping behind the bench Wilkie spent eight seasons playing professional hockey. A first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens (20th Overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft, Wilkie played 167 games in the NHL with the Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers. During his career, the defenseman was named an AHL All-Star, and two-time IHL All-Star.

Wilkie has resided in Omaha for the last 12 years. He and his wife, Carrie Anne, have seven children.

DAVID NIES- ASSOCIATE COACH & ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

Nies arrives in Omaha after serving as the Assistant coach for the Amarillo Bulls of the North American hockey league. Prior to Amarillo, he served as the Video Coordinator and Director of Analytics for the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team (NCAA Div. I/Hockey East). There, he executed on all elements of video and analytics for the team.

Previous coaching stints for Nies included a year at Curry College (NCAA Div. III/ECAC Northeast) as well as Ohio University (ACHA Div. I) in 2014-15. Additionally, Nies held the role of volunteer assistant coach at the University of Southern Maine, his alma mater, during the 2013-14 academic year.

Nies graduated from Southern Maine, where he was a team captain his junior and senior season. Nies was also an ECAC All-Academic Team as a member of the men's ice hockey team in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology; he also minored in Coaching and History. Nies earned his master's degree in Sports Sciences with a focus in Coaching Education from Ohio University in 2015.

COLTEN ST. CLAIR - ASSISTANT COACH

St. Clair joins the Lancers with USHL, International and NCAA experience. The Gilbert, AZ native played for the Fargo Force for three seasons. During his time in Fargo, the Force appeared in two Clark Cup finals. St. Clair also served as a captain during his final year with the team. In addition to his time in the USHL, St. Clair was selected to wear the “C” for Team USA in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. In 2010, St. Clair was a member of the gold medal-winning Team USA squad at the World Junior A Challenge. In his final year of junior hockey, St. Clair served as the Captain for Team USA at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, helping lead the United States to their second consecutive gold medal.

Following his time in the USHL, St. Clair played his college career at the University of North Dakota and served as a captain on the 2016 National Championship team. He was a four-year letter winner and appeared in three Frozen Fours during those four years with UND.

After graduating from North Dakota in 2016, St. Clair shifted his focus to view the game from a different angle, coaching. He served as an assistant coach and skills instructor with the Phoenix Knights Junior A program for the 2016-17 season before taking over as the Head Coach and General Manager for the 2017-18 season. With St. Clair at the helm for the Knights, the team went from just five wins in 2016-17 to 28 wins in St. Clair’s first year, earning the 25-year-old the Coach of the Year honor for the Western States Hockey League, the youngest coach to win that honor in the history of the league. 

Following that season in Arizona, St. Clair accepted a position as the Volunteer Assistant Coach on the University of Maine men’s hockey staff for the 2018-19 season. 

Dustin Manko - Goalie Coach

The owner of KC Crease, Dustin Manko is entering his first USHL season with the Lancers. A native of Bedford, Texas, Dustin has lived in Kansas City for the past 5 years where he's worked alongside goalies ranging from first-timers though those playing professionally. 

During his time in Kansas City, Dustin has helped goalies to capture a Blue Note Cup, medal in the USA Hockey National Championships & Dixon Cup (NAPHL) finals, along with numerous tournament wins. In addition to his work with KC Crease, Dustin also serves as the Director of Goaltending Development with Carriage Club (KCYHA).

Dustin has been featured as a guest writer for The Coaches Site, along with being the inaugural winner of the NetWork Goaltending Coaching Symposium scholarship. He's also trained alongside Mitch Korn, David Alexander, Justin Goldman, GDI USA, Elite Goalies, & many others. 

When not at the rink, Dustin likes to spend time with his wife Heather, their daughter Isabel, and their two dogs, Titan & Jack.

Nick Hart - HEAD ATHLETIC TRAINER

Hart, Lincoln, NE native,  spent the past 3 seasons with the in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. He spent two years prior in upstate New York as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Elmira College (NCAA Division III). Prior to his time at Elmira College, Hart served as an Athletic Training Student Intern with the Omaha Lancers. 

Hart earned his bachelor's degree in athletic training from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and recently graduated with a master's of science degree in education from Elmira College.

Joe Pionk - Equipment Manager

Joe is in his second season in the USHL with the Lancers. Last year, Joe served as the Assistant Equipment Manager for the team. 

A Hermantown Minnesota native, Joe was previously at Hermantown High School (MSHSL) he worked as a student equipment manager for 2 years. With previous family ties to the team, Joe’s father Scott served as the Assistant Coach to the Lancers from 1992-1998. 

Joe comes from a family of five boys. He now resides in Omaha. 

KIRK LUEDEKE - ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

The native of Hudson, N.H. is entering his third season with the Omaha Lancers, having previously served as the team’s Director of Player Personnel and Director of Hockey Operations.

Prior to joining the Lancers, he was a U.S. area scout for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL from 2016-17. He also served as Northeast and Mid-Atlantic scout for the USHL's Chicago Steel from 2010-12. He was a scout and contributing editor for the Red Line Report, an independent hockey scouting service, for eight seasons.

Kirk spent more than 17 years with the New England Hockey Journal as that publication's NHL draft and prospects analyst. He also served as a prospects consultant for BostonBruins.com from 2011-16 while he was an active member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. 

He retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of active duty service and currently resides in Omaha.

CHRIS HEPP-ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL

Chris Hepp is in his second year on the Omaha Lancers Hockey Operations Staff.  Hepp served last year as a scout and is stepping into a new position as Associate Director of Player Personnel this season.  

Hepp played for the Lancers from 2004 – 2008 serving as the captain for three of those seasons.  He recorded 50 points (9 goals and 41 assists) during his tenure with the Lancers.  The team accumulated two Anderson Cups and one Clark Cup National Championship during that time.  

After the Lancers, Hepp spent three seasons with St. Cloud State University before finishing his career with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.

Hepp currently works for United Parcel Service in Cambridge, Minnesota where he resides with his wife, Kara, and their three children.

Casey Kudler - Video Coordinator/Assistant Coach

A native of Clearwater, FL Casey joins the Lancers after working with the Omaha AAA Hockey Club from 2013-17. Prior to moving to Omaha, the Florida State graduate helped the Atlanta Junior Knights of the EJHL and EmJHL to a USA Hockey Tier 3 National Championship during the 2011-12 season as Video Coordinator/Assistant Coach.

Casey spent the 2010-11 season with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, as a Hockey Operation intern.

In addition to coaching, Casey served as a scout for Kamloops Blazers (WHL) last season, Vancouver Giants (WHL) from 2015-16 and ISS Hockey from 2013-15.

Casey currently resides in Omaha.

GIBBIE DUVAL - STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH/NUTRITIONIST

The owner and Director of Athletic Performance at Omaha's Xplosive Edge Sports Performance, Gibbie Duval began with the Lancers in 2013-14 for his first season as Strength & Conditioning Coach and Nutritionist.

A native of Omaha, Duval is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is certified as a Level 1 Sports Performance Coach by the United States of America Weightlifting Association. Duval additionally serves as the PFT Program Director for Vatterott College in Omaha and is recognized by the Tudor Bompa Institute as a "Strength & Conditioning Expert".  Duval is also certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Fitness and Nutrition Specialist (FNS). 

During his tenure with "The Xplosive Edge", Duval has trained Olympic Gold Medalists, Stanley Cup Champions and Super Bowl Champions and currently resides in Omaha.

DR. JACK STARK - PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGIST

The founder and Director of Performance Enhancement Group, Dr. Jack Stark joined the Lancers in 2013-14 for his first season as Performance Psychologist.

Throughout his career, Dr. Stark has provided psychological and performance enhancement training to elite athletes at the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. During his tenure as Team Psychologist for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football program from 1989 to 2004, the Huskers won 88% of their games, captured three national championships and maintained the highest winning percentage in college football in the 1990's.

A former faculty member of Nebraska Medical Center's Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics as a tenured professor of medical psychology, Dr. Stark is currently in his 11th season as Team Psychologist for NASCAR's premier Hendrick Motorsports Team, the winners of each of the past five NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, and maintains a practice as a licensed clinical psychologist.