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Hockey Operations Staff

DAVID WILKIE- HEAD COACH & GENERAL MANAGER

The first former Lancer player to take over behind the bench for his 4th season as Head Coach and General Manager with the Lancers.  

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 commitment, 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

David Nies is entering his 3rd season behind the bench with the Lancers. 

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 in 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

Colten St. Clair is entering his 2nd season behind the Lancers bench. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Tate Maris - Goalie Coach

Tate Maris is entering his first season behind the Lancer’s bench.

Maris joins the Lancers after serving 3 seasons as the Goaltending Coach with the Colorado College Tigers of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The Colorado native played three high-school seasons, winning Rookie of the Year and All-Colorado honors in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. Maris would go on to play junior hockey for the Bozeman Ice Dogs before joining the University of North Dakota, in 2008. During his college career, the Sioux would go on to appear in one Frozen Four and win three Broadmoor Trophies and a McNaughton Cup. Maris was named to the WCHA All-Academic Team in each of his four years at UND. Upon graduating with a degree in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration, Maris returned to Colorado to play professionally in the CHL and ECHL, before retiring in 2016.

Maris has been coaching goaltenders for over 15 years. He was a main instructor at JPL Goaltending and the REA Hockey Academy before joining Mountain High Hockey in Denver, Colorado.

Jason Deskins - Assistant General Manager/Director of Scouting

Jason Deskins joins the Lancers after spending the past season with the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL as their Assistant General Manager and Head Scout. His responsibilities in Maryland included oversight of all scouting and evaluating efforts as well as running the teams’ entry draft and tendering process.

Jason grew up in Warren, MI, and played much of his youth and junior hockey in the state. A former Miami Redhawk and All-CCHA member, Jason was a four-year letter-winner, three year Captain, and was elected Miami’s offensive player of the year in 1998-1999 and 2000-2001. Jason played four years of professional hockey and concluded his playing career in 2006.

After retiring, Jason decided to pursue a career in hockey as a coach, scout. He was a regional scout for the Port Huron Fighting Falcons (NAHL) and the Sarnia Sting (OHL) prior to his time with Omaha (Michigan regional scout) and Maryland. He has coached at various levels of youth hockey in Michigan and is currently the head coach for the Honeybaked Midget Minor program in Detroit.

Kyle Kawamura - Assistant Coach

Kyle Kawamura is entering his 1st season behind the Lancers bench.
Kawamura, a Nashville, TN native is entering his first year of coaching after spending the past 4 years playing junior hockey. In his career, he spent time with the Lincoln Stars (USHL), Shreveport Mudbugs (NAHL), Powell River Kings (BCHL), and Omaha Lancers(USHL). Prior to playing junior hockey, Kawamura played for Coach Wilkie for the Omaha AAA Hockey Club.