Josh Mervis has been appointed by the USHL to oversee the Omaha Lancers after the franchise was thrust into turmoil last week.
Mervis and USHL commissioner Bill Robertson virtually met with the Lancer players this weekend to introduce Gary Graham as the new interim head coach of the team after Chadd Cassidy was fired last week by team president David DeLuca. As was previously reported, DeLuca subsequently had an altercation with another member of the coaching staff which led to almost the entire hockey operations department resigning in protest to Cassidy’s firing and the treatment of the staff and players by the organization.
According to multiple sources, Cassidy was at an impasse with the team over budget cuts which were affecting the team’s ability to properly support the players.
In addition, the players boycotted practice last week and last weekend’s games, which prompted the league to postpone the games scheduled for this past weekend.
As a result of the meeting on Sunday, the USHL said that the team will resume hockey operations today (Monday) and will begin game action next weekend. Robertson is traveling to Omaha today to meet with the players and staff.
DeLuca was placed on administrative leave. The league is also running an independent investigation into the team.
Mervis as the USHL-appointed selection to run the hockey operations has come with some controversy. Mervis is a non-active minority partner in the team, according to the USHL, and serves as the chair of the league’s competition committee.
However, Mervis also reportedly owns the Indy Fuel AAA organization, which is where Graham was coaching prior to be appointed interim head coach.
“Multiple people around the organization are frustrated by that decision,” reported Jordan McAlpine, who is the sports editor at The Gateway in Omaha. “Mervis owns the Indy Fuel AAA program and his son played for Gary Graham, who the Lancers named their interim head coach. A source tells me the whole situation is a ‘facade’ and that the investigation has intensified (Sunday).”
McAlpine also reported that there is a local group interested in buying the team.