A sure sign that Lincoln is a real deal hockey town is when a guy like Derek Reynolds comes south from Saskatchewan and proclaims that playing here at the Ice Box in Lincoln compares to just about anywhere a junior could play in Canada. That is high praise indeed.
Derek says, "Who woulda thought that it'd turn into this. I came into this building and none of these seats were here and they were motioning cows out the door and I'm like, 'What am I doing here, we're going to play in here?'"
Little did Derek know, he'd lead the stars to a Clark Cup Championship in their first year of existence, "As far as being a hockey player, it's obviously not a hotbed and it turned out to be a life changing event for me you know."
Derek became a member of the Stars Hall of Fame and his success opened the door to Lincoln for other players from the great white north, "Now if you go back up to where I'm from in Saskatchewan, 15 years later and you tell a kid that's ambitious and wants to play college hockey or NHL hockey that he's got to go play in Lincoln and the USHL, he's excited, he's like. 'Wow!' because word gets around. Hockey's a small world and people know that Lincoln has a great building to play in and it's a great atmosphere and it's all because of the fans you know."
Jim Pflug has been the President of the Stars since the beginning 15 years ago, "I think the initial thought was it's a new sport, new to Lincoln, it's been popular in Omaha but could we replicate that in the backyard of Big Red. And it definitely exceeded everybody's expectation, including ours and it's just a tribute to the fans who took this team under their wing so to speak.
You just can't say enough about those Lincoln Stars fans. More than two million of them have passed through the Ice Box turnstiles in just over 15 years. And those fans have helped to make annual jersey auctions and assorted fund raising efforts an overwhelming success. So successful in fact that in just over 15 years, the Stars have raised more than a half a million dollars for charity.