A week ago Wyatt Aamodt and Austen Long were helping the Chicago Steel raise the Clark Cup after winning the USHL title. Now both Aamodt and Long are a part of the Lincoln Stars, the team announced Friday.
Aamodt, a defenseman, and Long, a forward, were acquired as future considerations involved in Lincoln's trade with the Steel, sending affiliate Nick Abruzzese and a first-round draft pick in the 2017 Phase II draft to Chicago.
“Wyatt is a kid that is well-rounded,” Stars general manager Jon Hull said. “He's a guy when you talk about experience, and I know we are not a professional level, but experience is important everywhere. This is a kid that obviously won a (USHL) championship and a gold medal with the (USA) Junior A Challenge team.
“He's familiar with our coach staff playing with Chris (Hartsburg) at that tournament, so there are a lot of things about the trade that were very attractive to us. We feel he fits our scheme of things and is a centerpiece defenseman to build around. You look at guys like Cole and Christian (Krygier) coming back and guys like Eero (Tervainen) and Carter (Long), those guys need to continue to grow but he's a guy we feel like fits our mold. Certainly our D-core has been the highlight the last couple years, and we are excited for him coming in.”
Long also fits the mold of the Stars as a 5-foot-11, 178 pound forward entering his third season in the USHL. He had three assists in the USHL playoffs, including on the game-winning goal to clinch the Clark Cup. Long also posted four goals and 14 assists in the regular season.
“Austen's a player with a lot of grit,” Hull said. “Huge character guy, and if you look at him in his role in Chicago, he did a lot of heavy lifting for that team. He played a lot of minutes in tough situations, and I think his character was able to get him through it.
“We are excited a guy like that can be here and we expect a breakout year from him.”
Both Aamodt and Long will get to know their coaching staff, teammates and the city of Lincoln during the Stars' main camp June 7-11 at the John Breslow Ice Hockey Center.
It may sound like a rough situation at first, being a player that just won a title and on a new team a week later, but that is also part of the game.
“I think it's tough for the team trading the kid, as what we went through last year with some players,” Hull said. “The way the two have handled it, with a growth mindset, is absolutely incredible and I think they are both excited to be here and recognize this as an opportunity. They are grateful and appreciative of the year they had in Chicago, and they will always cherish that.
“We've had no hesitation, no convincing, and that speaks of the character of both,” Hull added. “They are guys we want in our dressing room.”
Rosters will be announced Tuesday, with camp beginning at the Breslow Center at 8 a.m. Wednesday.