By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
The Casper Roughnecks, a new franchise for the USPHL Premier Conference, will open play in the 2023-24 season, competing in the Northwest Division.
The addition of the Roughnecks brings the Northwest Division back to five teams, after the former Rock Springs Prospectors franchise was sold to the NCDC group that owns the new Rock Springs Grizzlies.
Roughnecks Co-Owner, GM and Head Coach Danny Randall, who was involved in that franchise sale, was able to work with a pair of silent partners to purchase the new franchise in Casper but stressed that this is less of an expansion franchise than it is a rebrand of the former Prospectors.
The Roughnecks name (also used by a USPHL Premier franchise in Bakersfield, Calif.) is an affectionately used slang term for oil rig workers and has also been used by multiple teams in other sports such as lacrosse and soccer.
“The state of Wyoming is a great place to invest, as there is no income or business tax, and I know that past franchises in Casper have performed well, especially the former Casper Coyotes,” said Randall, referring to a former Western States League franchise in Casper that operated between 2014 and 2019.
“The community was initially behind the junior team, before the Coyotes changed ownership and brand names. I’ve been weekly in contact with Casper’s youth hockey organization and other people in that community who can help in a successful relaunch of junior hockey in Casper.”
Randall is very excited about the facility the Roughnecks will call home – the Casper Ice Arena at the Casper Family Recreation Center.
“There is a gym, pool, sauna, and many other amenities that will all be open and accessible all the time to our Roughnecks players, in addition to the Casper Ice Arena,” added Randall.
Randall was able to form several close connections with his players in Rock Springs and said that he has commitments from 10 of the former Prospectors to return to his bench with the Roughnecks.
“Since we announced on Social Media [on May 5], I already have 12 contracts back, including 10 of my former Prospectors,” said Randall. “I had a lot of my players tell me after the end of the season [when the discussions related to the sale to the Grizzlies were going on], ‘When you land on your feet, give me a call and I’ll be here.’”
He also recently scouted at the April 28-29 USPHL NCDC Detroit Combine, from which he was able to recruit and sign two more players. Randall has also recruited recently at the JOG Showcase in Chicago, and has plans to be at the USPHL NCDC Chicago Combine this weekend (May 12-14), and he will also be at Global and CCM events over the spring and summer.
“I expect that by May 15, I should have 15 players under contract for the Roughnecks,” said Randall.
He is also working to put together a tryout camp in the Chicago area this summer, and that will be announced as it comes together.
“There was a lot I was waiting on, including the final approval from the USPHL. Now that we are a go, I plan on attacking this recruiting and putting the best team on the ice I can. One door closes, another always opens,” said Randall. “I embrace all of the challenges that come with starting over, and it’s not the first time I’ve had to do that.”
He also expects to create a fantastic community attraction with the Roughnecks for the city of Casper.
“I will take these first two to three years and create a good market. I had a good game day presentation with Rock Springs, and Casper Ice Arena appears to have even more amenities and it will be a good family experience,” said Randall. “I will put a good product on the ice. We’ll compete every day and I think we will surprise some teams this year. I will never be ashamed of what we put on the ice.”