University of Maine right-winger Ryan Lomberg, who was suspended from the team and other UMaine activities in May stemming from an assault charge, may be leaving the school.
Rich McKenna, assistant general manager of the Muskegon (Michigan) Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, said Friday they have traded Lomberg’s rights to fellow USHL team the Lincoln (Nebraska) Stars.
Lomberg, a native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, played for Muskegon two years ago before coming to Maine, where he played for the past two seasons. Because he won’t turn 20 years old until Dec. 12, he has one year of eligibility left in junior hockey.
The trade indicates Lomberg is contemplating leaving the UMaine program or could be permanently removed from the team, so he is looking for a place to play next season.
If he transfers to another Division I team, he would need to sit out one year, as mandated by NCAA transfer rules. After one year in the USHL, which is a Junior-A amateur league, he could still play college hockey.
“People involved with his situation have said it is a possibility that he will return to the league,” McKenna explained. “You are allowed to have four over-age players and four imports [non-U.S. born players], so he would take up one spot in each category. He’s a very good player, but we have also committed to other players and we didn’t feel it was worth it to bring him back.
“But we also wanted him to still have the opportunity to play in the league again, [so we traded his rights],” added McKenna, who added Muskegon also has a new coaching staff.
If Lomberg plays for the Stars, the Lumberjacks would receive an 11th-round pick in the 2015 draft for him.
Lomberg was suspended as the result of an incident that occurred April 26.
He was charged with one count of assault and one count of disorderly conduct after he allegedly knocked a 21-year-old man to the floor and kicked him in the face and the midsection until he was pulled off.
Orono Chief of Police Josh Ewing said the alleged altercation stemmed from a previous dispute over a dog that belonged to a mutual acquaintance.
The man suffered a broken nose and a concussion.
Lomberg pleaded not guilty to the charges last month at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Maine head coach Red Gendron said he had no comment on the recent developments.
Lomberg could not be reached for comment.
Lomberg had 11 goals and seven assists in 34 games for the Black Bears this past season. His 11 goals were third-highest on the team; eight of those came in Hockey East games that tied him for second on the team. His 40 penalty minutes tied him for the team lead with Jake Rutt.
He had seven goals and seven assists during his 32 games as a freshman.
Despite being suspended from the team, Lomberg can attend classes until the school completes a hearing, but that hearing is not expected to be held until after the criminal case is resolved.