skip navigation

Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings Announce Changes To Ownership Group, New Coach/GM

By Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings Staff, 04/15/22, 9:45AM EDT

Share

John Schwarz, owner of the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings junior hockey team based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., announced the addition of a new ownership group that has purchased a large but minority interest in the team. The new ownership group out of Florida is USA Hockey Development LLC and the managing partner is Lane Houk, a software technology and marketing entrepreneur who owns several other companies including Elite Junior Profiles, marketing agencies, Brand Equation, and Quantum Agency, and Signal Genesys, a marketing software technology company. 

NEW OWNERSHIP HAS ROOTS IN WISCONSIN

Lane Houk is going back to his Wisconsin roots with this new venture. Houk grew up in Waukesha, Wis., and graduated from Waukesha South High School in 1990. After high school, Houk spent a short time in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and then worked in intensive care at Waukesha Memorial Hospital before moving to Florida.

His father, Lee Houk, is a retired police officer and detective from Waukesha. Houk is married to his wife Shannon, an attorney, for 25 years and they have two sons, Luke Houk who plays college hockey for the University of Delaware Men's D1 team, and Shaun Houk, who just committed to play college hockey for the University of Utah Men's D1 team.  Lane Houk also is a former USA Hockey Level 2 certified official and Level 3 certified coach.

About the new venture, Houk remarked, "I am excited about this new partnership with John Schwarz and the Wisconsin Rapids community. The Riverkings junior hockey team is well-known in junior hockey circles and has a reputation of being a gold standard for how to operate a junior hockey team and partner with the local community. Coach Marty Quarters did an excellent job during his tenure with the Riverkings building relationships with local leaders and businesses while also coaching his team to seven straight winning seasons in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). We are looking forward to building on the amazing foundation laid by coach Quarters and Mr. Schwarz as we move into the next chapter of the Riverkings Hockey Club."

Houk brings over two decades of business development and marketing experience that will be leveraged to help the Riverkings continue to grow its visibility both locally and nationally. Houk and Schwarz share a similar philosophy when it comes to the business of junior hockey in the USPHL, "it's not about the wins and losses or even championships for us," remarked Houk, "it really is about helping 25-30 young men each season come to Wisconsin Rapids and grow as men in their character, in their compete level and as leaders - and doing it honestly and excellently in every way as business owners. We want to play an active role in helping to shape this next generation of men as leaders in their community, not only to become better hockey players but to send these young men into the next chapter of their lives more prepared for college and life success. Ultimately, we want to help these young men chase their dreams and become a part of a family they never knew possible. We know that the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings will continue to be the gold standard in junior hockey and a place where a few lucky young men get to play for a season or two. For me, this was less about business and more about impact and legacy."  

John Schwarz, based out of Chicago, Ill., is also an owner of the Chicago Cougars and Minnesota Moose junior hockey teams as well as Ultimate Tournaments, a destination hockey tournament company.

Paul Pechmann Hired As Head Coach/GM

The Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings Premier team is excited to announce the hiring of their new General Manager and Head Coach Paul Pechmann. Coach Pechmann has been developing young men for over 14 years in AA/AAA youth hockey, junior hockey, and most recently as the head coach for Elon University men's hockey.

He is also the co-founder of Elite Junior Profiles, a recruiting and marketing platform dedicated to helping student-athletes reach their goals of playing their sport in college. 

About Coach Paul Pechmann

Coach Pechmann is married to his wife Renee, an oncology nurse, and has four children, Noelle, Paul, Ciera, and Zachary, and one granddaughter, McKenna. Coach Paul played hockey at South Kent Prep School and then for the UConn Huskies in college. He has been coaching all levels of hockey for 15 years and has helped numerous players reach their goal of playing college hockey. Coach Paul brings a wealth of coaching and life experience with him to the Riverkings Hockey Club where he will lead the charge to continue the winning legacy of the Riverkings, but more importantly, the legacy of helping develop young men in preparation for college and life. Coach Paul has a huge network of coaches that he assembled throughout his years in youth, junior and college hockey that he will leverage to help incoming Riverkings hockey players working to earn a roster spot on a college hockey team. Coach Paul has deep experience in developing hockey players and assisting them in reaching the next level.  

"We are extremely blessed and excited to bring coach Paul Pechmann in as the new general manager and head coach for the Riverkings Hockey Club," remarked Lane Houk and John Schwarz, Managing Partners of the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.

"The Wisconsin Rapids community and future players are in for a real treat with coach Paul Pechmann," remarked Houk. "In 15 years of youth and junior hockey, I have never experienced a coach who has a bigger heart or more passion to care for and help young men develop and reach their dreams while also possessing the requisite experience and knowledge as a coach to really develop and impact these young men."