CHICAGO, IL -- The United States Hockey League Thursday announced that Sioux Falls Stampede forward Ryan Siiro has been named the recipient of the 2012-13 USHL Curt Hammer Award.

The Curt Hammer Award has been presented annually since the 1988-89 season and recognizes the USHL player who distinguishes himself both on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, leadership, pride, and determination.  The award is given in memory of the late Curt Hammer, who served as President of the Des Moines Buccaneers for three seasons (1984-87) and also held the role of Secretary for the USHL.

Siiro recently completed his second season in the USHL and played all but one of the 64 regular season games for the Stampede.  He totaled 34 points (12g, 22a) while posting a plus-19 rating.  He recorded three multi-goal games, including his first USHL hat trick when he netted a goal in each period of the 6-3 win over the Tri-City Storm on March 23rd.  Siiro was also a key contributor in the postseason as he scored four points (2g, 2a) in 10 playoff games to help the Stampede reach the Western Conference Final series.

Although it was his first season in Sioux Falls, Siiro was selected as team captain and was invaluable leader on and off the ice for head coach Cary Eades who was in his first season behind the Stampede bench.  Siiro helped the Stampede to the top of the Western Conference with a team record 45 wins this season in which they also recorded a record 92 points in the standings.  It was a 51-point improvement from last season, representing the largest turnaround in USHL history from one season to the next.

“Our coaching staff regularly talks to the players about playing ‘the right way’, and without hesitation I can say that Ryan embodies that spirit,” said Eades.  “He has a passion for the game while playing an honest, tough, yet skilled brand of hockey without taking any shortcuts.  Above all, he is a great teammate that is very coachable, humble, and always leads by example, in addition to conducting himself as in a professional manner that possesses the values as a true humanitarian.”

Using his experience gained in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2011-12 season, Siiro became a “big brother” on a Stampede team that had just five regular returning players from last year and 20 different players throughout the season on the roster that were playing in the USHL for the first time.  He had excelled in the classroom during his time at Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota, graduating in the top 10% of his class and becoming a member of the National Honors Society, and used that strong academic background to help tutor high school players on the Stampede this season.

Siiro extended his leadership in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota community.  He assisted in the running of the area youth hockey camps to help teach and promote the game of hockey in the region.  He volunteered weekly to not only spend countless hours to tutor his teammates, but also tutor local elementary students in Sioux Falls.  He was active in numerous community activities by the Stampede, including taking a lead role in the “Tip-A-Stampede Night” that helped generate thousands of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, participating in a number of visits to pediatric patients at area hospitals, and speaking at functions throughout the Sioux Falls community.

The 20-year-old accumulated 46 points (18g, 28a) in 115 games over two USHL regular seasons.  He will play collegiate hockey and continue his academics beginning next season at Princeton University.  Siiro is just the second Stampede player to receive the prestigious Curt Hammer Award, joining Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond who earned the award during the 2006-07 season.

"The Curt Hammer Award describes a special person," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince, "who demonstrates 'outstanding performance skills, leadership, pride, and determination' in a league of young men who all have those qualities.  It takes a unique player and person to deserve this honor, and Ryan Siiro is that player this year.  His coach and teammates have described how much he meant to the team; his teachers how much he meant to their classrooms; and the number of organizations who have benefited from his generosity would take pages to list.  The League and the Sioux Falls organization have been privileged to have him as part of the USHL family.  Congratulations and thanks to a special young man."

Curt Hammer, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of hockey in the Des Moines community until succumbing to cancer in 1987, was one of the founders Hart-Hammer, Inc., a commercial heating and air conditioning ventilation equipment sales firm.  The company still operates today providing extensive sales and engineering support in Iowa, Nebraska, and western Illinois.  The annual USHL award was established to honor his commitment to the League and the perseverance he displayed in continuing his work through hockey while battling the illness.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede