The United States Hockey League announced today that Tri-City Storm captain Tory Dello has been named the 2016 recipient of the 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.
Dello is the third Storm winner of the award, joining Garrett Gamez (2013-14) and Christian Hanson (2004-05).
The University of Notre Dame commit is from Crystal Lake, IL and is a product of the Chicago Mission (HPHL). Dello has played in 167 USHL games, including 15 playoff games, in his three full seasons with the Storm, totaling eight goals and 40 points. In 2015-16, the defenseman had a plus-19 rating, 12 points and single-season high four goals.
Dello played a lead planning role in the Storm’s “Sammy’s Superheroes Night” on January 22, 2016. Sammy’s Superheroes Foundation was founded in August 2012 after Sammy Nahorny was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that affects 650 cases per year in the United States.
Sammy’s Superheroes raises awareness for childhood cancer and donates funds to pediatric cancer research. During the game, the Storm’s starters helped kids affected by cancer come on the ice as their honorary starters. Dello picked Sammy as his starter, bringing him into the locker room, helping him play soccer with other Storm players before the game and eventually coming onto the ice with the six other children affected by cancer. Sammy was fully immersed into the locker room that night and could be heard leading the players in a “Let’s go Storm,” cheer after the game.
What makes Dello’s contribution special is his dedication to Sammy even after he led Sammy off the ice before puck drop. The two continue to frequently text and have spent time together off the ice, going places around Kearney, NE. In many of Dello’s other community visits, he has helped relate to those in potentially life-threatening health situations, taking leadership while visiting hospitals and showing a clear understanding of why it’s important to relate to kids and adults that look up to him.
Throughout the course of the season, Dello has spent more than 20 hours in the community visiting hospitals, raised money for childhood cancer research and spent time in elementary schools. The Tri-City Storm organization noted that many of their players are young, with nine players still in high school. As captain, Tory gave new players advice and encouraged them to partake in community activities in Kearney, NE.
Dello’s dedication off the ice is in large part due to the influence of his parents. His mother passed away in May 2014 after a five-year battle with cancer. During the Storm’s “Color Out Cancer” night, when the Storm painted the Viaero Center ice with the names of those affected by cancer, Dello remained on the ice well past his scheduled time, talking to other community members and even media members to relate to those in the community affected by cancer.
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 of Hart-Hammer, Inc., a commercial heating and air conditioning ventilation equipment sales firm. The annual USHL award was established to honor his commitment to the League and perseverance he displayed in continuing his work through hockey battling the illness.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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