May 13, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The United States Hockey League selected a pair of future Notre Dame hockey players as award winners on Friday (May 13), with incoming freshman Tory Dello being named the 2016 Curt Hammer Award recipient and incoming freshman Andrew Peeke being selected as the 2016 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Since the 1988-89 season, the Curt Hammer award has been presented annually to recognize the USHL player who distinguishes himself both on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, leadership, pride and determination.
Dello, a defenseman who is nearing the end of his third season with the Tri-City Storm, played a lead planning role in the Storm’s “Sammy’s Superheroes Night,” which was held on Jan. 22, 2016. Sammy’s Superheroes Foundation was established in August 2012 after Sammy Nahorny was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. Sammy’s Superheroes raises awareness for childhood cancer causes 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 and the two continue to frequently text each other and have developed a friendship off the ice.
In many of Dello’s other community visits, he has helped relate to those in potentially life-threatening health situations, taking a leadership role while visiting hospitals. Throughout the course of the season, Dello has spent time in the community visiting hospitals, raising money for childhood cancer research and visiting elementary schools. Dello’s dedication off the ice is in large part due to the influence of his parents as his mother passed away in May 2014 after a five-year battle with cancer.
As the Strom’s team captain, Dello has led a young team that includes nine players still in high school to the Clark Cup Final while also stressing the importance of being involved in the community. He is the fourth Notre Dame player to be named a Curt Hammer Award winner, joining Christian Hanson (2004-05 with the Tri-City Storm), Aaron Gill (1999-00 with the Rochester Mustangs) and Mark Eaton (1996-97 with the Waterloo Black Hawks).
In 2015-16, Dello has played in 50 games, scored three goals and added nine assists for 12 points. He has a +19 rating and also has 94 penalty minutes on the year. In eight playoff games this season, he has scored a goal and added three assists for four points. Dello and the Storm will open their Clark Cup Final series against the Dubuque Saints tonight (May 13).
A 6-1, 190-pound native of Crystal Lake, Illinois, Dello has totaled seven goals and 29 assists in 152 career USHL games with Tri-City. Prior to joining the Storm for the 2013-14 season, he played with the Chicago Mission program. He also skated for Team USA at the 2014-15 Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he registered two assists in five games.
Peeke recently graduated from Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, finishing with a cumulative grade point average of 4.12 on a 4.00 scale. He was ranked 13th out of 254 students in his graduating class. Peeke completed six times the amount of community service required to graduate with his peers, while also totaling three additional credit hours than required for graduation.
Peeke, a defenseman, skated in 56 games with the Green Bay Gamblers in 2015-16. He scored four goals and added 26 assists for 30 points. His 30 points ranked second in rookie scoring among defensemen, while his 26 assists ranked fifth among all rookies. He was ranked 57th among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting ratings. He was selected to the USHL All-Rookie First Team and also took part in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (Omaha, Nebraska).
A 6-3, 205-pound native of Parkland, Florida, Peeke skated in the 2015-16 World Junior A Challenge, where he notched a goal and an assist in five games for Team USA. Prior to joining the Gamblers, he skated with the Selects Academy (South Kent, Connecticut). He was recently selected to take part in the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine, which will take place from May 30 – June 4, at First Niagara Center and the Harbor Center in Buffalo, New York.
Friday’s awards capped off an impressive week for future Irish hockey players. In addition to Dello being named the 2016 Curt Hammer Award winner and Peeke being selected as the USHL’s Scholar Athlete of the Year, incoming freshman forward Cameron Morrison was named the 2016 USHL Rookie of the Year. Morrison and Peeke were also named to the 2016 USHL All-Rookie team, while Morrison was also selected as a 2016 USHL First Team All-Star.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).