April 18, 2005
Grand Forks, N.D. – For the fourth time since 1997, a Notre Dame hockey recruit has been selected as the winner of the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) prestigious Curt Hammer Award. This year’s winner, Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.), currently a member of the Tri-City Storm, signed a national letter of intent last November to attend Notre Dame beginning in September of 2005.
Hanson joins former Irish players Mark Eaton (1997), Aaron Gill (2000) and outgoing team captain Cory McLean (2001) who each won the prestigious award in their final seasons in the USHL. Eaton is currently a member of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Gill was signed in March of 2004 by the San Jose Sharks and played this year for the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League. McLean, the CCHA’s Scholar-Athlete of the year in 2005 will graduate from Notre Dame in May.
The Curt Hammer Award is given annually to the USHL player who distinguishes himself as the most gentlemanly player, both on and off the ice. The award goes to the player who best reflects the goals of the League and his team. Hanson demonstrated performance skills, pride, determination, sportsmanship, and a desire to succeed within the rules of the USHL and accepted bounds of courteous conduct.
“We are proud of Christian and his accomplishments this season in Tri-City,” said Irish assistant coach Andy Slaggert.
“He has proven to be a leader both on and off the ice this season and the Curt Hammer Award is a testimony to that. It really bodes well for him due to the success the other three award winners that played at Notre Dame have had. In recruiting, we definitely try to identify players with strong character traits. Christian definitely fits that mold. We are anxious for him and his classmates to play here this coming season.”
For the year, Hanson led the Storm in scoring with 19 goals and 33 assists for 52 points in 60 games. He had four power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and four-game winning goals on the year while recording 23 minutes in penalties. He tied for 16th in the USHL scoring race and was 11th in the league in assists. Tri-City finished fourth in the USHL’s West Division with a 33-21-6 record and is currently in the USHL playoff semi-finals versus the Sioux City Musketeers.
Hanson was ranked 52nd among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s mid-season rankings in January and played in the USHL’s Top Prospects game. During the 2003-04 season, he had 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points in 69 games and helped the Storm reach the USHL finals versus Waterloo.
Eaton, a defenseman, played just one year at Notre Dame and was the CCHA rookie of the year in 1999 before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers. Gill and McLean spent four seasons at Notre Dame and were members of the first Irish team to play in the NCAA tournament in 2004. Both served as team captains in their senior seasons.