The Sioux Falls Stampede announced today that defenseman Ryan Hill has committed to the University of North Dakota for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. He becomes the 15th player on the 2008-09 squad to commit to a Division I school.
Hill was acquired by the Stampede in trade with Waterloo in early January and went on to post three assists in 29 games while helping anchor the Stampede blueline. The Hermantown, Minnesota native recorded a total of six assists in 51 USHL games last season. Prior to playing for the Stampede and Waterloo, Hill spent the majority of the 2006-07 season with the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets.
"We're ecstatic," said head coach Kevin Hartzell. "Ryan paid his dues more then most and we're excited he found a great home."
The Fighting Sioux went 24-15-4 en route to their WCHA-leading 14th league championship in 2008-09. The Sioux also advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight season under head coach Dave Hakstol, who also took home WCHA Coach of the Year honors. The Fighting Sioux have advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four in four of Hakstol's five seasons behind the bench. He began his career as the head coach of the Sioux City Musketeers (1997-2000).
A total of eight players who spent the 2008-09 season in the USHL have committed to the University of North Dakota; Brett Bruneteau (Des Moines), Mike Fink (Des Moines), Joe Gleason (Des Moines), Matt White (Des Moines), Michael Forney (Green Bay), Mike Cichy (Indiana), Danny Kristo (Omaha), and Ryan Hill (Sioux Falls).
The Fighting Sioux had 11 former USHL players on their roster during the 2008-09 season; Joe Finley (Sioux Falls), Derrick LaPoint (Green Bay), Mario Lamoureux (Tri-City), Brad Miller (Green Bay), Jason Gregoire (Lincoln), Brad Malone (Sioux Falls), Ben Blood (Indiana/Des Moines), Jake Marto (Omaha), Evan Trupp (Des Moines), Chris Vande Velde (Lincoln), and Aaron Walski (Lincoln).
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)