KEARNEY, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm announced Friday that they have signed defenseman Tory Dello to a USHL tender agreement.
Dello, a native of Crystal Lake, Ill., has been playing with the Chicago Mission U18 midget team this season. While he will continue to play with the Mission, Dello will make his USHL debut for the Storm on Friday night when Tri-City takes on Lincoln at the Viaero Event Center at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m really excited and honored to be the one breaking this news for us as an organization,” Storm head coach and general manager Josh Hauge said. “Tory is our first tender. We weren’t going to do this unless we got a guy we felt was a big time get for us and that’s what Tory is. It puts our franchise on the map.”
The defenseman is currently committed to play collegiately at Notre Dame, but until he is ready for South Bend, he will be happy to call Kearney home.
“I want to be the best player I can be when I step in at Notre Dame,” Dello said. “It was a tough decision but I feel really comfortable here.”
Living in Kearney will not be the only time Dello has resided in Nebraska, as he was born in Crete and lived there for a few years before moving to Crystal Lake.
“I’m kind of like a small town kid,” Dello said. “I was born in Crete and I just love how nice people are and how clean it is. The rink is unbelievable, and the school’s nice too.”
The tender rule is new to the USHL this year. Each team has the option of tendering two players before the upcoming Futures Draft. For each tender you use, you lose a draft pick.
“With us signing Tory we will not have a first round pick in this year’s Futures Draft,” Hauge said. “We’re guaranteeing Tory a spot on our hockey club next season. We’re doing this because we believe he’s a guy that will be an everyday defenseman for us and a difference-maker in our program. He will step right in and really change the culture.”
When Dello steps on the ice tonight, he will be the first player born in 1997 to play in the USHL.
“He’s a great person and that’s what we’re trying to bring to this organization,” Hauge said. “We want to get guys that are good people first and he fit that, his character is amazing. He’s a solid shutdown defenseman with good offensive ability; we feel he will be an NHL draft pick in the future.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)