Sioux Falls SD, – The United States Hockey League Wednesday announced that the Sioux Falls Stampede have been named the 2013-14 USHL Organization of the Year as determined by a vote from USHL Member Clubs.
It was a record-setting season for the Stampede as they led the USHL in attendance and shattered previous team marks. Their 4,257 fans per game average was 600 more than the next highest team and the highest average attendance in the League since the 2008-09 season. It represented a 9% increase in attendance for the Stampede over last season and a 37% increase since the 2011-12 campaign. The total attendance of 127,709 during the regular season was the second-highest total in team history.
Nine times this season, the Stampede had sellouts at the Sioux Falls Arena, including a team record 4,815 fans to see their 5-3 win against the Fargo Force on February 22nd. A little more than a month later, the Stampede broke that record when 4,827 fans attended the 2-1 loss to the Sioux City Musketeers on March 28th. Overall, the organization experienced a 23% increase in ticket revenue from the prior year.
Led by President/CEO Tom Garrity and staff, corporate support for the Stampede has continued to rise as the team increased its sponsorship revenue by 16% over the previous season as they welcomed new partners in addition to adding value to existing relationships in the business community.
“As an organization we could not be more thrilled,” said Garrity. “This is truly the ultimate award for our staff and the city of Sioux Falls because everyone has played a key role in our success. Our front office and coaching staff have worked tirelessly, our fans are the best in the league supporting us win or loss and our corporate partners who support us each and every year. I would also like to thank our wonderful ownership group that includes Arnie Abens, Tom Garrity, Bob Naegele III, Brain Schoenborn, Roger Sit Mark Waterloo and Gary Weckwerth. They have been very supportive of all that we do and help provide the necessary tools to be successful,” added Garrity.
The Stampede also gave back to their local community, including a $300,000 donation to the Scheels IcePlex, a three-sheet ice complex that will serve as the home to youth hockey in Sioux Falls as well as figure skating and other ice sports. The team also contributed to a number of other local organizations, including the American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Dakota Dachshund Rescue with the increasingly popular “Wiener Dog Race Night” held during intermission of a Stampede game.
The organization also began preparations this season for a new era of Stampede hockey as they secured a lease at the brand new Denny Sanford Premier Center set to open this fall. The 12,000-seat state-of-the-art facility will have the largest capacity of any USHL arena and the Stampede will serve as the primary tenant. Since the announcement of the new lease, season ticket renewal for the 2014-15 has reached 99% and 300 new season ticket accounts have been acquired.
On the ice, Head Coach Cary Eades led the Stampede to a 34-19-7 record and a berth in the Clark Cup Playoffs. A total of 17 players that competed for the team this season have earned opportunities to play NCAA Division I hockey, and a pair of players that suited up for the Stampede in 2013-14 are prospects for the upcoming NHL Draft as forward Dakota Joshua and Tyler Nanne were listed in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings of top draft-eligible players.
It is the third time in their history that the Sioux Falls Stampede have earned the USHL Organization of the Year (2005-06, 2001-02).
The Stampede are currently preparing to move into the Denny Sanford Premier Center for the upcoming 2014-15 season. Season tickets are now on sale and start as low as $8 a game. For more information, visit www.sfstampede.com or call 336-6060.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Stampede Jim Olander