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The Sioux Falls Stampede are a Tier I junior ice hockey team based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Stampede are members of the Western Conference of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The team plays home games at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, the largest facility in capacity and size in the USHL. The team was established in 1999 and is owned by SD Sports and Entertainment, LLC. since 2012.

Sioux Falls Stampede
CitySioux Falls, South Dakota
LeagueUnited States Hockey League
Home arenaDenny Sanford Premier Center
ColorsDark blue, gold, black, white
Owner(s)SD Sports and Entertainment, LLC.
General managerScott Owens
Head coachScott Owens
MediaKELO (AM)
Argus Leader
Franchise history
1999–presentSioux Falls Stampede
Regular season titles1 Anderson Cup (2005–06)
Division Championships1 (2005–06)
Conference Championships2 (2015, 2019)
Playoff championships3 Clark Cups (2007, 2015 and 2019)

The Stampede have qualified for the Clark Cup playoffs in fifteen of twenty seasons. The team holds three Clark Cup championships, winning most recently in the 2018–19 season, two conference and one division championships, and was awarded the Anderson Cup in the 2005–06 season for the league's highest win percentage. The organization holds the USHL single-season attendance record at 200,597 fans over the 2015–16 season and are a five-time USHL organization of the year recipient. Twenty-eight former players have skated in the National Hockey League (NHL).



Discussions began as early as 1994 to bring a United States Hockey League (USHL) expansion to the city of Sioux Falls. Expansion talks failed on three separate occasions, including a bid by Wisconsin Capitols owner Geoffrey Kelley to relocate to Sioux Falls, due to the city's failure to provide a permanent home and publicly-backed funds. The Minnehaha Ice and Recreation Center and Expo Ice Arena at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds were in contention to host the team, however, both lacked sufficient locker rooms or accommodations for fans to meet league demands.[1][2][3] The Sioux Falls Arena was also presented as an option, but was written off due to poor sight lines and potential scheduling conflicts with other tenants.[4]

In 1998, the Minnesota-based investment firm Central Ventures, Inc. expressed interest in adding a USHL team to the Sioux Falls sports landscape. The firm and local investment group Sioux Falls Sports, LLC. made an official proposal on January 26, 1998, to the league at its annual board of governors meeting held in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unlike other proposals, the investment firm was willing to help privately fund improvements at an existing facility or the construction of a new arena with help from the city.[5]

On May 26, 1998, league president Gino Gasparini awarded Sioux Falls a franchise to begin play in September 1999.[6] The city finalized a deal that would upgrade the existing Sioux Falls Arena for an estimated $1 million funded between the city and team.[7] In choosing the team name, the ownership group set up a telephone line fans called to make suggestions. On September 30, 1998, after more than 140 name submissions were filed, the official name Stampede and American bison logo were unveiled to represent the new Sioux Falls franchise.[8]

First seasons and early struggles: 1999–2005Edit

On October 7, 1998, former Miami University of Ohio associate coach Bob Motzko was named the inaugural head coach. Motzko had previously led the defunct North Iowa Huskies to the 1989 Junior A Championship and was an assistant to Herb Brooks at St. Cloud State University during the 1986–87 season. For Motzko, the plan was to "win as fast as possible" and recruit high-caliber players: "You do not win in this league without veterans and our first year we might not have many veterans. But I want to get at it right away."[9] Motzko would recruit several key players that played an instrumental role in the success that was to come, including forwards J.B. Bittner, Dave Iannazzo, Chad LaRose, Thomas Vanek, James Massen, Marty Sertich and Joe Jensen; defenseman Jamie Mattie; and goaltenders Zack Sikich and David Bowen.[10]

The Stampede were placed in the Western Division and played their inaugural game at home against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on September 24, 1999, to a sold-out crowd of 4,660 fans, including an estimated 2,000 season ticket holders.[11] The team completed its inaugural season 37–17–4, the highest for a first-year expansion, and qualified for a Clark Cup playoff match-up against the Twin Cities Vulcans. The team was led by forward Rick Gorman, who finished the season scoring 68 points, 25 goals and 43 assists. Motzko was named general manager of the year and Gorman was named to the all-USHL first team.[12] The following season the team found similar success as it qualified for back-to-back playoff appearances with a 40–14–2 record. The Stampede beat the RoughRiders in the first round before losing to eventual Clark Cup champions, the Omaha Lancers. Following the season, coach Motzko left the Stampede to pursue an assistant coach role at the University of Minnesota.[10]

The team's ownership elected to hire Stampede assistant coach Tony Gasparini, the son of now former USHL president Gino Gasparini, to fill the head coach role.[13] Gasparini's team finished the 2001–02 season 35–21–5, earning the team's third playoff appearance in as many years against the Sioux City Musketeers. However, the organization was once again knocked out in the early rounds. In the same season, star forward Thomas Vanek set a league-leading, team record of 91 points in a season, with 46 goals and 45 assists in his final year with the team. The city of Sioux Falls hosted the 20th USHL Prospects All-Star Game, attended by National Hockey League (NHL) scouts, while the organization was awarded its first USHL Organization of the Year award.[14][15]

The Stampede accumulated a 112–52–11 overall record in its first three years of operation; however, the team's top four scoring players from the previous season, including Vanek, would not return for the 2002–03 season. After 52 games, Coach Gasparini's 21–25–6 team was in the midst of a six-game losing streak and ranked last in goals allowed per game. The poor performance prompted the ownership group to relieve Gasparini from his coaching duties and appoint assistant coach Ted Belisle as interim head coach in an attempt to salvage the team's playoff chances.[16] The team finished its remaining eight games 3–5–0. The Stampede failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a 24–30–6 record while also accruing a total of 1404 penalty minutes, the most of any team that season. Belisle was not retained as head coach.

On April 21, 2003, the Stampede announced the hiring of former San Jose Sharks assistant coach Mark Kaufman as head coach for the 2003–04 season with the intent of making a more disciplined defensive team.[17] However, the team suffered its worst season record to date, going 15–42–3. The following 2004–05 season allowed a franchise-high 252 goals over 60 games and the team failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Stampede fired Kaufman on April 6, 2005, after posting a 42–70–8 record over two seasons.[18]

Finding success and first Clark Cup championship: 2005–2012Edit

In an attempt to reinvigorate the franchise, Sioux Falls hired former University of Minnesota player and St. Paul Vulcans head coach Kevin Hartzell for the 2005–06 season. Hartzell previously led the Vulcans to three Clark Cup final appearances, including a championship during the 1983–84 season, and posted a 195–83–8 record overall between 1983 and 1989.[19]

In his first year with the team, Hartzell led the club to a 41–13–4 record, its only Anderson Cup title, awarded to the team with the league's highest regular-season win percentage, and first division championship. The team was led by future NHL players Andreas Nödl, Nate Prosser and Ryan Thang; and the goaltender tandem of John Murray and Alex Kangas. The Stampede defense finished first overall in the USHL and set a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 135.[20] Seven players were selected for the 2006 USHL All-Star/Prospects game in Sioux City, Iowa, and the team swept the Tri-City Storm and defeated the Lincoln Stars before advancing to their first Clark Cup championship appearance.[21] The club was defeated by the Des Moines Buccaneers in a best-of-five series, 3–2.[22] The team ended the 2005–06 season with a franchise best 21–7–2 home record and 20–6–2 away record, including a franchise-high win streak of 16 games.[23]

Stampede players hoisting the franchise's first Clark Cup trophy for winning the 2006–07 Clark Cup playoffs.

Expectations were high for Hartzell's sophomore year, but the team found itself near the bottom of the standings much of the first half of the season after starting the previous season 27–3–0. The team built momentum by going 16–5–1 in the months of January and February and managed to enter the 2006–07 playoffs as the fourth and final seed in the West Division. The Stampede swept the Lincoln Stars in four games in the first round, but lost to the Des Moines Buccaneers in the first game of a two-game, second-round round robin. The Stampede defeated the Tri-City Storm in overtime in their second game and advanced to the final four, single-elimination tournament. The team defeated the top seeded Indiana Ice, who were undefeated up to that point in the playoffs, 3–2 in overtime in the semi-final round.[24] In their second Clark Cup Final appearance in as many years, the Stampede shutout the Black Hawks 3–0 to win their first Clark Cup championship. Goaltender Matt Lundin was named the Clark Cup Final most valuable player.[25] Future NHL player Corey Tropp led the team in scoring with 26 goals, 32 assists for 58 points, including a team-leading 13 points, four goals and nine assists in the playoffs.

Returning for Hartzell's third season were veteran forwards Nick Dineen, David Grun, Jake Hansen, Robbie Vrolyk and newcomer Jack Connolly, the seventh overall pick of the 2007 USHL Entry Draft. Finding similar success in previous seasons, Hartzell employed another goaltender tandem composed of his son, Eric Hartzell, and veteran Max Strang.[25] The team finished the season 35–19–6, earning a third consecutive playoff berth, while Hartzell set a franchise-high five shutouts in the regular season. After sweeping the Lincoln Stars in the first round the previous season, the Stars returned the favor and shutout Sioux Falls 3–0.[26] First-year forward Connolly led the league in scoring, finishing with 26 goals and 46 assists for 72 points. Connolly was named the 2007–08 season USHL Rookie of the Year and USA Hockey Player of the Year.[27][28]

During the 2008–09 season, the Stampede finished 28–28–4, qualified for the playoffs and was again defeated by the Lincoln Stars. The club was led by forwards Terry Broadhurst and David Eddy. The following season was matched with similar success as the team finished 33–25–12, but, for the third consecutive season, was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The club had one of the most potent offenses in team history, ranking fourth in goals for with 223. The offensive output was led by forwards Michael Voran and Matt Lindblad and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. Goaltender Clay Witt recorded six regular season shutouts, breaking the record previously held by Hartzell two seasons prior.[29]

The team's previous failure to move beyond the first round became a point of consternation among fans.[30] After finishing the 2010–11 season 34–20–6, the Stampede defeated rival Sioux City Musketeers 2–1 and Omaha Lancers 3–0 and advanced to face the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the Western Conference Championship. The club found success in a balanced attack with no true standouts, as eight different players tallied 30 points or more. The Fighting Saints bested Sioux Falls 3–1 in a best-of-five series. The playoff run would be the last of Hartzell's career as the team finished the 2011–12 season 17–36–7, the second worst record in team history.

On May 1, 2012, the Sioux Falls Stampede ownership group of Sioux Falls Sports, LLC. sold a majority stake in the team to SD Sports and Entertainment.[31] The new ownership group subsequently fired Hartzell six days later. He is the winningest coach in team history with a 224–152–44 record over seven seasons.[32]

Second Clark Cup championship: 2012–15Edit

On May 11, 2012, five days after firing coach Hartzell, the new ownership group hired former University of North Dakota assistant coach Cary Eades. Eades previously spent 15 years over two stints with the program, earning four NCAA Frozen Four appearances and a national championship in 1987. He also spent two seasons as the head coach of the now defunct Dubuque Fighting Saints (1980–2001), going 86–46–7 and winning a National Tournament Championship in 1992.[33] In his first season as head coach in 2012–13, Eades led the club to its best regular season performance finishing 45–17–2, six points shy of a second Anderson Cup title.

Stampede players and coaches posing with the franchise's second Clark Cup trophy for winning the 2014–15 Clark Cup playoffs.

The 2014–15 season was highly anticipated by the city of Sioux Falls, as the Stampede debuted their new home, the recently constructed Denny Sanford Premier Center. On October 11, 2014, three weeks into the season, the club hosted the Waterloo Black Hawks to a sold-out crowd of 10,678 for their first game in the facility, recorded as the largest indoor sporting event in South Dakota history.[34] The team started the season inconsistent, failing to string together wins and approached the halfway point of the season towards the bottom of the standings with an 11–12–3 record. Following the holiday break, the Stampede put together several winning streaks, finished a promising 32–23–5 and managed to clinch the fourth and final playoff spot.[35] The Stampede faced and defeated the regular season Western Conference leading Sioux City Musketeers in a best-of-five series, 3–2.[36] In the second round, after losing the first game, the Stampede put together three consecutive victories, including a shutout by goaltender Stefanos Lekkas, to earn their first conference championship against the second seeded Tri-City Storm. In their third Clark Cup final appearance, the Stampede completed a 3–0 sweep of the Muskegon Lumberjacks on home ice to earn their second Clark Cup championship. Forward Troy Loggins was named the Clark Cup playoffs most valuable player, tallying 16 points in 12 games played.[37] Rookie forward Kieffer Bellows led the team in scoring with 33 goals and 19 assists for 52 points in 58 games, a Tier I junior rookie record for a 16-year-old, including three hat-tricks. The performance earned him USHL Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the USHL All-third Team and All-rookie Team.[38]

Less than a week after winning a Clark Cup championship, head coach Eades departed the club citing contract extension issues to take the vacant head coach position with the Fargo Force.[39][40] On May 21, 2015, the Stampede hired former Colorado College and Des Moines Buccaneers head coach Scott Owens.[41]

Team informationEdit

Logos and uniformsEdit

The official primary colors of the Sioux Falls Stampede are navy and gold with the secondary colors black and white. The primary logo is a navy circle with a gold trim with a white and black buffalo silhouette at the forefront. Above the oval is the word mark "SIOUX FALLS" and below "STAMPEDE." The secondary logo is a blue buffalo charging through a cloud of smoke with the left hoof in the forefront. Above the buffalo is the word mark "SIOUX FALLS" and below "STAMPEDE." From team inception to sometime prior to the 2005–06 season, the current secondary logo served as the primary logo and vice-versa. Both logos were created by Paulsen Marketing in Sioux Falls.


On September 10, 1999, the Stampede placed an ad in the Argus Leader asking fans to assist in naming the new team's mascot.[42] On September 21, the team unveiled the official mascot as a blue American bison called Stomp at a community gathering. Jolee Thurn is credited with naming the buffalo.[43] Stomp wears a team jersey, black hockey helmet, navy hockey pants, ice skates while skating and black shoes. The mascot received an updated physical look prior to the 2014–15 season.


Radio and televisionEdit

Radio coverage is provided by flagship station KELO (AM 1320). The Stampede radio broadcast team is led by Jim Olander and in-studio host Dan Lund. The radio network broadcasts pregame coverage, games with commentary, guest appearances by coachers and players, and postgame wrap-ups.

Season-by-season recordEdit

United States Hockey League[44]

Season GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1999–00 58 37 17 4 78 239 179 963 2nd of 7, West Lost Quarterfinals, 0–3 vs. Twin Cities Vulcans
2000–01 56 40 14 2 82 267 182 1023 2nd of 6, West Won Quarterfinals, 3–1 vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Lost Semifinals, 1–3 vs. Omaha Lancers
2001–02 61 35 21 5 75 252 217 1372 4th of 7, West Lost Quarterfinals, 0–3 vs. Sioux City Musketeers
2002–03 60 24 30 2 4 54 179 223 1404 6th of 6, West Did not qualify
2003–04 60 15 42 1 2 33 148 252 1250 6th of 6, West Did not qualify
2004–05 60 27 28 2 3 59 178 200 1154 5th of 5, West Did not qualify
2005–06 60 43 13 1 3 90 190 135 1165 1st of 5, West
1st of 11, USHL
Won Quarterfinals, 3–2 vs. Tri-City Storm
Won Semifinals, 3–1 vs. Lincoln Stars
Lost Clark Cup Finals, 2–3 vs. Des Moines Buccaneers
2006–07 60 34 21 3 2 73 195 174 1215 4th of 6, West
6th of 12, USHL
Won Opening Round, 4–0 vs. Lincoln Stars
1–1–0 in Divisional Round Robin
(L, 2–3 vs. Buccaneers; OTW, 4–3 vs. Storm)
Won Semifinal game, 3–2 vs. Indiana Ice
Won Clark Cup Championship game, 3–0 vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
2007–08 60 35 19 2 4 76 199 175 967 2nd of 6, West
4th of 12, USHL
Lost Quarterfinals, 0–3 vs. Lincoln Stars
2008–09 60 28 28 1 3 60 182 199 956 4th of 6, West
9th of 12, USHL
Lost Quarterfinals, 1–3 vs. Lincoln Stars
2009–10 60 33 15 4 8 78 223 182 932 3rd of 7, West
5th of 14, USHL
Lost Quarterfinals, 0–3 vs. Fargo Force
2010–11 60 34 20 1 5 74 197 168 905 3rd of 8, West
6th of 16, USHL
Won Conf. Quarterfinals, 2–1 vs. Sioux City Musketeers
Won Conf. Semifinals, 3–0 vs. Omaha Lancers
Lost Conf. Finals, 1–3 vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints
2011–12 60 17 36 1 6 41 127 215 1045 8th of 8, West
16th of 16, USHL
Did not qualify
2012–13 64 45 17 1 1 92 241 187 1047 1st of 8, West
2nd of 16, USHL
Won Conf. Semifinals, 3–2 vs. Lincoln Stars
Lost Conf. Finals, 2–3 vs. Fargo Force
2013–14 60 34 19 3 4 79 202 157 1132 3rd of 8, West
4th of 16, USHL
Lost Conf. Semifinals, 0–3 vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
2014–15 60 32 23 1 4 69 191 181 1110 4th of 8, West
8th of 17, USHL
Won Conf. Semifinals, 3–2 vs. Sioux City Musketeers
Won Conf. Finals, 3–1 vs. Tri-City Storm
Won Clark Cup Finals, 3–0 vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks
2015–16 60 31 25 3 1 66 164 174 908 4th of 8, West
9th of 17, USHL
Lost Conf. Semifinals, 0–3 vs. Tri-City Storm
2016–17 60 21 30 3 6 51 169 193 902 7th of 8, West
14th of 17, USHL
Did not qualify
2017–18 60 32 19 4 5 73 187 181 1018 4th of 8, West
5th of 17, USHL
Lost First Round, 1–2 vs. Lincoln Stars
2018–19 62 39 16 5 2 85 234 190 917 3rd of 8, West
4th of 17, USHL
Won First Round, 2–0 vs. Sioux City Musketeers
Won Conf. Semifinals, 3–1 vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
Won Conf. Finals, 3–0 vs. Tri-City Storm
Won Clark Cup Finals, 3–0 vs. Chicago Steel


Current rosterEdit

As of August 14, 2019.[45]

No. S/P/C Player Pos Ht Wt DoB Hometown Previous team College commitment
2   Brandon Chabrier D 5' 11" 156 lb 2002-07-29 Bayville, New York North Jersey Avalanche 16U (AYHL) Northeastern
4   Nate Schweitzer D 6' 0" 194 lb 2002-02-21 Champlin, Minnesota Benilde-St. Margaret's (USHS-MN) Colorado College
5   Valtteri Piironen D 6' 4" 192 lb 2001-09-11 Joensuu, Finland Sioux Falls (USHL) St. Cloud State
6   Evan Bushy D 6' 0" 183 lb 2002-03-26 Thief River Falls, Minnesota Lincoln High School (USHS-MN) St. Cloud State
8   Cameron MacDonald F 6' 2" 181 lb 2003-05-04 Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia Selects Academy 15U (Midget) None
15   Jared Westcott F 6' 0" 173 lb 1999-07-18 Imperial, Missouri Sioux Falls (USHL) Penn State
17   Ryan Sullivan F 5' 10" 181 lb 2000-03-07 Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan Sioux Falls (USHL) UMass

Team captainsEdit

  • Jared Hanowski, 1999–00
  • J.B. Bittner, 2000–01
  • Joe Jensen, Thomas Vanek (co-captains), 2001–02
  • Jason Moul, 2002–03
  • Jim McKenzie, 2003–04
  • Andrew Carroll, 2004–05
  • Ben Holmstrom, Nate Prosser (co-captains), 2005–06
  • Zach Redmond, Patrick Tiesling (co-captains), 2006–07
  • Nick Dineen, Jacob Drewiske (co-captains), 2007–08
  • Max Grover, 2008–09
  • Chad Ruhwedel, 2009–10
  • Sam Coatta, Marcus Perrier (co-captains), 2010–11
  • Joseph Lordo, 2011–12
  • Ryan Siiro, 2012–13
  • Ed McGovern, 2013–14
  • Logan O'Connor, Ryan Schwalbe (co-captains), 2014–15
  • Parker Toumie, 2015–16
  • Josh Passolt, 2016–17
  • Paul DeNaples, 2017–18
  • Marko Reifenberger, 2018–19
  • Blake Bride, 2018–19
  • Ryan Sullivan, 2019–20

National Hockey League alumniEdit

Franchise career leadersEdit

These are the top franchise leaders in regular season points, goals, assists, points per game, games played, and goaltending wins as of the end of the 2017–18 season.[46]

Player Seasons GP TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO
Kellen Briggs 2000–2003 112 6,116 57 45 5 359 3.52 3,353 .902 4
Stefanos Lekkas 2013–2016 88 4,995 46 29 4 218 2.62 2,583 .916 6
Charlie Lindgren 2011–2013 85 4,674 43 33 5 234 3.00 2,413 .903 2
Mikhail Berdin 2016–2018 76 4,312 38 25 9 193 2.69 2,489 .922 3
Eric Hartzell 2006–2009 79 4,495 35 32 2 231 3.08 2,419 .905 6
Clay Witt 2008–2010 62 3,595 31 18 9 165 2.75 1,791 .908 7
David Bowen 1999–2000 51 2,908 31 15 3 144 2.97 1,367 .905 1
John Murray 2004–2006 59 3,047 26 20 3 133 2.62 1,598 .917 4
Stephon Williams 2010–2012 56 3,155 26 16 8 138 2.62 1,538 .910 2
Max Strang 2006–2008 46 2,634 25 14 4 127 2.89 1,272 .900 1

Individual award winnersEdit

Hobey Baker Award

USHL Rookie of the Year

USHL Defenseman of the Year

Curt Hammer Award (Best reflects USHL goals, team and organization)

Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Award (USA Hockey Top Junior Player)

All-USHL First Team

All-USHL Second Team

All-USHL Third Team

USHL All-Rookie First Team

USHL All-Rookie Second Team

USHL Coach of the Year

USHL General Manager of the Year

USHL Organization of the Year

USHL 25th Anniversary Team[47]

Head coachesEdit

Asterisk (*) denotes number of Clark Cups won

  • Bob Motzko, 1999–01
  • Tony Gasparini, 2001–03
  • Ted Belisle, 2003 (interim)
  • Mark Kaufman, 2003–05
  • Kevin Hartzell, 2005–12*
  • Cary Eades, 2012–15*
  • Scott Owens, 2015–present*


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External linksEdit