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 United States Hockey League

Sioux Falls Tabs Cruthers as Head Coach

April 30, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL) News Release

Former Stampede assistant coach rejoins organization after spending 2023-24 behind the bench with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the Southern Professional Hockey League

The Sioux Falls Stampede have announce the hiring of Ryan Cruthers as the team's newest Head Coach.

Cruthers joins the Stampede as the tenth Head Coach in team history after spending the last year at the helm of the Fayetteville Marksmen of the Southern Professional Hockey League in Fayetteville, N.C. Under his leadership, both as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, the Marksmen marked a record of 31-19-6-0 and landed a spot in the SPHL Playoffs.

"First, I would like to thank the ownership and staff for putting their trust in me to be the next head coach of the Stampede," said Cruthers. "I am excited to return to the Sioux Falls community after spending the 2022-23 season here and getting to know our passionate fan base. It's clear what the Stampede vision is as an organization, and I am excitedn to help lead it in that direction. Tony and his scouting staff have attracted top tier talent that we will continue to develop daily on an individual basis while working towards our team goals."

"We are thrilled to have Ryan back with the Stampede," said Stampede General Manager and Vice President of Hockey Operations Tony Gasparini. "In his short time with us a year ago, he showed a tremendous work ethic and dedication towards our players and their individual development, both on the ice and as young men."

Prior to the move to Fayetteville, Cruthers served as an assistant coach of the Stampede during the 2022-23 season. He had a hand at helping develop players such as Sam Harris (2023 NHL Draft, Round 5 Pick 133 by the Montreal Canadiens, 2024 NCAA Division I National Champion, Denver), Maxim Strbak (2023 NHL Draft, Round 2 Pick 45 by the Buffalo Sabres, Michigan State), and Isaac Gordon (CCHA Rookie of the Year, Michigan Tech), all of which competed in

the NCAA Tournament this season. Along with Harris, Strbak and Gordon, Cruthers has coached defensemen Evan Murr (CCHA All-Rookie Team, Minnesota State) and Jack Phelan (2023 NHL Draft, Round 5 Pick 137 by the Detroit Red Wings, Wisconsin commit) and forward Chris Pelosi (2023 NHL Draft, Round 3 Pick 92 by the Boston Bruins, Quinnipiac commit). Cruthers also ran the Herd's power-play unit during the 22-23 season, which finished fourth overall in the USHL.

Cruthers has amassed an impressive resume at the junior hockey level over the years. Starting in 2015, Cruthers was instrumental in developing the Charlotte Rush (USPHL) into a championship level program. Under his direction, the team won the first of two USPHL-Elite national titles in 2017, just two years into his time with the program. With Cruthers as the General Manager and Premier Head Coach, the Rush's Premier and Elite programs both captured national titles in 2021.

On top of the 2022-23 season with the Herd, Cruthers also has experience in the USHL as the Head Coach and Assistant General Manager of the Chicago Steel (2017-18). Cruthers lead the Steel to the USHL Clark Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals during his time in Chicago.

Following the 2017-18 season, he headed to Corpus Christi, Texas to lead the NAHL's Corpus Christi Ice Rays.

In addition to his impressive coaching accolades, Cruthers proved to be a force on the ice as a player. He began his collegiate career at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he played two seasons. Following his time at West Point, Cruthers transferred to Robert Morris University and was a four-year NCAA Division I letterwinner. As a senior, he was named the captain of the Colonials and was a preliminary nominee for the Hobey Baker Award.

Following his time at the collegiate level, Cruthers made the move to the ECHL where he began his career with the Utah Grizzlies. Moving between ECHL teams for eight seasons, Cruthers also played stints in the AHL with the Lake Erie Monsters, Albany River Rats, Norfolk Admirals, Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears. He spent the most time with the Reading Royals in the ECHL, appearing in 278 games over five seasons plus an additional 36 in the ECHL playoffs (14g, 25a, 39p). Cruthers became the Royals' all-time leading scorer during his career when he tallied 86 goals and 187 assists for 273 points, .982 points per game. Cruthers was also chosen to wear the "C" for both the Royals and Orlando Solar Bears.

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