CEDAR RAPIDS — Defenseman Riese Zmolek of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders has been honored as 2017 co-recipient of the United States Hockey League’s Curt Hammer Award, it was announced Thursday.
The Curt Hammer Award has been given out since the 1988-89 season and is in honor of the late former president of the Des Moines Buccaneers and secretary of the USHL. It recognizes the player “who distinguishes himself both on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, leadership, pride and determination,” according to the league’s website.
Bloomington goaltender Logan Halladay is the other 2017 co-recipient.
“Riese constantly sets the bar for his teammates in work ethic, compete level in games, practices and team workouts,” said Cedar Rapids Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson. “You would be hard pressed to find a better leader on or off the ice. Riese has been second to none leading his team at the arena and in the community. He has put our community and his teammates ahead of himself, while helping others throughout the season. He has truly embodied what it means to lead and to give back.”
Zmolek recently completed his second season with the RoughRiders. He was team captain this season.
The son of former NHL defenseman Doug Zmolek, Riese is headed to play college hockey next season at Minnesota State. He is the first RoughRider to be honored with the Curt Hammer Award.
“As the community service coordinator the past two years, there is not one kid that volunteered more than Riese,” said RoughRiders Community Service Coordinator Tammy Carlson. “He was front and center for the Teddy Bear delivery to the (University of Iowa) Children’s Hospital to help brighten the day of sick children. As well, he spent time at domestic abuse centers with children that have been abused or witnessed abuse.
“The team does six community service items per week, and he scheduled every appearance. In fact, I would tell him to let others help, too. He not only participated in the community service events for the past two years but was the first captain that orchestrated the most community service the team has ever done.”
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