April 19, 2017 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Prince George Cougars
Prince George, B.C. - The Prince George Cougars Hockey Club is pleased to announce that Cougars captain Sam Ruopp (Zehner, SK) has been named the WHL's Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year. Because of this honor, the three year captain of the Cougars is the Western Conference nominee for the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy which is awarded annually to the WHL's Humanitarian of the Year. The award will be announced on Wednesday, May 3rd at the 2017 WHL Awards Banquet in Calgary, AB. The Eastern Conference nominee is Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Tyler Wong.
Ruopp played parts of five seasons with the Cougars. In 258 career regular season games he scored 16 goals to go along with 75 assists and 346 penalty minutes to go along with a +35 rating. This season he matched a season high with four goals while adding 20 assists, 51 penalty minutes and a +24 rating in 55 games. He is the three-time reigning Eric Brewer Award winner which is given annually to the Cougars Top Defensive Player. He was also the 2015-16 recipient of the Michael Fogolin Memorial Award which is selected annually by the players. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Per the WHL's media release issued earlier today:
Ruopp, the Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year, recently completed his fourth and final campaign with the Prince George Cougars. As team captain, the 20-year-old Ruopp has established himself as an exceptional ambassador for the Western Hockey League, both on and off the ice.
At the onset of the 2015-16 season, the product of Zehner, Sask., played a key role in launching the well-received "Literacy and Exercise" Initiative in local Prince George elementary schools, aimed at promoting literacy and healthy living.
Having enjoyed the opportunity to contribute via the "Literacy and Exercise" Initiative, Ruopp stepped to the forefront in 2016-17 and helped with the launch of the "Spirit of Healthy Kids" promotion, implemented in conjunction with Northern Health and the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. He visited 15 elementary schools in the region, helping educate students on the benefits of healthy living, good choices and active lifestyles.
Outside of his commitment to regular community work, Ruopp was always the first to volunteer his time for other off-ice initiatives, including hospital visits, backyard rink promotions, autograph sessions and photography opportunities, along with the simple but oft-overlooked effort of connecting with fans through genuine conversation.
As the only player in Prince George Cougars history to carry the captaincy for three seasons, Ruopp's impact both on and off the ice cannot be understated. He helped to establish and instill a new culture based on passion, work ethic and dedication - both at the rink and within the greater community.