Prince George Cougars captain Sam Ruopp (Zehner, SK) has been named the WHL’s Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year.
Because of this honour, 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 3 at the 2017 WHL Awards Banquet in Calgary. The Eastern Conference nominee is Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Tyler Wong.
Per the WHL’s media release:
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 instil a new culture based on passion, work ethic and dedication – both at the rink and within the greater community.