Souto Receives 2016 NAHL Community Service Award
FRISCO, TX – After a season of behind-the-scenes maneuvering to grow the Bismarck Bobcats’ proud tradition of community involvement to an all-time high, the North American Hockey League announced Thursday that Bobcat co-captain Cole Souto is the recipient of the league’s 2016 Community Service Award.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this award, considering the other players nominated and their high level of character off the ice,” said Souto, in his second season with the Bobcats out of Yorba Linda, Calif. “I don’t consider community service and involvement a choice, but rather a responsibility to give back and try and help others and thank them for the support that they give us during the season.”
Over the course of the season, Souto coordinated the team’s community efforts, including: leading the team’s annual Healthy Habits program to deliver a message of an active lifestyle and speak out against bullying to hundreds of local school children; the Bobcats’ involvement with Dreams in Motion, a local group that is gaining regional influence to help local disabled children live out their hockey dreams; continuing the team’s Christmastime work with the Salvation Army; encouraging almost half the Bobcats—himself included—to shave their heads to raise money and awareness for Brave The Shave; visits to Sanford Hospital’s Children’s Wing to spend time with local kids with serious illnesses; and many other local one-day appearances by the team.
“When you look at our community outreach this year, it’s amazing: we’ve never had more players participating in our charitable efforts in 19 season in Bismarck-Mandan than we did this season and Cole has been the driving force behind that,” hailed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “It’s rewarding to our coaching staff to see that we are developing players to be champions both on and off the ice.
“Plus, Cole is such a good person: you can tell he’s really enjoying getting out there and spending time in the community.”
Souto’s reception of the league honor marks the first time that a Bobcat player has been singled out at the league level for his community involvement. He joins Hunter Shepard (Goaltender of the Year) on the NAHL’s 2015-16 honor roll, marking the first time two Bobcats have each nabbed league-wide awards.
On the ice, the Bobcats will open the Central Division Finals with a 7:15pm bout Friday against the two-time defending division champion Austin Bruins at the VFW Sports Center. Game Two will follow Saturday at the same time.
Tickets are now on sale for the first weekend of the Central Finals: fans can buy and print their tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s series opener will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.