Happy Hockey Season

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats begin their 14th season Wednesday as the curtain rises on the 2011-12 campaign with a 7:45 PM matchup against the New Mexico Mustangs on Day One of the Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink.

Expectations run high for the Bobcats, who return eight forwards, six defensemen and goalie Tommy Burke from their 2010-11 Central Division Championship squad.

“With so many players back, the pressure to repeat as division champs and get back to the Robertson Cup is pretty intense,” said Bobcats forward Castan Sommer. “Internal pressure on the team, external pressure from others’ expectations—you name it. We welcome the challenge, though; we’re using those expectations to motivate us.”

Among the returners are four of the Cats’ top 2010-11 scorers—including Dan Zawacki, Frank DeAugustine, Nikolaj Rosenthal and Donald Olivieri—and ten players who registered double digits in points last season.

Burke’s ascendance to the starting goalie role—after serving as Ryan Faragher’s backup in 2010-11—lends a great deal of stability to a position thought to be in flux following Faragher’s departure to St. Cloud State. During the 2011 Robertson Cup Playoffs Burke led all NAHL goalies in both goals against average (1.91) and save percentage (.941).

Key newcomers will augment the veteran attack the Bobcats bring, including first round draft pick defenseman Bryce Anderson and pre-draft tender forward Shane Omdahl.

Anderson brings veteran experience as a member of the 2009-10 North Iowa Outlaws and a championship pedigree, fresh off scoring the championship-winning goal for the Wisconsin Wilderness in the 2011 Superior International League playoffs. Omdahl, from Minnesota powerhouse Roseau High School, turned heads in the preseason with three goals against the Minot Minotauros.

The first challenge of the regular season will come in the form of the Mustangs, who return a host of returners from a team that finished the 2010-11 season with a 5-3-1 month of March.

Mandan native Patrick Anderson is back to lead the Mustang attack; the former Bismarck High standout notched 19 goals and 15 assists in 54 contests in his first year in the Land of Enchantment.

“New Mexico has a lot of talent back and have stabilized at the goaltender position,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “and with a guy behind the bench like Jason Kersner, who won the NAPHL championship last year [with the D.C. Capitals], they have the look of a team that will be on the way up in a strong South Division.”

Following Wednesday’s season opener, the Bobcats continue their Showcase schedule with a 4:30 PM Thursday start against the Alaska Avalanche and a 5:00 PM Friday matchup against the defending South Division Champion Amarillo Bulls. They’ll wrap up the Showcase with a 4:00 PM Saturday contest against the expansion Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings.

All four games will be broadcast local on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes before the start of each game.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!