Johnny O’Leader

May 1, 2019

Bobcat Goalie Roberts Receives League-wide Leadership Award

FRISCO, TX — Thanks to his consistent leadership on and off the ice, Bismarck Bobcats goaltender and co-captain John Roberts was named the winner of the 2019 North American Hockey League Leadership Award on Wednesday.

“It’s an absolute honor to receive such an amazing award,” beamed Roberts, who recently completed his third and final year of junior hockey. “I’m truly grateful to be recognized for it but it wasn’t an individual effort: my co-captain Jacob Marti helped me every single day as well as our alternate captains, Adam Stacho and Sam Malinski.

“None of this is possible without my teammates who made it easy to come to the rink every single day and enjoy hockey to its fullest extent. It’s easy to be a leader when the team is truly a family and every single guy works so hard; every player in the Bobcats’ locker room cared so much and made sure they did it for the guys next to them—not themselves—and each of them deserve this award because, to me, it is a team win.”

Roberts, who came to the Bobcats via trade in October 2017, led by example—putting in extra work in the gym, after practice and even after games—to help return the Cats to the Robertson Cup Playoffs after a two-year absence from the NAHL postseason. He was named co-captain of the team in August though goalies are, by rule, not permitted to wear a captaincy letter on their jersey.

“Ever since we picked up Johnny from Shreveport, he’s been a character guy and emotional leader in our locker room,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie of the Northern Michigan-committed netminder. “On top of that, he puts in all the extra work to be a better player and a better person and our guys feed off of that. That’s why he wore the most important letter in the sport for us.”

In addition to Roberts’ league-wide nod, he also picked up the Central Division Leadership Award; Malinski was named second-team All-NAHL, first-team All-Central Division and Central Division Defenseman of the Year; and Austin Jouppi was picked to the Central Division All-Rookie Team.

Roberts’ win is the first league-wide award for the Bobcats since 2016—when Hunter Shepard (Goalie of the Year) and Cole Souto (Community Service Award) each won top honors—and the franchise’s sixth year-ending league-wide award since merging into the NAHL in 2004 (Nate Repensky, 2014 Defenseman of the Year; Byron Pool, 2009 Coach of the Year; Eric Kattelus, 2006 Rookie of the Year).

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