Prince George Cougars L

(ISN) Prince George, B.C. – Prior to Friday night’s home game against the Kamloops Blazers, the Prince George Cougars named 18-year-old defenceman Sam Ruopp (Zehner, SK) the 23rd captain in the history of the Prince George Cougars franchise.

Originally selected by the Prince George Cougars in the fourth round (76th overall) in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, the 6’3″, 183 pound defenceman has spent his entire WHL career with the Prince George Cougars. In 88 career games, Ruopp has scored six goals, 18 assists and 101 penalty minutes. This season in 18 games, Ruopp has one goal, six assists, 46 penalty minutes and is tied for the team lead in plus-minus with a +8 rating.

“Being named the captain of the Prince George Cougars is a dream come true,” said Sam Ruopp. “It’s the most exciting thing that I’ve ever experienced. Skating onto the ice for the first time as the captain of the Prince George Cougars gave me shivers down my spine.”

“His work ethic, his attention to detail, the way he handles himself in the dressing room and in the community – All of that stuff is top notch,” said Prince George Cougars Head Coach Mark Holick. “He plays the game hard, doesn’t cheat the game whatsoever, and I’m very comfortable having him lead our group.”

Holick adds, “He continues to get better and better with each game. He’s starting to get some NHL interest now, and hopefully he can turn that into something come draft time.”

In addition to naming Ruopp captain, the Cougars have also named Chance Braid (1994-Chauvin, AB), Chase Witala (1995-Prince George, B.C.) and Jansen Harkins (1997-North Vancouver, B.C.) alternate captains.

Chance Braid joined the Prince George Cougars in a summer trade with the Prince Albert Raiders. Since joining the Cougars, Braid has scored four goals, added two assists and 20 penalty minutes in 14 games. In 215 career games, Braid has scored 21 goals, 42 assists and 233 penalty minutes.

Chase Witala was drafted by the Prince George Cougars in the fifth round (89th overall) of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. This season, Witala has posted eight goals, 10 assists and 13 penalty minutes in 18 games. Witala has dressed in 179 games, all with the Cougars and has registered 50 goals, 59 assists and 67 penalty minutes.

Jansen Harkins was selected second overall by the Prince George Cougars in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. The draft-eligible forward currently leads the team in scoring with four goals and 17 assists along with 10 penalty minutes. In 90 career games with the Cougars, Harkins has 14 goals, 41 assists and 32 penalty minutes.

Ruopp adds, “We have a lot of great leaders on this team, and a great leadership group. It’s a huge honor to share that responsibility with such a great group and I’m looking forward to working with everyone to make this team the very best that it can be.”

The Prince George Cougars are coming off a weekend sweep of the Kamloops Blazers at home, and through the quarter mark of their season are right in the thick of things with a 10-8-0-0 record. Their 20 points has them tied for second with both Kamloops and Victoria in the B.C. Division standings. A huge weekend looms for the Cougars as they host the Victoria Royals twice on Friday (November 7th) and Saturday (November 8th) at the CN Centre.