Community Moment | An American getting involved in Moncton
For most of his minor hockey career, Cole Bishop played for the Nashville Junior Predators. The Franklin, Tennessee native also had the opportunity to skate regularly with players from the National Hockey League team of the same name.
That’s why Bishop knows firsthand what it means to a young hockey player who gets to meet his idols. That’s also why, when the Moncton Wildcats organization offered him the chance to participate in the “Reading is Wild” Program, he didn’t hesitate for a second before going to meet local students.
The goal of the program is to get children excited about reading and realize the benefits it has. The program, which began on December 12, runs for a period of ten weeks. Each school sets its own goal of books to be read by its students throughout the initiative.
Each time a student reads a book, either at school or at home, that reading is added to their school’s total. The progress of schools participating in the challenge is then tracked on the Wildcats website, on a weekly basis, for the duration of the program.
Along with teammate Oscar Plandowski, the Wildcats’ #77 visited two elementary schools participating in the Reading is Wild initiative. Together, they visited Edith Cavell School, in Moncton, and Lou MacNarin School, in Dieppe.
“I remember how much I loved meeting the Predators players and I know how important that can be in the lives of youngsters. I know exactly how they feel when they get the chance to meet one of their idols,” said the 17-year-old.
“It was an amazing experience, just meeting all these kids. I also think it’s a very positive thing for us to show the community that we’re proud to be a part of it,” notes Bishop.
“Our supporters are an important part of the team and our success. So, it’s always nice to be involved in different activities, and to meet the people who support us so much throughout the season,” he adds.
The funny thing is that he wasn’t the one originally scheduled to take part in the program.
“The player who was supposed to go had to go to a dental appointment. I got the call at 7:00 and decided to jump on the occasion!,” he laughs.
The two Wildcats players obviously had a photo and autograph session with their new friends. They also received a shower of questions.
“The kids were really excited to see us come in with our Wildcats jerseys. But I’d say we were just as excited as they were! They wanted to know everything about our background; where we were from, what school we went to, who our favorite players were and what our favorite books were.”
The left winger says he had a lot of fun being around the young Wildcats fans.
“Ever since I was young, my parents have insisted that we give something back to our community. Being polite and getting involved with the people around us has always been part of the core values that they have passed on to us,” he said.
“As soon as the next event with people in the community comes up, I will definitely be there!”