The Bismarck Bobcats are one of the best teams in the NAHL, but what separates them from other teams are the way they rally around one teammate, and his mom’s fight to survive.

For Bobcat’s defenseman Sam Martel, he’s played this season with a purpose. His mom Jolene has been in a battle with cancer since 2017.

“She has stage four breast cancer and bone cancer,” says Bobcats Sam Martel. “And some days are harder than others obviously but I know she’s back home. She’s staying positive, she’s battling.”

Martel was planning for his mom to visit in late March, but his teammates and Jolene surprised Sam with one text.

“I looked over to by cellmate Austin Schwartz like ‘Austin, my mom’s in Bismarck’ and he goes ‘yeah, I know that.’ And I guess she told everyone she’s coming and I was like, no she’s in Bismarck. I got to go pick her up.”

Jolene arriving just in time for the Brave to Shave game, where each player shaved their head for childhood cancer. On top of that, helmet stickers were made to honor Jolene.

“Jacob Marti’s mom thought it was going to be a very nice gesture to get helmet stickers for us so she told Lane (Sedevie) about it, and Lane was like, yeah for sure, lets do it.”

For Sam, he never thought he would receive this much attention, but he thanks his teammates for being there for him the whole season.

“It’s unbelievable. They always tell me they’re there for me if I’m having a bad day, I could always come and talk to them and I say the same thing for them and stuff like that”

Of course, for Sam, he’s learned the most about the sport of hockey from what his mom has gone through.

“Just don’t take things for granted. Obviously this is my last year at juniors so I’ll be going to college next year and it flew by so, I basically said cherish the moments and just have fun, and work your hardest.”